12 April 2008

Obama vs. Clinton - Free Trade

Recent weeks have seen a number of developments on this front and all of them highlight the hypocrisy and double-speak of politicians...It is sad that we get caught up in the need for change and do not give enough critical thought to these things. I am not an American so do not get to vote. But I think that even though this is the case, the outcome of the US election will impact on the broader world in general and as such we as citizens of the world should care a little more!

On topic...Some time ago an Obama advisor and strategist, Austan Goolsbee, told some Canadian officials not to be too concerned with the Obama rhetoric on NAFTA because he did not really mean it. However, Obama did not "get rid of" Goolsbee in spite of saying that he would have removed Mark Penn if he had been on his staff. Nah, the rationale here is that Goolsbee was never a paid staffer and as such could not be removed. It's all semantics to me! If that is the logic then why bother responding to the anti-American outbursts of your former preacher because he is no longer your preacher and no longer part of the campaign in any form...as I said it is all semantics to me!

Yet, when it was revealed that Clinton's chief economic strategist, Mark Penn, is lobbying on behalf of the Colombian government with respect to a free trade deal he was forced to step down and leave the campaign staff. This had to happen because Clinton has been railing against the deal with Colombia.

The Democrats need to work this one out though because free trade is not necessarily a bad deal overall. There is obviously some pain felt for some but overall NAFTA by all accounts has delivered more benefits overall than it has been detrimental (I would need to read more before entering into a debate on the matter).

If I was an American and having to vote this coming November, I would be questioning just how much change Obama is willing to deliver or perhaps more importantly how much change can he deliver? The rhetoric is one thing the delivery is another. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and not the baking, or actions speak louder than words, or seeing is believing!

But ultimately one reaps what they sow!

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