Matthew Yglesias writes:
TAPPED: July 2005 Archives: TRADING PLACES. Just when I was contemplating writing something about the odd thinking that seems to be going on in some pro-CAFTA circles, here comes a great example from Ramesh Ponnuru:
It may not be as important as this Geena Davis show, but CAFTA will do some modest good. I'm not wild about including intellectual-property standards in trade agreements, but the consequences of a congressional defeat of the agreement could have been quite bad. Now it's up to the administration to show some leadership on farm subsidies in the global trade talks.
This is what you hear a lot. CAFTA's not so hot, but it needs to pass for the sake of other, bigger, better trade deals. But here's the thing: Congressional opposition isn't stopping the Doha round, the Bush administration is. The White House isn't failing to "show some leadership on farm subsidies," they're totally intransigent. Worse, in order to get CAFTA passed one of the things Bush did was promise not to cut farm subsidies. Rather than building momentum for real global trade liberalization, CAFTA is helping to stall it.
TAPPED: July 2005 Archives: GEORGE BUSH, FREE TRADER. The conventional wisdom has it that CAFTA needed to pass in order to maintain political momentum for broader, more substantive trade liberalization measures. As US Trade Representative Rob Portman explains:
"This became much bigger than Cafta, because it became a political issue," said Rob Portman, the United States trade representative. "It was important to our position as the global leader on trade, so we had to fight back, and to fight back meant being very aggressive, explaining why it was good."
So what did the GOP do to get it passed:
But the House speaker, J. Dennis Hastert, told him they needed his vote anyway. If he switched from "nay" to "aye," Mr. Hayes recounted, Mr. Hastert promised to push for whatever steps he felt were necessary to restrict imports of Chinese clothing, which has been flooding into the United States in recent months....
The restrictions Mr. Hastert promised could come soon. Within the next 10 days, the Bush administration is expected to rule on whether to impose import quotas on Chinese sweaters, wool trousers, bras and other goods.
Now that's why I call principled leadership.
I have an announcement to everyone who claimed back in 2000 that the Republican Leadership was committed to free trade. I will accept your apologies now.