Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Free Trade" a Loser for Republican Voters

Now here's something that will confound the Usual Experts.

By a nearly two-to-one margin, Republican voters believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy, a shift in opinion that mirrors Democratic views and suggests trade deals could face high hurdles under a new president. The sign of broadening resistance to globalization came in a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News Poll4 that showed a fraying of Republican Party orthodoxy on the economy.

...Six in 10 Republicans in the poll agreed with a statement that free trade has been bad for the U.S. and said they would agree with a Republican candidate who favored tougher regulations to limit foreign imports. That represents a challenge for Republican candidates who generally echo Mr. Bush's calls for continued trade expansion, and reflects a substantial shift in sentiment from eight years ago.

...The leading Republican candidates are still trying to promote free trade. "Our philosophy has to be not how many protectionist measures can we put in place, but how do we invent new things to sell" abroad, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in a recent interview. "That's the view of the future. What [protectionists] are trying to do is lock in the inadequacies of the past."

The new poll asked a broader but similar question. It posed two statements to voters. The first was, "Foreign trade has been good for the U.S. economy, because demand for U.S. products abroad has resulted in economic growth and jobs for Americans here at home and provided more choices for consumers." The second was, "Foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy, because imports from abroad have reduced demand for American-made goods, cost jobs here at home, and produced potentially unsafe products." Asked which statement came closer to their own view, 59% of Republicans named the second statement, while 32% pointed to the first.

It's not hard to figure this out. The vast majority of "R" voters are NOT the CEO's of GE, GM, or any other Fortune 500 company. They are 'men on the street' who have watched manufacturing jobs disappear over the last 15 years.

And most people still understand ("experts" notwithstanding) that manufacturing throws off a helluvalotta cash to its employees, suppliers, and professional service firms.

Ruuuuudeeeeee!!! is vulnerable here, but so is Fred!!!!

Pay attention, boyzzz. The votes of the Chamber of Commerce's leadership are damned few.

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