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Republican Grow Skeptical on Free Trade

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Republicans Grow Skeptical On Free Trade

By JOHN HARWOOD

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October 4, 2007; Page A1

WASHINGTON -- 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 Poll that showed a fraying of Republican Party orthodoxy on the economy. While 60% of respondents said they want the next president and Congress to continue cutting taxes, 32% said it's time for some tax increases on the wealthiest Americans to reduce the budget deficit and pay for health care.

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.

"It's a lot harder to sell the free-trade message to Republicans," said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who conducts the Journal/NBC poll with Democratic counterpart Peter Hart. The poll comes ahead of the Oct. 9 Republican presidential debate in Michigan sponsored by the Journal and the CNBC and MSNBC television networks.

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."

Such a stance is sure to face a challenge in the 2008 general election. Though President Bill Clinton famously steered the Democratic Party toward a less-protectionist bent and promoted the North American Free Trade Agreement, his wife and the current Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has adopted more skeptical rhetoric. Mrs. Clinton has come out against a U.S. trade deal with South Korea.

Other leading Democrats have been harshly critical of trade expansion, pleasing their party's labor-union backers. In a March 2007 WSJ/NBC poll, before recent scandals involving tainted imports, 54% of Democratic voters said free-trade agreements have hurt the U.S., compared with 21% who said they have helped.

Posted Image

While rank-and-file Democrats have long blasted the impact of trade on American jobs, slipping support among Republicans represents a fresh warning sign for free-market conservatives and American companies such as manufacturers and financial firms that benefit from markets opening abroad.

With voters provoked for years by such figures as Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot, "there's been a steady erosion in Republican support for free trade," says former Rep. Vin Weber, now an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

One fresh indication of the party's ideological crosswinds: Presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas, who opposes the Iraq war and calls free-trade deals "a threat to our independence as a nation," announced yesterday that he raised $5 million in third-quarter donations. That nearly matches what one-time front-runner John McCain is expected to report.

Posted Image In a December 1999 Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, 37% of Republicans said trade deals had helped the U.S. and 31% said they had hurt, while 26% said they made no difference.

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.

Rocky Outlook

Such sentiment suggests a rocky outlook for trade expansion. Early in his term, Mr. Bush successfully promoted a number of new free-trade pacts, but the efforts have stalled, particularly after Democrats took control of Congress last November.

Even relatively small deals are facing resistance. While trade pacts with Peru and Panama have a strong chance of passing in the current congressional term, deals with South Korea and Colombia are in serious jeopardy. Some legislators believe South Korea isn't opening its market wide enough to American beef and autos.

'Fast Track'

Presidential "fast track" trade negotiating authority has lapsed. Without such authority, which requires Congress to take a single up-or-down vote on trade deals, the next president would have trouble pursuing large trade agreements, particularly the stalled global Doha Round.

Julie Kowal, 40 years old, who works in a medical lab and is raising five children in Omaha, Neb., said she worries that Midwestern producers face obstacles selling beef and autos abroad. "We give a lot more than we get," she said. "There's got to be a point where we say, 'Wait a minute.'"

Beyond trade, Republicans appear to be seeking a move away from the president. Asked in general terms, a 48% plurality of Republicans said the next president should "take a different approach" from Mr. Bush, while 38% wanted to continue on his path.

In the poll, Mr. Giuliani maintained his lead in the Republican field with support from 30% of respondents. Former Sen. Fred Thompson drew 23% in the survey, to 15% for Sen. John McCain, 10% for Mr. Romney and 4% for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The telephone survey of 606 Republican voters, conducted Sept. 28-30, has a margin of error of four percentage points.

A clear majority of Republicans want more tax cuts, but among Republicans who identify themselves as moderate or liberal -- about one-third of the party's primary voters -- a 48% plurality favored some tax increase to fund health care and other priorities.

In part, the concern about trade reflected in the survey reflects the changing composition of the Republican electorate as social conservatives have grown in influence. In questions about a series of candidate stances, the only one drawing strong agreement from a majority of Republicans was opposition to abortion rights.

Post-9/11 security concerns have also displaced some of the traditional economic concerns of the Republican Party that Ronald Reagan reshaped a generation ago. Asked which issues will be most important in determining their vote, a 32% plurality cited national defense, while 25% cited domestic issues such as education and health care, and 23% cited moral issues. Ranking last, identified by just 17%, were economic issues such as taxes and trade.

