Democrats go after free trade on campaign trail
The mid-term election is less than two months away, Democrats are expected to take heavy losses in Congress, so what do they do? Launch dishonest attacks on free trade, one of our most basic liberties:
Democrats seeking to regain footing among middle-class voters are putting trade anxiety at the forefront of new campaign messages, challenging free-trade deals backed by the White House and linking Republicans to corporate outsourcing.
The new strategy comes as President Barack Obama is walking a fine line on the trade issue. Mr. Obama is pushing to sign a revised trade deal with South Korea by mid-November—a week after Election Day. At the same time, the White House is rallying unions and other core Democrats with calls to curb companies’ abilities to shift jobs overseas.
In southern Virginia, embattled Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello has put his opposition to the Korea deal and outsourcing at the center of his re-election pitch. In his manufacturing-heavy district in Illinois, Democratic Rep. Phil Hare attacks Washington for easing trade ties with China.
Both men, like several colleagues across the country, have begun airing television ads attacking their GOP challengers for supporting outsourcing.
Mr. Perriello’s new ad depicts a dark-suited U.S. businessman standing in front of an Asian factory, thanking the Republican challenger, state Sen. Robert Hurt, for “protecting the tax loophole that gives a company like ours a kickback for sending jobs overseas.”
Mr. Hare’s spot shows a picture of his GOP challenger, Bobby Schilling, alongside the image of an Asian woman wearing a head set—an apparent reference to an Asian call center.
While I understand that the Obama Administration is pushing a trade deal with Korea, this sort of populist approach, as intellectually shallow as it is, was one of the reasons that Barack Obama was able to win in 2008. He even went as far as to talk about how NAFTA was hurting us because of jobs leaving the United States and going to China. In case you didn’t know, NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement. China isn’t part of North America, the last time I checked.
No doubt that Phil Hare and Tom Perriello won’t be happy until Smoot-Hawley is brought back, with all the economic problems it brought. You don’t need a better example of the Candlemakers’ petition than this.
Free trade is good for the economy, helping Americans afford goods and services at a lower cost, whereas protectionism drives up costs. An example of this is sugar tariffs, which amounts to a $2.5 billion tax on Americans.