Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama And Small-Town America (1)

Barack Obama on trade agreements then:

from Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki:

"Senator Obama does not support the South Korea free trade agreement in its current form. He has serious concerns about the effect that the agreement would have on the American auto, beef, and rice industries, as well as the lack of labor and environmental protections in the agreement. Senator Obama is also troubled that the Bush Administration has not done more to help American workers who are losing their jobs as a result of the changing world economy." (abcnews.com,, 4/23/07)

And from Obama himself:

"I think that it (i.e., the NAFTA) did not have the labor
standards and environmental standards that were required in order to
not just be good for Wall Street, but also be good for Main Street.

And if you travel through Youngstown and you travel through
communities in my home state of Illinois, you will see entire cities
that have been devastated as a consequence of trade agreements that
were not adequately structured to make sure that U.S. workers had a
fair deal...." (Democratic presidential debate, Cleveland, Ohio, 2/26/08)

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Now (4/6/08) from Obama speaking to fund-raisers at a home in the Pacific Heights section of San Francisco:

"....So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." (from the full transcript printed on Mayhill Flower's 4/11/08 posting, "Obama: No Surprise That Hard-Pressed Pennsylvanians Turn Bitter" on The Huffington Post)

Clinging to anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain frustration? Personally and politically, I prefer the (slightly) earlier Obama, who presumably saw that middle-class and working-class Americans need help from their federal government, to the one who expressed to fund-raisers considerable contempt for Americans from small towns. And so will-would- Americans on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

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