October 31, 2008

WHILE IT'S A HOPEFUL SIGN THAT HIS AIDES SAY HE'S LYING...:

Mood Shift Against Free Trade Puts Republicans on Defensive (GREG HITT and BRAD HAYNES, 10/31/08, Wall Street Journal)

From Oregon to Georgia to upstate New York, skepticism about the benefits of free trade is rippling through campaigns for several House and Senate seats, many of them races where Democrats are running strong. Lawmakers elected on promises to slow down on trade could find it hard to walk back from those pledges once in office -- particularly if labor unions and other Democratic constituencies critical of the Bush and Clinton Administrations' open trade policies keep a focus on the issue.

President Bush's efforts to win passage of trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia stalled after trade concerns helped to put Democrats in charge of the House and Senate in 2006.

Most Democrats don't call for blatant protectionist measures such as steep tariffs, or a return to import quotas such as those that governed automotive trade in the 1980s. Instead, Democrats, starting with Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, talk about the need for trade to be fair, and insist that trading partners be required to meet higher standards for environmental controls and workers' rights to unionize.

Republican candidate Sen. John McCain is a free trader and has surrounded himself with like-minded advisers such as Stanford University economist John Taylor. Mr. Taylor headed international economic policy in President Bush's first-term Treasury Department and is a candidate to be Treasury Secretary should Mr. McCain win the White House.

Other McCain economic advisers, such as former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman and former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina, are longstanding proponents of open markets.

Sen. Obama has hedged his bets on trade.


...a President Obama might well face a Congress without enough Republicans to pass new Fre Trade agreements. Recall that it was the GOP that gave Bill Clinton this key component of his legacy.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2008 6:52 AM
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