Sebastian Mallaby, today:
Compared with the immigrant bashing that has dominated Republican presidential debates, Democratic presidential hopefuls have sounded sweetly reasonable. With the exception of the no-hoper Dennis Kucinich, none has pressed protectionist themes. There is no equivalent to the Dick Gephardt of 1988, who won the Iowa caucuses on an anti-trade ticket.
Instead, the Democratic candidates are focusing on helping the economy’s losers without restricting trade, which is exactly what they should be doing. John Edwards, the contender who sounded most protectionist in 2004, seems to have turned over a new leaf. He has admitted that trade benefits poor countries and has declared that arguments over labor standards should not be an excuse to obstruct liberalization…
In the 2004 election, the Kerry-Edwards ticket forfeited its claim to economic seriousness by opposing trade deals such as the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Hillary Clinton, Saturday:
Hillary Clinton today announced that she will oppose ratification of the South Korean Free Trade Agreement. Speaking at a townhall event hosted by the AFL-CIO in Detroit, Michigan, Clinton said the agreement would harm the U.S. automotive industry and put American jobs at risk. While the trade agreement gives South Korea unimpeded access to the U.S. auto market, it does not go far enough to ensure that South Korea dismantles the barriers that have long blocked American vehicles from being sold there.
…The proposed trade agreement would only exacerbate this unfair and harmful situation. While the agreement requires South Korea to dismantle its formal trade barriers, it does not go far enough to ensure that South Korea will also eliminate the multitude of informal barriers that severely restrict the sale of American vehicles. Unless those barriers fall, American carmakers will face increased competition at home and won’t get greater access to South Korea’s market.
Should have checked with the Hillary campaign first, Mr. Mallaby…