If there's a lesson for fair trade groups coming out of the last few day's events, it's be careful how you word your press releases on major events. The press continues to misinterpret labor's position on the "deal." See this piece from McClatchy:
Organized labor gave qualified support Friday to a deal between the White House and congressional Democrats that includes new language on labor and the environment in four pending free-trade agreements...
Despite lukewarm support, experts such as David Lewis, a trade consultant with Manchester Trade, a lobbying and advisory firm, believe Democrats will support deals that include the new labor language.
"I think the Democrats got a green light from the AFL-CIO or it wouldn't happen . . . substantively speaking, the Democrats have their people in line,'' said Lewis, adding that current text on intellectual property protections may erode some GOP support.
Again, let's go back to labor's press releases here, here and here. There is no endorsement, no green light, no line people are queuing up to. There is a difference in tone - especially between the Change to Win unions and the AFL-CIO, maybe a lack of total clarity - but no endorsement.
Nonetheless, a valuable political lesson emerges. While most of Corporate America did not bother to wait to read the actual legal text of the deal to start praising it, progressives have decided to play the academic game and wait to react. (To their defense, the fact that the unhappy camping trip was just announced on Thursday evening didn't help with clarity and turnaround time - which was maybe the point of the Bush-Sr. Dem team doing it that way.) Whether planned or not, this difference largely explains the press coverage we're witnessing.