Tag Archive | "Hillary Clinton"

Pres- Skepticism on Obama-Clinton position on trade


There’s no doubt that the campaign rhetoric on the Dem side is
continuing the decline of the "wacko free trader" unreality. 

But Obama and Clinton were not necessarily leaders in the debate to change trade policy before.  This is a point I made yesterday.  The NY Times makes the point today.  Apparently I am now a driving force in the NY Times trade and campaign coverage decisions!  (All laugh now.)

Both voted against the Central
American Free Trade Agreement but supported a trade pact with Peru last
year, citing the inclusion of labor and environmental provisions that
were not part of Nafta.

Opponents, however, said crucial provisions in Nafta that led to jobs
being shipped overseas were also part of the Peru agreement. Mrs.
Clinton and Mr. Obama were also among only a dozen Senate Democrats who
voted for a trade agreement with Oman in 2006.

Marcy Kaptur:

hedging their bets,” said Representative Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat
whose district in the northern part of the state has been decimated by
job losses. “They’re trying to have it both ways, and you can’t.”

Lori Wallach:

bottom line,” said Lori Wallach, director of the Global Trade Watch
division of Public Citizen and a fierce free trade foe, “is neither of
the current Democratic candidates were in the category of leaders
fighting for improving U.S. trade policy to try to come up with
different terms for globalization, but in the course of their campaign
they have come to see both the political necessity and the substantive
problems, pushing them to some interesting new thinking.” 

Obama from the Ohio debate:

Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Mr. Obama struck a similar balancing act,
saying he did not believe it was possible to “draw a moat around us.”

The "no-moat" policy.  I’m not remembering anyone with a moat proposal.

we are left with this.  The candidates are doing a climb-down from
destructive trade agreement support, and we should support it.  Or
they are 100% pandering.  Or both. We know that McCain has not
altered his pro-trade-agreement-no-matter-what-the-agreement-says
policy… despite the fact Republican voters feel otherwise but have little organized voice to press the case.

Let’s hope its an honest climb down.  Let’s keep up the pressure to guarantee it. 


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Pres – Ohio debate on trade – Obama v. Clinton


The trade issue is heating up so that some are comparing it to abortion
That’s good because we need a high profile.  That’s bad because we
don’t want partisanship to scuttle solutions. 

The context of the comparison was one of many commentaries on last night’s debates: 

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers, meanwhile, have been putting out the word
that she tried to persuade her husband not to support Nafta — which
liberalized trade with Mexico and Canada — when he was running for
president. (He did support it, aggressively, and signed it into law in
1993.) “I’m not just going to talk about what’s wrong with Nafta,” she
said in Youngstown, the day after Mr. Obama had been there. “I’m going
to fix it and I have a four-point plan to do exactly that.”

But when you read this plan, or Mr. Obama’s trade agenda, you discover
none of it is particularly radical. Neither candidate calls for a
repeal of Nafta, or anything close to it. Both instead want to tinker
with the bureaucratic innards of the agreement. They want stronger
“labor and environmental standards” and better “enforcement mechanisms.”

It is a good point.  What indeed will they really do?  Nafta is bad, but no repeal? 

A Washington Post story has this paraphrase from the debate:

The two also had a spirited discussion about trade, a huge issue
here in this working-class industrial state. Both said they would
threaten to opt out of the North American Free Trade Agreement unless
Mexico and Canada agreed to renegotiate its terms. 

here’s the big question of the week:  Why did both of them support
the Peru FTA?  Neither voted for or against it last December 2007
because they were campaigning, but both announced support.

Now I’m all for giving them a respectable path to climb down from silly free
trader status,  but really.  Why  did they support Peru
FTA – which is NAFTA lite?  Ya know that was not even 3 months ago.

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Pres – Hillary always opposed NAFTA?


A liberal blog site, the DailyKos, is live blogging the
Obama-Clinton debate in Ohio tonight.  I hate watching debates…
or campaign speeches… or political speeches for that matter.  So
I don’t live blog.

But this interesting tidbit is thrown out, paraphrasing Hillary:

And on to NAFTA. Was Clinton opposed at the outset but unable to
say so because it was her husband’s administration? It may not surprise
you to learn that there is disagreement on this point.

I’ve always said she was for it, and should not say she was against
it.  The better tack would be to say she saw the results and now
changed her mind.  I also seem to remember a quote from her
autobiograph (I did not read it) that says she supported NAFTA, but its
late and I’m not going to look for it now.

Her explanation tonight is plausible.  I simply don’t know whether to believe it.  And I’m not sure it matters now.

Just move on and fix today’s trade problems.  Currency,
VAT-tariffs, unsafe imported products, trade agreement moratorium to
fix our policy and goals, etc.  Commit to that and I’m ok with it.

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Is free trade becoming the 3rd rail?


The chances are better than ever. I thought trade would decline as
an issue after Edwards and Hunter dropped out of the race because
broader themes would dominate.  I was wrong.  Trade as an
issue is increasing in prominence.

