The economic news for President Obama has not been good. Now two more releases—one last month and the other impending—promise more difficult news for a president attempting the task of winning re-election amidst public pessimism about the economy.
Manufacturing jobs are down—so says a government report released Monday, and with overall job numbers for June expected out at the end of the week, no one in the White House is anticipating their lives getting any easier. None of this is any surprise, because for a president who campaigned on the basis of hope and change, he’s provided despair and more of the same when it comes to global economic policy.
Candidate Obama talked tough on trade on the stump in 2008, vowing to take a harder line in protecting U.S. industries as he campaigned through Ohio and Pennsylvania in crucial Democratic primaries, drawing a distinction between himself and Hillary Clinton, whose husband had been responsible for the selling out of the party’s labor base with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and then the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (1994). Obama said all the right things, although his real intentions came clear immediately afterward. His campaign, upon getting concerned calls from Canada, assured foreign officials that the candidate didn’t actually mean what he said.
The question that has to be asked is why traditionalist Democrats—ones who believe in the party’s tradition of standing up for working people on the economic front, while opposing the leftward lurch on national security and the social agenda—allow themselves to continue to be pushed around. The Democratic coalition of suburban liberals and blue-collar constituents is divided by the question of global trade—along with attendant issues like how far to go in environmental protection. In most coalitions, these problems are solved by compromise. In the case of the Obama campaign (as with Clinton before him), the compromise is that the traditionalists get a few soundbites, while the yuppies get everything when it comes to policy. Indeed, it seems the government can’t even purchase the American flag itself without going to Chinese manufacturers.
Obama’s campaign, having failed to deliver any real policy victories to its traditional constituencies is left to play on hate and fear and count on anti-Republican animus to keep them in the Democratic camp. Obama is hardly the first politician to rely on this, he won’t be the last and it’s a tactic that’s one of the few things both parties can agree on. But if you’re a traditionalist Democrat, what exactly do you have to gain by going along with the arrangement?
The economic sell-out by the Left is the end-game of a process that began in the Democratic Party in the early 1970s. It began when they started selling out the unborn in the wake of Roe vs. Wade and not nearly enough was done to stand up to the hostile takeover of the party by a faux element. Now the Left has gone after the working-class economic base of the country itself, looking to replace it with government jobs. And the question continues—how long will the traditionalist elements of the party allow it to go on before revolting?
Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com.