Friday, May 18, 2007

Flagship Magazine Agrees that Democrats Have Sold Out on Trade

The Democratic movement's flagship periodical (IMO) The Nation has published a scathing editorial about the recent bipartisan secret trade agreement (blogged here and here). Just like they did on Iraq a couple of years ago, The Nation has made their discontent towards Democrats heard in no uncertain terms. Please, READ THE ARTICLE. I've posted a few of the best passages below:

When Democratic and Republican leaders announce they have fashioned a "historic" bipartisan compromise on trade, put your hand over your wallet. It probably means somebody has been sold out.

The objective of Democratic leaders seems clear: to marginalize the fair-trade dissenters, coax the party into approving more trade agreements and, above all, grant renewed fast-track authority to the President. Fast-track effectively stymies Congress's influence on trade issues, denying any chance to make changes in negotiated agreements. That's why the business lobby loves it so. That the US Chamber of Commerce is delighted with Pelosi ought to tell you something.

If House insurgents oppose Pelosi & Co., they may not have the votes to win, but they can force the Speaker into a very uncomfortable bind. She will have to win on Republican votes. That's the same game Bill Clinton played in the 1990s, enacting NAFTA and other job-killing trade agreements over opposition from the rank and file. Working people got the message--and many of them stopped voting Democratic. If the deal prevails, we predict the party will pay the same price again. Disenchanted voters will conclude, correctly, that nothing has changed in Washington.

I do not always agree with The Nation, but you can bet your ass that if The Nation is criticizing Democrats then those Democrats are about to make a huge mistake. As mentioned (and linked) above, in 2005 The Nation rightfully chastised Democrats that continued to support the Iraq War:
Most shameful has been the Democratic Party's failure to oppose the war. Indeed, support for it has been bipartisan: A Republican President and Congress made the policy, and almost all of the leading Democrats--most of the honorable exceptions are members of the House of Representatives--supported it from the outset and continue to do so.

The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position. Many worry that the aftermath of withdrawal will be ugly, but we can now see that the consequences of staying will be uglier still. Fear of facing the consequences of Bush's disaster should not be permitted to excuse the creation of a worse disaster by continuing the occupation.

We firmly believe that antiwar candidates, with the other requisite credentials, can win the 2006 Congressional elections, the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and the subsequent national election. But this fight, and our stand, must begin now.

They were right then and they are right now - Democrats on the Hill should listen to them if they want keep the party moving in the right direction...


Craig said...


I clicked on the link and an ad for Ann Coulter was the first thing I saw. Kind of weird that she's advertising on The

I was reading the Rolling Stone interview w/Bob Weir last night, and Bob was talking about how Ann likes to hang out backstage at his shows. Kind of strange.

Anyways, I'll read the article tomorrow as I'm going out for the evening. Thanks for the link.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I see Coulter's ugly mug at other left-leaning sites throughout the blogosphere. Seems like a waste of advertising coin to me...

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I agree with much of this article. I used to support Free Trade; however, I have trqavelled the world enough that I have seen that we need Fair Trade.

There is one part of the article that is distrubing and offensive:

"All progressive Democrats should ask the leaders why they feel the need to rush into any new trade agreements. Their strategy gives away the majority party's new bargaining leverage. With growing ranks of trade critics among House and Senate Democrats, the party can demand much more from Wall Street and corporate interests. No new trade deals, for instance, until business endorses universal healthcare or accepts new controls on outsourcing and offshore financial schemes. Or dozens of other progressive reforms."

Delete this paragraph and the article makes good sense...

Mike Sylvester

Jeff Pruitt said...


The Nation is the voice of the progressive movement within the Democratic party so they are looking at this issue as a political one as well as an economical one.

I too thought that paragraph stuck out like a sore thumb and didn't really fit the tone of the editorial...