This just in... Romney to pull out... On trade, Romney started out his campaign by talking about how great offshoring was, only to end up in Michigan talking about fighting for manufacturing jobs. A strange thing, democracy - when it works, it ends up changing the positions of those in power.
When President Bush agreed with House Democrats on a stimulus package centered on big tax rebates, for example, Mr. Huckabee raised the hackles of supporters of free trade by arguing that the plan in effect subsidized the Chinese manufacturers of imported consumer goods. And he argued that the money would be better spent building roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects at home, irking proponents of limited government.
In the wake of Edwards losing the race, there are now new power centers pushing on Clinton and Obama to fair trade it up. As John Nichols writes:
"Talking about experience and idealism is so much conversation for Wisconsin people," says Feingold, a three-term U.S. senator who serves with Obama and Clinton and who flirted with making a presidential run of his own this year. "We'd like to hear something about what they're going to do. It's amazing to me that this campaign has gotten as far as it has without getting down to specifics. But Wisconsin voters expect more from the candidates than the slogans." Like what?
Feingold says that the two remaining serious contenders for the nomination need to bone up on trade policy -- and its impact of real people in places like Wisconsin.
"I would urge them to be aware of the devastation that has occurred for people in the state over the past twenty years as a result of trade policies that were forced through Congress without any concern for working people in states like Wisconsin," says Feingold, who has since coming to the Senate in 1993 consistently opposed the free-trade agenda of both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
The campaign especially on the Dem side could get pretty interesting as the candidates grasp at something anything to differentiate between the two. Feingold's suggestion seems pretty savvy to me.
(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among the candidates.)