Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama's okey doke on NAFTA

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LORAIN, Ohio, Feb. 24, 2008:

Said Obama, "One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA, including nearly 50,000 jobs here in Ohio. And yet, 10 years after NAFTA passed, Sen. Clinton said it was good for America. Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America -- and I never have."

Saturday, Clinton took issue with an Obama mailer being distributed in the Buckeye State that included a quote implying that Clinton had described NAFTA as "a boon" to the economy.

The quote actually was from New York Newsday, which had characterized Clinton's views as considering NAFTA a boon though Clinton herself had never made such a remark. [Emphasis added.]

CNN, Feb. 23, 2008, Hillary Clinton from Ohio:

Obama "is continuing to send false and discredited mailings with information that is not true to the voters of Ohio," Clinton said.

One mailing says her health care proposal would force everyone to buy health insurance, regardless of ability to pay, a charge Clinton vehemently denied.

Sen. Obama knows it is not true that my plan forces people to buy insurance even if they can't afford it," she said.

The NAFTA mailer says Clinton was a "champion" for NAFTA while first lady, but now opposes it. NAFTA was negotiated by the first President Bush and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

"I am fighting to change NAFTA," Hillary Clinton said Saturday.

"Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics right out of Karl Rove's playbook. This is wrong, and every Democrat should be outraged," she said. . .Obama denied Clinton's assertions that the literature was false.

"There's nothing in that mailing that is inaccurate," he said, adding that he was puzzled by the sudden scrutiny since the mailers had been around for days, if not weeks. [Emphasis added.]'s Lori Peterson, Mar. 4, 2008, at Newsweek:

Barack Obama's campaign is distributing a mailer in Ohio that plays upon anti-NAFTA feelings in the Buckeye State. But the flyer is misleading:

  • Obama is quoted as saying that "one million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA, including nearly 50,000 jobs here in Ohio." But those figures are highly questionable and from an anti-NAFTA source. Other economic studies have concluded the trade deal resulted in much smaller job losses or even a small net gain.

  • The mailer quotes Hillary Clinton as saying "NAFTA has been good for New York and America." That quote, however, is taken out of context. She also said in that same news conference that NAFTA was flawed and old trade deals needed to be revisited.

Opposition to NAFTA plays well among Democratic, blue collar voters in Ohio. But the latest salvo from Barack Obama's campaign, a glossy, four-page mailer, uses dubious statistics and an out-of-context quote from Hillary Clinton to appeal to the electorate. [Emphasis added.]

More debunking from of Obama's NAFTA mailer include how "[First Lady Hillary Clinton had] been described by a biographer as privately opposing NAFTA in the White House," that she "was really prepared to try and kill NAFTA," and "not very much in favor of free trade." In an update, a statement was added that Hillary "was calling for tougher trade rules soon after she and her husband left the White House."

Salon, Feb. 25, 2008:

The Clinton campaign, in response, is trumpeting a passage from the Decatur Herald and Review published in September 2004, in which the paper reported that "Obama said the United States benefits enormously from exports under the WTO and NAFTA." [Emphasis added.]

The Democratic Daily, Feb. 26, 2008:

Obama went on record that he was supporting NAFTA expansion months ago. In fact, as David Sirota reported at the time [at Huff'n'Puff Post], Obama was “the first presidential candidate to officially declare his/her support for the NAFTA expansion moving through the Congress.” Sirota wrote:

His announcement is not necessarily surprising, considering he was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Hamilton Projecta Wall Street front group working to drive a wedge between Democrats and organized labor on globalization issues. His announcement comes just days after a Wall Street Journal poll found strong bipartisan opposition to lobbyist-written NAFTA-style trade policies. [Emphasis added.]

Note the headline in the last page of Obama's NAFTA mailer above: Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA. I guess those words depend on what "consistently opposed" means in the Obama lexicon. Can we find them as a synonym of okey doke?


Toronto Star, Jun. 20, 2008:

The presumptive Democratic nominee says in the upcoming edition of Fortune magazine that campaign rhetoric can sometimes get "overheated and amplified," and he denies he would move to unilaterally reopen the trilateral trade deal.

Obama's comments surfaced on the eve of a Canadian appearance by his rival, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, who is expected to use an Ottawa speech today to highlight the Democrat's threat to reopen the deal.

Obama dialled back his anti-NAFTA stance in an interview with Fortune the same day he said he received a congratulatory phone call from Prime Minister Stephen Harper on winning enough convention delegates to get the Democratic presidential nomination.

"I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally," Obama said in the Fortune interview. "I'm a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can make this work for all people.''

His campaign denied he said anything in the interview that changed his core position on trade, pointing to earlier statements in which he promised to talk to Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon about improving NAFTA's labour and environmental standards.

At a debate in Cleveland in the final days of the Ohio primary campaign in March, Obama agreed with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton when she said the six-month opt-out clause should be invoked on NAFTA to force changes.

"I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labour and environmental standards that are enforced," he said.

But every time Obama alters his statements on NAFTA, he lends credence to a Feb. 8 memo describing a meeting between his economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, and George Rioux, Ottawa's consul-general in Chicago.

