Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hooray for Hillary?? Hooray for Us!!

Free trade ideologues are in a tizzy because, last weekend, Hillary Clinton announced that she’d oppose Bush’s proposed free trade agreement with South Korea. This morning’s editorial in the Washington Post (June 13) is typical: it accuses her of failing “a test of leadership on trade,” comparing her unfavorably to her husband. Could it be that the Clintonite consensus is coming apart: that concern for old-fashioned workers’ rights and environmental concerns is finally trumping servility to corporate greed? Not likely. More likely, she was only doing what Clintons do best: pandering. According to news reports, her remarks were favorably received at a union gathering in Michigan. Let’s hope that unions stay wary. But let’s also revel, briefly, in a small victory. That the high priestess of Clintonism (see “Combat Clintonism!”, April 27) would feel compelled to come out against a free trade agreement is a sign that the call for a saner trade policy, one that really does “put people first” (as Bill Clinton said he would in 1992, just days before assuming the presidency), is again being heard over the din of academic and media free trade drivel.

John Edwards, by the way, announced opposition to the Korean free trade agreement last spring, as part of a comprehensive and estimable, though much too “moderate,” trade policy. Barack Obama is still thinking about it (along with almost everything else).

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