Thursday, April 3, 2008

If you don't get it, you don't get it.

Great article by John Nichols in the Nation on the Democrats and trade. The article focuses on the presidential candidates, but makes great points about the dividing line for the Democrats as a whole on trade:
The trade debate is a challenge for Obama. For all Clinton's talk, her record of past support for free trade with China makes her vulnerable in Pennsylvania and Indiana. But to exploit that vulnerability, Obama must be more than a critic of Clinton or even NAFTA. Obama must inspire confidence that he "gets" Sherrod Brown's point that the problem is not NAFTA; it's "the NAFTA model" for trade pacts--a point Brown and Michaud plan to make this month with timely legislation that challenges US support of "race to the bottom" trade policies that encourage corporations to move jobs in search of ever lower standards for protecting workers, consumers and the environment.
And there is the divide. Either you "get" the progressive position on trade or you don't, there isn't much room for nuance. Accept the the current framework or reject it. Simple enough.

The good news is that it's easy to see who gets it and who doesn't. The bad news is that you can firmly put the Democratic speaker of the house and the two democratic candidates for president in the "don't get it" column. People like Sherrod Brown give me hope that the party is slowly headed in the right direction, but this fight isn't going to be an easy one.

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