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Obama Flip-Flops Off Trade Cliff

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FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS OBAMA CONGRESS
AP File

Apparently, Obama has a plan for winning re-election that does not involve Ohio... oh, and he is tired of talking about job CREATION.

Yesterday, after months of seeming ambiguity about whether to really take ownership of the three job-killing, Bush-signed, NAFTA-style Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, he sent them to Congress for approval. Keep in mind that even the official U.S. International Trade Commission studies show that the Korea deal, the most economically significant since NAFTA, will increase our trade deficit. It's projected to cost 160,000 jobs -- many in the jobs of the future categories like high-speed trains, solar, computers etc.

At this point, that Obama did a total flip-flop on very specific, written, repeated campaign promises -- in this instance to replace the old damaging trade model starting with fixing these three deals -- is not news. But what is noteworthy is the flip-flopping right off a political cliff. See here for a memo on the polling on these issues -- opposition to these sorts of pacts is one of the few things that unites GOP, Dems, and Independents.

Now, the question is whether Congress will follow. Whether or not these job-killing deals go into effect will come down to whether 218 House members vote for them. Few Dems will support the deals. The Korea deal is an albatross of job loss. Congress should not even be considering a trade deal with Colombia, where scores of trade unionists, human rights defenders and Afro-Colombians are murdered or displaced from their lands every year and conditions have worsened since the administration signed off on an unenforceable "Labor Action Plan." At a time when America is trying to reduce the national debt, Congress should not be considering a trade deal with Panama, a notorious tax-haven where U.S. firms and wealthy individuals go to dodge their taxes.

A bloc of more senior GOP oppose the Korea deal, as it clobbers certain industries. So, it will come down to the GOP freshmen.

The polling shows that Tea Partiers are among the most passionate opponents of these deals. But whether the freshmen GOP will stick with the critical position many of them campaigned on and/or heed the Ron Paul call to oppose these deals is at best unclear. Many have already flipped to yes votes, falling in line with the massive Chamber of Commerce campaign that has been aimed at getting them "educated."

If the deals are passed, you can imagine the Democratic congressional campaign committees again making hay with differentiator ads attacking these job-killing votes.

Maybe the White House is hoping that Democratic base voters and Independents seeing those ads forget that it was those congressional GOP and the Democratic president who slammed their futures with more NAFTAs.

Around the Web

President Barack Obama raises Nafta renegotiation with Canadian ...

Mexico not worried about Obama campaign pledge to renegotiate ...

Obama targets NAFTA but says supports free trade | Reuters

Nafta Looming Over Obama's Canada Trip - NYTimes.com

Tim Robertson: Obama's Free Trade Sleight of Hand

Obama's Free Trade Opportunity - WSJ.com

Obama's Balancing Act On Free Trade - CBS News

Obama and free trade: Appease big labor - The Washington Post