Economist Tonelson on Obama Trade Positions

This is really worth reading for Tonelson focuses heavily on trade, US manufacturing.

Trade and the White House Race Part II: Does Obama Really Care?

Maybe it’s the latest sign of the apocalypse or simply another indication of the continually jaw-dropping nature of the 2008 presidential race. But the biggest reason to question Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama’s commitment to be a major change agent – as this campaign’s signature buzz-phrase would have it – for U.S. trade policy is his failure to pander wholeheartedly.

As I noted in my examination of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s trade policy record and prospects as a reformer (“Hillary the Trade Warrior?” May 2), before entering the Senate, neither she nor her Democratic rival had expressed many qualms about or even showed much interest in trade and manufacturing issues. Neither treated these issues as priorities as members of “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” either, seemingly valuing them as little more than opportunities to take potshots at President Bush or please certain constituencies..

As Presidential candidates, Clinton and Obama have talked more about U.S. trade policy failures, and they began acting like veritable globalization mavens once the primary schedule took them to manufacturing-heavy, highly unionized states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

Their attacks on current and recent U.S. trade policies make broadly similar points – it’s sent too many good-paying jobs overseas, it’s especially bad for unions and the environment, and it’s run solely for the benefit of that powerful, greedy, and monolithic entity they call “business.”

At this admittedly late date, however, the similarities stop. As noted, Clinton has staked out policy positions far more detailed than Obama’s. At the very least, someone high up in her campaign has recognized as a big political opportunity the genuine betrayal felt by U.S. trade policy’s literally millions of individual and business victims, and urged her to bone up seriously on the subject. More important, Clinton obviously agreed

Please click the link to read the rest, it's quite in depth and insightful.

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