An Interesting New York Times, Op-Ed shows that Reagan was not completely free trade nor is this a conservative value.
I have to agree with Robert E. Lighthizer via this op-ed, and we see so many Paleo-conservatives who are looking at the results of these trade agreements along with Progressives and Populists and shouting from the rooftops for reforms pretty much along with us.
President Reagan’s pragmatism contrasted strongly with the utopian dreams of free traders. Ever since Edmund Burke criticized the French philosophes, Anglo-American conservatism has rejected ivory-tower theories that disregard the realities of everyday life.
Modern free traders, on the other hand, embrace their ideal with a passion that makes Robespierre seem prudent. They allow no room for practicality, nuance or flexibility. They embrace unbridled free trade, even as it helps China become a superpower. They see only bright lines, even when it means bowing to the whims of anti-American bureaucrats at the World Trade Organization. They oppose any trade limitations, even if we must depend on foreign countries to feed ourselves or equip our military. They see nothing but dogma — no matter how many jobs are lost, how high the trade deficit rises or how low the dollar falls.
Conservative statesmen from Alexander Hamilton to Ronald Reagan sometimes supported protectionism and at other times they leaned toward lowering barriers. But they always understood that trade policy was merely a tool for building a strong and independent country with a prosperous middle class.
Free traders like Mr. McCain instead rely too often on the notion that we should change the country to suit their trade policy — an approach that is not in the best traditions of American conservatism
So, the question in my mind can these two political camps join forces and we actually obtain intelligent, strategic trade that is in the US national interest?