An amusing thought.
The Central American Free Trade Agreement is about to be passed by the house.
Unlike NAFTA, CAFTA is facing a much harder time. Democrats are lining up against it, even ones who have never before met a free trade agreement they didn’t like. This just seems to be the straw that breaks the Camel’s back, with fewer and fewer protections for unions and poor industries, more and more demands for copyright protections in other countries. There has been no attempt to negotiate with Democrats at all – which is weird when trade agreements generally cross partisan boundaries (there are protectionists and libertarians on both sides of the isle).
To some degree this is Democrats trying to make Bush responsible for all free trade and economic changes, and eventually fire back at Republicans with protectionist rhetoric. As a long term strategy, I think people need to give it more thought (and the intellectual generally pro-trade bloggers of Democratic circles don’t), because our economy really is changing dramatically and is going to have some serious costs to American workers in the future.
But to a larger degree, it’s Republicans deliberately isolating Democrats by painting them as altogether anti-trade so businesses never donate to Democrats in the future.
The result of cutting off all Democratic votes of course, has been that the President needs every Republican vote in the House which, remember, has plenty of protectionist Republicans. How do you get them? with massive subidies to their local industries and donations from corporate lobbies. I.e., more funds to corporations, which of course has liberal bloggers crying themselves to sleep about how warped CAFTA is becoming.
The funny thing being, if all this were true, aren’t Democrats actions helping businesses? By being partisan, Democrats are giving American industries a stronger negotiating position.