The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Romney: I Cannot Accept Our Current ‘Trade Surrender’ With China


Mitt Romney gives a preview of his own “jobs plan” speech in Nevada, in today’s USA Today. The most intriguing proposals, from where I sit:

I will direct every government agency to limit annual increases in regulatory costs to zero. The impact of any proposed new regulation must be offset by removing another regulation of equivalent cost. Every one of President Obama’s regulations must be scrutinized, and those that unduly burden job creation must be axed.

Where President Obama left America’s trade interests untended, I recognize the job-creating potential of international commerce. I will create the “Reagan Economic Zone,” a partnership among countries committed to free enterprise and free trade. It will serve as a powerful engine for opening markets to our goods and services, and also a mechanism for confronting nations like China that violate trade rules while free-riding on the international system. I will not stand by while China pursues an economic development policy that relies on the unfair treatment of U.S. companies and the theft of their intellectual property. I have no interest in starting a trade war with China, but I cannot accept our current trade surrender.

China is, indisputably, one of the villains of recent campaign seasons, a phenomenon likely to accelerate in 2012. Earlier this year in Nevada’s special House election:

[Republican Mark] Amodei is running a dramatic Web and television ad (running sporadically in the Reno market), featuring a fictional futuristic Chinese newscast in which the anchor cheerfully describes how debt and borrowing led to American subservience to a new Chinese empire. “Once upon a time, America became its own worst enemy,” says an English-language voiceover with a Chinese accent. “When all their borrowed money ran out, they kept spending out of control. Their President Obama just kept raising the debt limit — and their independence became a new dependence. As their debt grew, our fortune grew — and that is how our great empire rose again.” Amodei appears at the end of the ad, declaring in a gravelly voice, “It’s not too late to stop this nightmare.” (The ad emulates a commercial from Citizens Against Government Waste, which featured a Chinese professor in the year 2030, explaining how runaway spending and government growth put America in crippling debt to China and “now they work for us.”)

I wonder if these lines are, metaphorically, shots across the bow of the incumbent . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Mark Amodei , Mitt Romney


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