Republican voters (though not elected Republicans) overwhelmingly believe
current trade policy has been bad for America.  After finding 60%
of Republicans are skeptical on trade, the Republican pollster said,
last October:

"It’s a lot harder to sell the free-trade message to Republicans,"
said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who conducts the Journal/NBC
poll with Democratic counterpart Peter Hart.

The economy has consistently been at the top of exit polls for both parties, for example in New HampshireWisconsin voters said, last week, that trade has been bad for America. 

wacko free trade views have not changed.  He is unreformed. 
You can say he is solid or stupid, depending upon your views.

Obama and Clinton are competing in Ohio over who is likely to better fix trade policy.

On Saturday, Clinton charged Obama with sending out a mailer that
unfairly quoted her as saying that NAFTA had been a "boon" for America,
a word that Obama acknowledged Clinton had not used. But the senator
from Illinois kept up his attack on Sunday while speaking to dozens of
workers at a gypsum plant in Lorain, Ohio.

"Yesterday, Senator Clinton also said I’m wrong to point out that she
once supported NAFTA. But the fact is, she was saying great things
about NAFTA until she started running for president. A couple years
after it passed, she said NAFTA was a ‘free and fair trade agreement’
and that it was ‘proving its worth.’ And in 2004, she said, ‘I think,
on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York state and America.’ "

Hillary was supportive of NAFTA and should admit it.  She has a
right to change her views, indeed she voted against CAFTA and has good
things to say on trade now.  McCain should alter his views, but
despite the Republican voter sea-change, the institutional support in
his party will clobber him if he deviates. 

But the point is, its no longer good politics to be a free trader.  You look dated… and out of touch.

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The Impotent Rage of the Establishment on Trade


The establishment is hyperventilating over the tough trade talk of
Clinton and Obama.  The NY Times endorsed Hillary Clinton and John
McCain about one month ago.  Now Hillary is deriding NAFTA and
saying we need a time out on trade agreements.  Heresy!

a child holding her ears and singing loudly to avoid hearing
uncomfortable truths, the NY Times editorial board repeats… and
repeats… and repeats its faulty world view over… and over… and
over.  "It Must Be Ohio," is the Board’s still-in-denial title of their editorial entry in today’s Sunday Times.

faux-Economics-101 editorial rant denounces Clinton and Obama
statements in Ohio that NAFTA was a bad deal.  Never mind the
evidence.  Repeat world view here:

Trade opens foreign markets for American producers and gives
consumers more choices, while competition spurs productivity growth at

They are so 1992.

Forget about correcting the trade
problems.  Burial Insurance!  We need more and better Burial
Insurance!  Pay people who are crushed by trade.

The Democrats’ posturing on trade threatens to divert the nation’s
attention from what is really needed: a set of domestic policies to
help American workers cope with the dislocations wrought by
globalization and technological progress.

The editorial establishment still cannot believe that we have trade
deficits in virtually every category of goods.  Low-tech,
high-tech, green-tech, whatever-tech.  They never mention

But the folks on the ground get it.  This assessment
of why Obama’s candidacy is roiling the Clinton campaign could have
easily been applied to the establishment-vs-the-citizenry dynamic
occurriing now on the trade issue.

In South Carolina, where last fall she was up 20 percentage points
in the polls, she relied on top-down endorsements and the patina of
inevitability, while the Obama campaign built a landslide-winning
organization from scratch at the grass roots.

The grass roots is rejecting the establishment on trade.  The
establishment’s impotent, noisy rage is increasingly comical. 


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Clinton’s economic plan


Hillary Clinton’s campaign is featuring a more specific economic
plan.  It covers many points, but not really in the detail sought
by policy wonks… understandable because most voters are not
wonks.  The pdf document is here.

Among the trade related points are:

*  Ending tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas;

  Restore a vibrant manufacturing sector in America by developing
a manufacturing strategy, investing in R&D, espanding a
Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, etc.

And more specifically: 

*  Double the size of the U.S. Trade Representative’s enforcement unit to enforce the rules in existing trade agreements.

*  "Modernize" Trade Adjustment Assistance to help workers that lose their jobs because of "global competition";

*  Review trade agreements every 5 years to determine whether they are meeting their promises.  (Note:  See the CPA Trade Agreement Moratorium and Review policy here).

Time out for Trade – This looks promising.  Clinton will not enter
new trade agreements until "here administration has reviewed all
existing agreements and designed a genuinely pro-American, pro-worker
trade policy…".  The devil is in the details, but its a good


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Obama on trade


Just chronicling the candidates’ talk on our issues.  Obama today in Wisconsin:

While campaigning in Wisconsin, Obama took his own shots at
Clinton, criticizing her for supporting the North America Free Trade
Agreement while former President Clinton was president.

"You know, in the years after her husband signed NAFTA, Sen. Clinton
would go around talking about how great it was and how many benefits it
would bring," Obama said in Janesville, Wisconsin. "Now that she’s
running for president, she says we need a time-out on trade. No one
knows when this time-out will end — maybe after the election."