John Pirtle, a 40-year-old Defense Department employee in Grand Rapids, Mich., said he drifted toward the Republican Party in large part because of his opposition to abortion, but doesn't agree with the free-trade views of leading candidates.

"We're seeing a lot of jobs farmed out," said Mr. Pirtle, whose father works for General Motors Corp. Rankled by reports of safety problems with Chinese imports, he added, "The stuff we are getting, looking at all the recalls, to be quite honest, it's junk."

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No $hit Sherlock!

Congrats Capt. Obvious. Free trade is one of the biggest problems with the USA today.

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:lol: politicians are the same crap everywhere: they'll do anything to capitalize on economic news.
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:lol: politicians are the same crap everywhere: they'll do anything to capitalize on economic news.
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Morons. <_<

They're just capitalizing on idiot public sentiment that's misplaced. This stupidity hurts ALL of North America.

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"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."

Now there's a thought. Why should we be trying to compete on price with low wage countries? We should be pushing the high tech envelope, you know, the stuff those low wage countries either can't do, or wouldn't be cost effective for them to do?

Do we really need things like the textile industry back so Americans can be making clothes again? We need to focus on education more. Economics classes also need to start much earlier than the last year of high school.

There is nothing wrong with free trade, just like there is nothing wrong with competition. We are losing the free trade competition, so everyone just wants to give up and resort to protectionism?

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There is nothing wrong with free trade.... when it's actually free. We're not in a reciprocal free trade situation with just about anybody.

Ask GM or Ford or Zenith how "free" trade is in Japan or South Korea.....

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There is nothing wrong with free trade.... when it's actually free. We're not in a reciprocal free trade situation with just about anybody.

Ask GM or Ford or Zenith how "free" trade is in Japan or South Korea.....

Which that should be the goal, not protectionism.
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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."

Now there's a thought. Why should we be trying to compete on price with low wage countries? We should be pushing the high tech envelope, you know, the stuff those low wage countries either can't do, or wouldn't be cost effective for them to do?

Do we really need things like the textile industry back so Americans can be making clothes again? We need to focus on education more. Economics classes also need to start much earlier than the last year of high school.

There is nothing wrong with free trade, just like there is nothing wrong with competition. We are losing the free trade competition, so everyone just wants to give up and resort to protectionism?

:thumbsup:

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There is nothing wrong with free trade.... when it's actually free. We're not in a reciprocal free trade situation with just about anybody.

Ask GM or Ford or Zenith how "free" trade is in Japan or South Korea.....

:yes:

And this is the heart of the problem.

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So, we should limit the "free" trade to match input to output, and the countries we have a trade deficit with can cut us a check for the difference. Problem solved. :lol:

I know it is about product, not government, but that hasn't stopped some people from meddling *japan koff koff*

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So, we should limit the "free" trade to match input to output, and the countries we have a trade deficit with can cut us a check for the difference. Problem solved.

Not what I'm suggesting at all. I'm suggesting that we should implement the same restrictions on trade with us as Japan and S. Korea implement on our trade with them. If they want free access to sell in our market, they MUST give us free access to sell in their market.

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Not what I'm suggesting at all. I'm suggesting that we should implement the same restrictions on trade with us as Japan and S. Korea implement on our trade with them. If they want free access to sell in our market, they MUST give us free access to sell in their market.

Agreed. If Japan and South Korea aren't going to play fairly, why should we?
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I always laugh when American's complain about Free Trade, and saying they are getting the shaft. Maybe they should come over to our side of the border, and see what their version of 'Free Trade' has done to my province's lumber industry.

Now you guys get a bit of a taste of how Canada feels sometimes when we butt heads with you. Hurts, eh?

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Why do the Republicans even try this time? Our next president will be a Democrat.

Yes - I am a registered Republican. No I did not vote for Bush.

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Agreed. If Japan and South Korea aren't going to play fairly, why should we?

We shouldn't.

And we never should have.

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Oh yeah, free trade has certainly made us all so much poorer. :huh:

It has. Every time you "Save Money. Live Better"*, the money you've saved has come directly out of the pockets of an American worker.

