Sunday, February 24, 2008

FactCheck on the Hillary NAFTA Mailer

FactCheck.org posted a story today taking on the now-infamous mailer sent out by the Obama campaign criticizing Hillary Clinton's stand on NAFTA.1 Up to now the debate over the mailers has been muddied by Clinton's cagey stance on NAFTA itself. The argument has focused on the Obama mailer putting quotes around the word "boon" which Newsday now admits was its summation of her position, not a direct quote.

All this begs the question -- what is (and more to the point, was) her position on NAFTA? Team Hillary has been flogging the Newsday article which only suggests that Obama should distance himself from quoting her as saying "boon." They have not offered an alternative history of Hillary's position on the trade agreement.

The FactCheck article sheds a little dark on the matter:

    We frankly find Clinton's past position on NAFTA to be ambivalent. Bloomberg News reported last year that Clinton "promoted her husband's trade agenda for years." Bloomberg quoted her at the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as praising corporations for mounting "a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta,'' and adding, "It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun."
The problem, it appears, is that Hillary and Bill may have been split on NAFTA, and Hillary ultimately went along in part to advance her health care agenda. FactCheck continues:
    On the other hand, Clinton biographer Sally Bedell Smith says Clinton privately argued against NAFTA inside the White House and was "not very much in favor of free trade." [Click through for an extensive Bedell Smith quote]
Which raises a secondary troubling issue. If this has been her position all along, why haven't we heard it before now? Could it be that she does not want to campaign against a sentinel issue of her husband's presidency? And if so, what other policy positions might she alter in order to preserve her husband's legacy.

I don't want to condemn a candidate simply based on whom she is married to. On the other hand, we do have the right to ask what policy baggage the Clintons would bring with them if granted a second stay in the White House.

1If you need a reset, here goes. After Jeff Coryell originally posted the mailer in which, New York Newsday ran a story admitting that it had paraphrased a key quote -- that Hillary claimed the agreement was a "boon: to the economy. Campaigning in Cincinnati yesterday, Clinton called Obama out for the mailers.

4 comments:

Guy said...

One thing is for sure, there is a lot of crap being spread about NAFTA. During the latest debate, Obama blamed NAFTA for causing tooling being ripped from American factories and being shipped to China. Well, NAFTA is the NORTH AMERICAN Free Trade Agreement. NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with trade with China.

Valeria Rogers said...

NAFTA has become a dirty word because of the Bush/Cheney administration. The NAFTA Bill Clinton envisioned was a fair and equitable trade agreement that would launch America into the global economy. At the time, it was expected Al Gore would become president in which case NAFTA would have remained a fair and equitable trade agreement. However, Bush/Cheney failed to include equitable wages for our overseas workers nor did they include any environmental parameters for plants overseas. As a result, American Corporations sold out the American worker and the environment because corporate America has slowly taken over in the past 8 years. Bush has all but dismantled the federal government agencies and awarded their duties via contract to private for-profit corporations. You don't honestly think the U.S. government is processing your income tax returns do you? That's contracted out to a corporation who's workers know your ss numbers, your income, how many kids you have, whatever is on your tax return. But do you know who they are? Of course not. Corporations rule right now and Obama's bravado telling them he is coming for them is pure suicide. Obama has already been manipulated by the nuclear industry. He lied to Iowans when he said he was proud of legislation he passed relative to the nuclear industry. It never passed. The Republicans and the nuclear industry got hold of it and watered it down so badly it died. Where was Obama's resolve? Well in 2005, he voted for an Energy Bill that was loaded with pork barrel spending, tax cuts to big oil, but oh, the nuclear industry was awarded 5.7 billion dollars! Hillary didn't bite on that bill. Obama is green and dangerous because he is naive in what he thinks he will do and what he thinks a very lazy, apathetic America will do. He will never accomplish what he proposes, especially now that he's alerted big business he's coming for them. He'll go the way of Jimmy Carter. Worse yet, his bubble will more than likely break under Republican pressure before November. I watched Obama fumble badly when ABC news aired footage of him stating he advocated a single payer health care system, something he previously denied. He stammered, and stuttered, and appeared to become angry because he got cornered. It wasn't pretty. Obama should have stuck to inspirational speaking since he likes empty rhetoric so well..."we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal." Yeah right, I haven't seen that yet in America. Just last year we had nooses hanging everywhere, and I've never been paid comparable wages to my male coworkers.

Anonymous said...

And didn't Obama want to expand NAFTA?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/breaking-obama-says-he-w_b_67780.html

Murphy said...

valeria-Bush/Cheney failed to include equitable wages for anyone or environmental anything?

How could they? They would have had to renegotiate NAFTA as it was signed before their time.

They may not have pushed what was available to them in NAFTA, but that's entirely different than what you said.

Besides, when a trade pact as large as NAFTA is signed, whoever signs it has to anticipate anyone who takes office will be bound by it.

If you're upset with provisions of the pact, blame the admin that signed the dang thing, not subsequent admins that took advantage of loopholes that were written into it.

The rest of your post is sheer nonsensical talking points that add nothing to the conversation.

To the ad originally addressed, I don't see a huge difference between any of the candidates using NAFTA as a scapegoat. I rather appreciate McCain and Obama actually saying they favor trade, but that's the only real thing being said about the subject as both sides are pandering to their respective bases.

I'm curious if anyone reads these mailers anyway. I sure don't. They get tossed with all the rest of the junk mail I get.

Does anyone pay any attention to them?