Dems 2008: The sucking sound keeps getting louder [Karl]
The buzz about the Goolsbee/NAFTA flapÃ‚Â has picked up agin, based on the story that the Canadian prime minister’s chief of staff may have attributed some double-talk on NAFTA to the Clinton campaign.Ã‚Â This has Matthew Yglesias, among others, claiming the Goolsbee flap was a “bad rap.”Ã‚Â It has Dan Riehl claiming that “Brodie was talking off the cuff, had Obama mixed up with Clinton and the ‘journalism’ resulted in some facts coming out.”
First, Yglesias is wrong to the extent that Goolsbee has admitted the meeting at the Canadian consulate in Chicago, but claims his views were misquoted in one sentence of the memo memorializing the meeting.Ã‚Â Given that Obama’s current protectionist rhetoric (which itself contains a measure of double-talk) Ã‚Â is at odds with Goolsbee’s well-documented views on trade, the Canadian diplomat might be given the benefit of the doubt.
Second, Riehl may be right about the “smoking gun,” but we should not assume thatÃ‚Â the reality of the Goolsbee flap exonerates Clinton, either.Ã‚Â I doubt anyone would be shocked if some Clinton adviser made remarks similar to Goolsbee’s through back-channels.
The irony in this flap is that when theÃ‚Â Democrats claim we need to renegotiate better environmental and labor standards for NAFTA, they are almost certainly not thinking primarily about Canada.Ã‚Â But the Dems do not want to be out on the trail openly bashing Mexico.Ã‚Â After all, if they bashed our legal tradeÃ‚Â in goods with Mexico, it would be much harder to bash those in the GOP who are against the illegal tradeÃ‚Â in services with Mexico as nativists and racists.