Posts Tagged ‘free trade’

Superdelegates might tip over trade

May 2, 2008

(the following comes from Jonathan Tasini, writing for the Huffington Post)

I’ve said before that I believe that the Democratic nomination fight is over, though the hype may drag on for a bit. But, a nice chunk of super delegates–perhaps as many as a dozen or more–may make their choice based on where the candidates stand on trade. And that’s a good sign for people who actually care about choices made on the basis of issues.

In early March, I pointed out that Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (both from Ohio) were remaining undecided because they wanted to actually get a very clear understanding of where the candidates stood on trade, particularly on the fate of the so-called “free trade” agreement with Colombia. Congressional Quarterly reported earlier this week that:

According to one list, there are 21 House Democrats in the group of lawmakers that wants to force the candidates to take detailed stands on a series of trade issues such as how they would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, whether they would address trade disparities the lawmakers attribute to the use of value-added taxes in foreign countries, how they would use the tax code to encourage American businesses to keep facilities in the United States, and what steps they would take to create jobs by investing in domestic infrastructure needs.

The group still includes at least 12 undecided lawmakers: Kaptur, Reps Michael H. Michaud of Maine, Bart Stupak of Michigan (who will only be a superdelegate if the Democratic Party seats a delegation from his home state), Joe Donnelly and Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana, Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, Jason Altmire and Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania, John Sarbanes of Maryland, Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas, Gene Taylor of Mississippi and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

Of particular interest is Heath Shuler, not simply because of the upcoming primary in North Carolina. In the 2006 midterm elections, Shuler won in the 11th congressional district by beating incumbent Charles Taylor, in no small part because of Taylor’s failure to vote against the so-called “free trade” Central American Free Trade Agreement. Shuler ran two television ads on trade policy during his campaign.

In Indiana, in 2006, Joe Donnelly defeated incumbent Chris Chocola, who supported so-called “free trade” deals like NAFTA, and Brad Ellsworth won his seat in the 8th Congressional district by campaigning against expansions of so-called “free trade”.

All this is good news. One of the things that we can take from this election cycle is that we are winning the campaign to move to a much more saner discussion and policy on trade and globalization. It’s clear that the Democratic Party candidates, from the outset, have understood that the voters are much more advanced in their grasp of the damage being done by so-called “free trade” (whether the candidates have truly changed their position or not is a different issue). If you want to judge by the results in 2006, expanding majorities in Congress, in the House and the Senate, will be easier if the Democratic Party’s candidates reject so-called “free trade” and pledge to embrace a sane approach to globalization and trade–not just because of the moral imperative but as a matter of electoral realities since even Republicans are opposed to so-called “free trade”.

So, while I find the machinations and hype over the the race-that-is-over pretty boring, there is a lot of hope to be found in the bubbling up of voter sentiment reflected in the dynamics of the political insider game.


Kudos for Donnelly: Opposition to Peruvian free trade pact

March 24, 2008

Charlotte Weybright, writing for Berry Street Beacon, offers Rep. Joe Donnelly praise for his opposition to a free trade agreement with Peru:

The United States spent two years in negotiations with Peru to settle terms of yet another free-trade agreement. These agreements have consistently been pro-corporation and pro-big business and anti-American worker. Yet our government – the President and the Congress – continue to ignore the needs of American workers in search of countries that may be exploited through the use of “Democracy-building” agreements based on our capitalistic economic system.


In the House of Representatives, the Indiana breakdown was two opposing, five in favor, and two no votes. The two courageous Democrats not supporting the agreement were Joe Donnelly and Pete Visclosky. Souder, Burton, and Pence voted in favor, which could be expected. Carson and Buyer did not vote. Of course, this would have been during the final days of Julia Carson’s illness, so we can understand why she didn’t vote. But Ellsworth and Hill – two more newly elected Democrats? Both voted for the Agreement.

All four Democrats capable of voting should have voted against this free trade agreement, but they didn’t. And on December 14, 2007, the United States – Peru Free Trade Agreement was signed into law by the president.

So yet another free-trade agreement comes into existence. Aren’t our elected officials hearing the pain of the American worker? Or is their fear of losing campaign contributions so great that they will ignore their own constituencies in promoting democracy-building throughout the world.