The Canadian memo, which was leaked to The Associated Press, said Goolsbee told Rioux that Obama's campaign remarks about NAFTA should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy.

In a more complete Fortune transcript, obtained by the online Huffington Post, Obama says: "My core position has never changed.

"I've always been a proponent of free trade and I've always been a believer that we have to have strong environmental provisions and strong labour provisions in our trade agreements." [Emphasis added.]

Barack Obama's website states as of this posting:

Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement: Obama believes that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. Obama will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers.

Gee, that's nice. No specifics. No substantive policy plans on how the Anointed One will change NAFTA. Just bland words.

At Cannonfire, Joseph posted a "well done video" that summarizes "much of the case against Obama" including his reversal on public campaign financing. And Joseph is...

...particularly angered by the section on NAFTA. In the video, you will see two clips of Obama denying that Goolsbee met the Canadians, even though he provably did. (People now forget that Goolsbee originally tried to pretend that he had no connection to Obama.)

Obama apologists -- I will not link to the relevant Huffington Post story; use Google if you must -- now try to pretend that Obama's current NAFTA position matches the one he has always held. Oh yeah? Then why did so many Obots on Kos, DU, TPM and HP shout fantasies about Obama doing away with NAFTA? Why did they (falsely) claim that Hillary, not Obama, was the one giving secret assurances to the Canadians?

Obama transformed himself into a Rorschach blot, onto which progressives projected all of their silly fantasies. As Virginia Postrel says in The Atlantic:

His call for “a broad majority of Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, and independents of goodwill -- who are re-engaged in the project of national renewal” is not a statement of principles. It’s an invitation to the audience to entertain their own fantasies of what national renewal would look like.

As the NAFTA flap demonstrates, his supporters can’t even decide what the candidate really thinks about free trade. His glamour makes it easy to imagine that a President Obama would dissolve differences, abolish hard choices, and achieve political consensus—or that he’s a stealth candidate who will translate his vague platform into a mandate for whatever policies you the voter happen to support.

Obama supporters have imagined an unrealistic imago of their Precious in a fit of their own wishful thinking of who the U.S. senator from Chicago is. At this point, I'm torn. I secretly harbor a wish albeit weak that Obama win the presidency so he can demonstrate what a fraud he is, but at the same time, I hope an Obama loss in November will banish the current DNC leadership from power, a big incentive and opportunity to change a party I no longer recognize. Either way, from my perspective, a McCain or Obama presidency is bad news.

If President Obama makes a bloody mess as I suspect he would, the chances for a 2010-2012 setback for Democrats will be greatly increased and a hard lesson earned. And for what? All because Hillary hatred filled fauxgressives' hearts and clouded their minds with promises of change and hope upon which Obama exploited, a political coup giving him control of the Democratic party in a Faustian bargain for money when TPTB "cast their lot fully with the Obamacans to root out the Clintons and to gain access to the cash cow." The takeover was fully realized by the machinations of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee on May 31 that clearly favored Obama. For further details, read Paul Lukasiak's, Documentary Proof of RBC's "Stop Hillary" corruption in which the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee "violated its own rules for political reasons – to stop Hillary Clinton." Also read the responses in the comment thread.

The One has played his supporters stupid. "Certain" Blog Boyz still assume "Hillary Clinton ran a racist campaign" despite contrary evidence that defies their logic.

Obama spread misleading disinformation about Hillary's positions on NAFTA. He instigated race-baiting to destroy Clinton's reputation and "manipulated the press to fuel the fire against Hillary's benign RFK remark," a dirty trick undeniably linked to his campaign. He advanced specious rhetoric to denigrate Hillary's sex and motives with a shameful crying game including a sexist dog whistle to capitalize on the media's gender-bashing demonization that began years ago against "that buck-tooth witch Satan, Hillary Clinton." If he didn't connive the latter ploy intentionally, then he telegraphed his lack of feminist awareness, a flaw I usually ascribe to right-wing galoots. Obama's recent endorsement for the upcoming Georgia primary of Bush enabler and DINO Rep. John Barrow over challenger Regina Thomas, "a well-known African-American state senator" in a district where "black voters have cast nearly 70 percent of the ballots," should give Obama followers reason to ponder: what manner of candidate have they embraced?

The assertions in Obama's NAFTA mailer to undermine Hillary Clinton were false yet he said, "There's nothing in that mailing that is inaccurate." What makes people think they are exempt from Obama misleading them? What makes women deny he won't think of them as sweeties?

I have previously written, "I guess it was the Democrats' turn to swoon for their faux version of 'a uniter, not a divider.' "

Fait accompli.

UPDATE: Joseph offered some similar yet different points (falsely accusing Hillary Clinton for concocting a dirty trick over the Goolsbee-Canadian flap) in The triumph of double-think about Obama, his fanatical acolytes, and NAFTA. Worth the click!

DOCUMENTS & SOURCES: Images from Obama Mailer Slams Clinton on NAFTA from Ohio Daily Blog by Jeff Coryell. PDF of Obama's NAFTA mailer attacking Hillary Clinton from The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Anglachel of Anglachel's Journal coined the term, The Precious. Melissa McEwan of Shakesville is the source of "fauxgressive" as far as I know.