(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among the presidential candidates.)
"When people see someone like Barack Obama promise change and then see that same person make their first move the hiring of a Wall Street economic team, that’s what sows disengagement and cynicism in the public,” said David Sirota, a one-time backer of former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who is the author of “The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington."
From the LAT:
"We are very much taken aback that Furman has been put at the head of this team," said Marco Trbovich, a senior aide to United Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard, whose support is considered crucial to Obama's success in heavily unionized areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota and other battleground states.
Trbovich worked with Furman during Kerry's presidential campaign, in which Furman was also an economic advisor.
"He is a very bright fellow, but he is an unalloyed cheerleader for the trade policies that have been very destructive to manufacturing jobs in this country," Trbovich said. "There are very serious concerns" about his appointment.
Perhaps the most enraging part of the record, according to Trbovich and others, were comments attributed to Furman on Wal-Mart.
In a paper presented in Washington, he suggested that there were some economic benefits from the company's low prices and other policies at a time when major labor unions had launched an anti-Wal-Mart campaign.
Furman worked most recently as a budget expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington heading the Hamilton Project, an economic policy research group. It was founded by Rubin, who now chairs the executive committee of Citigroup Inc.
Lori Wallach, a lawyer and leading opponent of free-trade policies, said the appointment was jarring from a policy and a political perspective.
"Furman seems like a liability, given his anti-worker writings and statements about Wal-Mart, fair trade and other middle-class issues," said Wallach, director of Public Citizen's global trade watch division.
And Obama's folks are planning some fundraising in China, according to the WP.