Backtracking All Around
By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in Barack Obama | Economy | Flip-Flopping | Free Trade | Protectionism — Comments (1) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Given that he changed his mind about his earlier decision to take public financing for the general election cycle, it should come as no surprise whatsoever to find that Barack Obama is now conducting a whiplash-inducing policy change concerning the issue of trade:
The general campaign is on, independent voters are up for grabs, and Barack Obama is toning down his populist rhetoric - at least when it comes to free trade.
In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine's upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.
"Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.
Just out of curiosity, how responsible is policymaking in the Obama campaign when it is vulnerable to being altered 180 degrees simply because "during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified"? We all have our moments when we say things that we regret, but the Obama campaign engaged in a deliberate, patterned, systematic and repeated effort to augment protectionist sentiments and to trash free trade agreements like NAFTA and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Now, we are being told that all of this was just "overheated and amplified" rhetoric and that Obama committed a forensic boo-boo?
Give me a break. Go through the entire story and see just how much Obama has backtracked on the issue of trade and just how purposefully protectionist he sounded during the primary campaign season. The only thing we have to rely on when it comes to trade issues is Barack Obama's inconstancy. And the causes of prosperity and economic development both in this country and around the world deserve better than that from the next American President.