Wow you've managed to save $15 on 300 thread count sheets at Walmart. Well guess what, those sheets are now made in Vietnam or China rather than South Carolina or Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I used to work for the textile company who supplied those sheets to Walmart. In order to compete, the company was forced to move it's production over seas and lay off 150 workers.

But.... you saved $15 on the sheets.... so it doesn't really matter.

*Walmart's new slogan

Edited by Oldsmoboi
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Well, 'Free Trade' helped Canada like you wouldn't believe, yet we're still getting ripped off on Softwood Lumber exports.

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3 comments:

1) This is a ploy for votes and nothing else... Don't mistake it for the Republicans (or democrats for that matter) actually giving a &#036;h&#33; about the country.

EXAMPLE:

With voters provoked for years by such figures as Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot, "there's been a steady erosion in Republican support for free trade," says former Rep. Vin Weber, now an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The PUBLIC is souring on free trade, so the ADVISORS have informed the candidates about that and now the candidates are talking out of the other side of their mouths... It's typical politics.

2) It's not like it matters now anyway... Just let our government try and put sanctions on these countries and watch the backlash that happens. We have outsourced ourselves so much now that we have become dependent on these countries to the point that we must continue whoring the country out to survive. We all saw what China was proposing when our government tried to regulate trade with them and it'll be just as bloody for everyone else.

America was sold a long time ago, and the buyers are happy milking us for money.

3) I agree 100% that our next president will UNFORTUNATELY be a democrat. Bush has screwed the Republicans over for quite some time now. UNFORTUNATELY, because that means either Obama or Hilary will get office. Hilary is an extremist and Obama is completely clueless and *BOTH* hate Detroit.

It's not hard to see the "crash and burn" right around the curve that both our automotive industry and our country are facing.

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It has. Every time you "Save Money. Live Better"*, the money you've saved has come directly out of the pockets of an American worker.

Wow you've managed to save $15 on 300 thread count sheets at Walmart. Well guess what, those sheets are now made in Vietnam or China rather than South Carolina or Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I used to work for the textile company who supplied those sheets to Walmart. In order to compete, the company was forced to move it's production over seas and lay off 150 workers.

But.... you saved $15 on the sheets.... so it doesn't really matter.

*Walmart's new slogan

uh, the economy as a whole continues to grow. people find new jobs. you probably even found a better job than the textile company you worked at, have you not?
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It has. Every time you "Save Money. Live Better"*, the money you've saved has come directly out of the pockets of an American worker.

Wow you've managed to save $15 on 300 thread count sheets at Walmart. Well guess what, those sheets are now made in Vietnam or China rather than South Carolina or Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I used to work for the textile company who supplied those sheets to Walmart. In order to compete, the company was forced to move it's production over seas and lay off 150 workers.

But.... you saved $15 on the sheets.... so it doesn't really matter.

*Walmart's new slogan

My dad worked for the same company (although it changed names 3 times) for

over 15 years and one day his job and 1500 others went to China. He was not

in textile or anything of the sort, he had a VERY high-tech job in the design &

manufacture of medical equiptment.

How and when will we get back those 1500 jobs? <_<

Or the other 400,000 jobs lost here locally in recent years?

Free Trade is not a complicated matter, it's quite simple.

RAPE ---> USA = Free Trade

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uh, the economy as a whole continues to grow. people find new jobs. you probably even found a better job than the textile company you worked at, have you not?

I didn't leave the company due to downsizing. My job is still there, I am not.

All the people who were downsized were textile workers. Some of them had been at the company for 20 years. There aren't a lot of opportunities for someone like that other than Walmart greeter.

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My dad worked for the same company (although it changed names 3 times) for

over 15 years and one day his job and 1500 others went to China. He was not

in textile or anything of the sort, he had a VERY high-tech job in the design &

manufacture of medical equiptment.

How and when will we get back those 1500 jobs? <_<

Or the other 400,000 jobs lost here locally in recent years?

Free Trade is not a complicated matter, it's quite simple.

RAPE ---> USA = Free Trade

What is your dad doing now?

The only argument I will accept is if you show me statistics how Free Trade has hurt the economy as a whole. Show me unemployment rates and GDP performance. That is all that I will accept. WHen you actually look at the statistics and see our employment rate is better when we open up our borders you should realize that Free Trade is a good thing!

Edited by lakefire
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