Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Pajamas Media: Final Face-Off: Clinton, Obama Spar in Ohio
On NAFTA the candidates are agreed: Free trade sucks. Although Obama was quick enough to provide a little shout-out to American workers’ productivity, a smart move in blue-collar Ohio. In fact, that line could be seen as poaching on yet another of Clinton’s core constituencies. It could be seen that way because that’s exactly what Obama was doing. Neither candidate would be cornered into threatening to cut off NAFTA inside of six months, but both promised to “reexamine” or “renegotiate” the treaty. The fact that the original agreement took years, not months, to negotiate was left unmentioned. That NAFTA then took a determined President Clinton and a lot of willing Republican Senators to get ratified was left unmentioned, too.
Do you suppose they'll ditch this crazy-talk in office?
Either candidate will find themselves in an uncomfortable spot of having to support existing free trade treaties in office, like NAFTA, unless they want to ditch the economy. But getting new ones done will take forever, so Ecuador and others can forget about it.
"Ditching Nafta" is common among many blue-collar folks in Ohio, as well as other states, I'm sure.
There is nothing like kicking two of our largest trading partners (Mexico and Canada) in the teeth. The phrase "unintended consequences" comes to mind.
I guess this is what Obama and Clinton mean when they want to repair the damage to our foreign relations that Bush has done.
On so many topics, trade, taxes, the social compact and personal responsibility, and middle eastern affairs, American voters seem curiously willing in this election, even eager, to go back to the siren song of failed policies of the past.
This is McCain's real challenge- to get Americans to remember how terrible liberal public policies really were in practice, for every aspect of our lives.
Doc's nomination for the two most interesting, pertinent questions of the day:
1. What will Hillary do next?
Damn good question. Divorce Bill in a heartbeat? And, professionally, a seat on the Supreme Court sounds pretty appealing, no? Or, more likely, head up DNC? If she doesn't win another primary and her presidential campaign is toast, can she even be reelected as a New York senator?
2. Do you suppose they'll ditch this crazy-talk in office?
Damn good question. And I mean the whole enchilada, not just NAFTA. What we need are some links to essays comparing campaign promises to what actually happened. I'm generally of the opinion that very few unorthodox promises come about, and the other, more obvious ones, like improved national security, would have happened anyway.
I have a screed-, pardon me, I have a well thought-out article on my site where I make the case for Obama's presidency. It was written in my post-Fred depression days, so forgive me.
One of the points I make is what a common myth it is that "presidents make laws". No, that's what this big thing called "Congress" is for. Presidents can certainly be influential, but that's a far cry from actual legislation.
As such, I really don't worry very much when lib candidates spout off about NAFTA or (delicate cough) universal health care, 'green' laws, or anything else that's generally considered 'unorthodox'. The very fact that the laws haven't been passed before now says a lot. It says that we're right at the tipping point, and, should we tip the liberal direction and laws get passed, well, that just means it won't take much to tip it back. If suddenly a loaf of bread costs five dollars because green ethanol laws have forced the price of wheat through the ceiling, I'm sure our valiant stewards in Washington will be the first to hear about it.
Back to Mindy's most-excellent question, it deserves a follow-up. What's the actual track record of candidates throughout the years? O Great Mindless One, you want a little project? There ya go.
And, as much as the numbers would be interesting, I'd be wondering about the psychological damage done by the broken promises. My own story is quite tragic.
In 1980, I voted for Ronald Reagan for one reason, and one reason only. He "promised" to repeal the idiotic national 55 MPH speed limit that was in place at the time.
That was it for me and campaign promises. Never believed one since. Never going to again.
Silly me -- I thought presidents made laws. :)