Saturday, March 1, 2008

Barak Obama's NAFTA Hypocrisy

Will Barak Obama try windsurfing now that he's got his endorsement from John Kerry?

In his last debate with Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama attacked the NAFTA treaty, touted as one of the great achievements of the Bill Clinton administration by free traders on both sides of the aisle. The view that NAFTA has been a boon for the U.S. is supported by the expansion of economic growth that occurred during the Clinton years, particularly after the treaty was passed.

The Canadians were not happy with the Obama speech and Obama’s smooth operators went reflexively into damage control mode. Although denied by Obama campaign headquarters, the story is circulating that Obama’s people approached the Canadian officials in order to back off from the NAFTA remarks. . But no one’s buying that Obama is not serious about abrogating existing NAFTA treaty terms.

NAFTA has been a boon for states along the borders and for farmers. It’s also true that job loss has been occurring in traditional manufacturing (rust-belt) industries long before NAFTA. The U.S. experienced predictable job shifts as it moved toward high-tech industries of the technological age.

NAFTA’s been widely touted by a legion of Democratic free traders like Emanuel Rahm, Henry Cuellar, and Cal Dooley. Free trade, as everyone knows, is tied in with national security as much as it is time to economic security. It’s also an instrument of diplomacy. Had protectionist Democrats admitted that, they wouldn’t have blocked a similar trade agreement with democratic Colombia. Obviously, some Democrats prefer the “Shining Path” of trade barriers and pandering to re-training workers to meet the demands of the modern world.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar said recently in a WSJ interview that “trade between the U.S. and other countries is good. You export, you create jobs, you build relationships.”

That’s quite a bit different from the Obama policy of reaching out to dictators and despots like Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Ahmadinejad. Barak’s policy is to blast our immediate neighbors like Mexico and Canada, and fret about “America’s image” in Tehran.

Cuellar, a Clinton supporter, warned against demagoguery of the NAFTA issue. That’s a view echoed by Cal Dooley, a former Democratic congressman from CA who was a key player in NAFTA passage. Dooley worries that Obama is pandering to the “less informed emotional impulses of U.S. voters,” according to the article. “Less informed emotional impulses?....” Hmmmm…. That couldn’t possibly mean that Obama’s trying to get himself elected by manipulating the very workers he pretends to represent.

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