I have said before that I don’t necessarily hang Clinton for what
her husband did before, … but she did do what Obama says.  She
defended NAFTA.

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Pres – The Candidates on Trade Once Again


is a pretty good synopsis of Clinton and Obama’s trade positions. 
It looks like Obama is a free trader, much more than Clinton. 
Clinton has stronger statements, including opposition to the Panama,
South Korea and Columbia FTA’s.  Obama has not stated support or
opposition, which worries me.  I must believe right now that he
would support them.  Obama should be challenged on this.

I have raised questions about Obama’s economic advisors, like Austan Goolsbee, who are free traders.  And this post
provides more detail.  The corporate Democrat line that we should
have labor and environmental standards, and trade adjustment assistance
(burial insurance) seems prominent.  This strategy is a path to
economic failure and collapse.  No jobs, businesses or farms will
be supported in this, the strongest economy still in the world that
can’t reap the benefits from itself.

McCain is an unreformed wacko free trader living in la-la
land.  He is not worth discussing further, as I’ve outlined his
positions, in his own words, before.

UPDATED:  Obama did state opposition to the South Korea FTA.

"Senator Obama does not support the South Korea free trade
agreement in its current form," Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki tells ABC
News. "He has serious concerns about the effect that the agreement
would have on the American auto, beef, and rice industries, as well as
the lack of labor and environmental protections in the agreement.
Senator Obama is also troubled that the Bush Administration has not
done more to help American workers who are losing their jobs as a
result of the changing world economy." 

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Pres – Super Tuesday on trade


The early presidential primaries engaged the trade debate more than
ever.  We learned that McCain is a wacko free trader.  We
learned that Romney favors the Peru, Columbia, South Korea and Panama
Free Trade agreements, but he was at least able to say trade must be
fair both ways.  Huckabee believes in fair trade and a consumption
tax.  We learned Obama and Clinton favored Peru, and Clinton
opposed the other three pending FTA’s.  Clinton also called for a
moratorium on trade agreements.  I don’t know exactly what that
means, but its certainly a good idea.

Edwards forced the issue for the Dems.  Hunter forced the
issue for the R’s.  Both Hunter and Edwards are now out, and the
other candidates won’t have to bring up trade.

The message is
simplified, and less relevant.  These are now the caricatured slogans and attacks. Obama (change or inexperience),
Clinton (experience and less/no change), McCain (strength, straight
talk, not a conservative), Romney (true conservative, changes too
much), Huckabee (religious/social conservative, too populist).

McCain dominated, getting 559 delegates.  Romney probably did not
underperform the polls, but could not achieve the "true conservative"
designation for the party.  He received 265 delegates. 
Huckabee did surprisingly well, but still received only 169 delegates.

and Obama essentially tied.  She received 783 delegates to his
709.  Obama seems to have the momentum.  Very large prior
week poll changes swung Obama’s way.  Some California polls had
the two tied, but Clinton won there retty easily.  However, probably
one-half the California vote included absentee ballots cast early, prior to the
Obama momentum.

Voters need to keep raising the issue of trade, farmers, jobs and businesses.  Day in and day out.

UPDATED – Delegate count, updated at the end of the day.

Clinton – 845; Obama 765 – difference of 80

McCain – 613; Romney – 269; Huckabee – 190

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Favors owed – our next president


Our next president will be grateful.  Grateful to those who
underwrote their campaign, and hopefully grateful to a few voters too.

Street is where  the money is.  Wall Street calls the rest of
us "protectionists" and "isolationists" even as they hold and invest
our money, globalize us, and sell themselves to Chinese and Middle
Eastern governments – through sovereign wealth funds.

Here are the big Wall Street contributors to the leading candidates from data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics:

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D.-N.Y.
Clinton raised $26.6 million in the fourth quarter and nearly $117.7 million through year-end 2007.

Top contributors so far: DLA Piper ($470,150); Goldman Sachs
($407,561); Morgan Stanley ($362,700); Citigroup ($350,895); and Lehman
Brothers ($237,270).

Sen. Barack Obama, D.-Ill.
Obama raised $22.8 million in the fourth quarter and nearly $102.2 million by the end of 2007.

Top contributors so far: Goldman Sachs ($421,763); UBS ($296,670);
Lehman Brothers ($250,630); National Amusements ($245,843); and JP
Morgan Chase ($240,788).

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R.-Mass.
Romney raised $26.9 million in the fourth quarter and nearly $88.5
million through year-end 2007. The CRP notes that $35.4 million of his
funding has come from his own pocket.

Top contributors so far: Goldman Sachs ($223,925); Merrill Lynch
($163,020); Citigroup ($162,950); Morgan Stanley ($152,050); and Lehman
Brothers ($137,450).

Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz.
McCain raised $9.7 million in the fourth quarter and $41.1 million as of the end of 2007.

Top contributors so far: Merrill Lynch ($155,950); Citigroup
($153,362); Blank Rome ($143,501); Greenberg Traurig ($130,587); and
Goldman Sachs ($85,252).

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