David Brooks depresses the hell out of me
As I said last week in my TNR Online essay, “these are not the best of times to be an advocate of economic globalization.” Case in point: David Brooks’ Saturday column on Richard Gephardt. The key section: [T]he issue that Gephardt is most passionate about, which gets the heads bobbing most vociferously, is trade. At ...
As I said last week in my TNR Online essay, "these are not the best of times to be an advocate of economic globalization." Case in point: David Brooks' Saturday column on Richard Gephardt. The key section:
As I said last week in my TNR Online essay, “these are not the best of times to be an advocate of economic globalization.” Case in point: David Brooks’ Saturday column on Richard Gephardt. The key section:
[T]he issue that Gephardt is most passionate about, which gets the heads bobbing most vociferously, is trade. At the climax of his speech, Gephardt describes his visits to factory towns in Mexico and China, where he saw factory workers living in shipping boxes with raw sewage running through the streets. He describes his meeting with Bill Clinton at which he told the president he would not support Nafta unless there were international standards built in. He ridicules his Democratic opponents for their primary-season conversions on the issue. Sure, they are against free-trade pacts now, he points out, “but I was there when the jobs were on the line!” Heads are bobbing all around. The fact is, he’s won. For three decades the Democrats have been split on trade, but you’d never know it from this campaign. Just as the Democratic field is chasing Howard Dean on Iraq, it is chasing Dick Gephardt on trade — and repudiating Clinton. It is impossible to imagine the next Democratic presidential candidate pushing free-trade deals the way the last one did…. [H]e’s made his trade position politically palatable. He used to project himself as an economic nationalist — as the protector of American jobs against those low-wage foreigners. Now he presents himself as a global liberal, insisting on international environmental and worker standards before trade deals are signed. The policy results are the same — more trade barriers — but now it sounds more humane.
Pop quiz for Gephardt — you said back in February:
At many points in the last half century, our nation has faced a choice between taking a global leadership role or reverting to the illusory security of isolation, as we did after World War I. To our great benefit, our leaders have repeatedly committed themselves to the first path through their keen understanding of America’s long-term interests, their constant recognition that the United States must be engaged in world events, and their sustained efforts to draw other nations to our cause and the values that guide it. I am determined to further this tradition of committed leadership and have pursued such a course in international affairs throughout my career.
How do you plan on reconciling your protectionist trade proposals with continuing “America’s leadership role?” [You do know he’s not going to answer — you know that Brooks’ thesis is that politically, this message is selling in the primaries–ed. Hence my mood.]
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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