The Corner

Cafta & Robin Hayes

Novak also reports: “Bush administration officials, headed by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, have promised to help protect Rep. Robin Hayes from a backlash in his closely contested North Carolina district caused by his vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

“Rep. Phil English of Pennsylvania, sponsor of a House-passed bill authorizing retaliatory tariffs against China, traveled to Charlotte in Hayes’ district Monday to help him out. English praised Hayes for supporting his bill, as both argued that China — not Central America — is the threat to the United States.”

I don’t think that Hayes is actually very vulnerable. His vote for trade promotion authority in 2001 was far riskier politically. The textile industry in North Carolina was less opposed to CAFTA and considers the China vote more important. And even after the 2001 vote, Hayes won with 54 percent in 2002 and 56 percent in 2004.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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