Shah-nge you can believe in, part II
NAFTA Peru Expansion Didn't Solve Peruvian Forestry Problems, I

Shahnge you can't ask for

(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among the candidates.)

The reactions to the reactions to the Obama campaign's economic appointment of Rubin acolyte Jason Furman show the distance we have yet to go in achieving an Uprising politics in this country. Brad DeLong is furious that the LA Times misrepresents Furman's views on Social Security (he fought against privatization). Paul Krugman thinks the concerns are "silly", and writes

Maybe I’m wrong, but my sense is that Jason Furman has become a proxy target for some Obama supporters who, now that the Great Satanness has been defeated, are suddenly starting to have the queasy feeling that their hero might be a bit of a …. centrist. I’m tempted to say I told you so; in fact, I guess I just did. But that’s all in the past now.

Anyway, lay off Jason Furman, a good guy who will do his best to defeat a candidate who gets his economic advice from Phil Gramm.

Ezra Klein writes:

What I can't figure out about the furor of Barack Obama's decision to name Jason Furman his economic policy director is where have these people been? This is like getting pissed at Project Runway because it's a show about clothes... if unions wanted an economic lefty, they should've endorsed John Edwards in the primary, or at least demanded that Obama staff up with trusted labor types in order to gain their support back when he was in a close primary race.

So criticism would have been okay back in the primary, when Democratic voters had choices. Now they have no choices, and so you can't ask for shahnge. Dean Baker hit the nail on the head:

Senator Obama's election can make an enormous difference in the political environment and the direction the country takes. But progressives must keep the pressure on. Senator Obama is an enormously talented political figure, but he alone is not going to bring about change. It takes a movement.

It's important to remember that Obama campaigned on a fair trade platform that helped him win key swing and early primary states like Iowa and Wisconsin. And now key stakeholders - with massive get-out-the-vote operations - are urging him not to change course now. According to today's NYT:

“For years we’ve expressed strong concerns about corporate influence on the Democratic Party,” John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said Wednesday in a statement implicitly critical of the symbolism of the appointment, no matter Mr. Furman’s economic skills...

Of particular concern to labor is the Hamilton approach to trade. While labor wants restrictions that would preserve jobs, the Rubin camp wants free trade that might cost jobs but would be offset by a broader safety net channeling more income support and job training to the job losers...

In his statement criticizing Mr. Furman’s appointment, Mr. Sweeney said, “The fact that our country’s economic policies have become so dominated by the Wall Street agenda — and that it is causing working families real pain — is a top issue we will be raising with Senator Obama.”


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