Are you having a hard time getting your head around why, despite President Obama's sky-high approval among Democratic voters, Senate Democrats were willing to block legislation granting him "fast track" trade negotiation authority? Why doesn't the left trust Obama to negotiate the best international trade deals possible?

This video featuring former Labor Secretary Robert Reich might help explain the intra-party friction.

Robert Reich Shifts Stance On Trade

Reich supported NAFTA when he was in the Clinton administration, and even supported fast track authority for President George W. Bush. But he's since had a change of heart and now is one of the main opponents of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the fast track bill that would help get the agreement through Congress.

Like other videos he has done for, Reich plays the role of the eager-explainer, pledging to break down a complicated issue in roughly two minutes aided only with a pad of paper and a marker.

As a clock ticks down in the upper-left corner, Reich doesn't draw charts and graphs, but caricatures, such as a choo-choo train representing TPP on a "fast track" and beady-eyed CEOs sitting around the negotiating table.

After noting how many people the multi-national agreement would impact, Reich says, "yet it has been devised in secret." The same charge against NAFTA was leveled by Ross Perot in a 1993 TV informercial, though it is hardly unusual for international negotiations to take place behind closed doors.

Reich then claims the TPP would give multinational corporations the ability to petition a "tribunal of private attorneys, outside any nation's legal system, that can order compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation's regulations" such as "laws that protect American consumers from unsafe products." (Obama retorts that American laws won't be vulnerable to the tribunal because our regulations don't discriminate against companies from other countries.)

Rejecting Obama's claims that the deal will boost American jobs, Reich calls it a "trojan horse in a global race to the bottom," as he draws a horse and an arrow curving downwards.

In sum, both Obama and his detractors on the left want international trade to increase jobs, they just diverge on whether TPP will do the trick.

Can Robert Reich Outdo Obama's Communication Skills?

Liberals have long felt rhetorically outgunned, struggling to communicate complicated concepts in a soundbite culture. The punchy, pithy, quick-on-the-draw Reich gives the left confidence it can reach voters.

There is some proof. The video was a viral hit, with more than 200,000 YouTube views. And certainly Democrats in the Senate have reacted to Reich, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others pushing against fast track. But it remains an open question whether the messages from the Reich video are traveling beyond's progressive base, and persuading moderate and independent voters who might convince a bipartisan congressional majority to abandon TPP.

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