02/12/2008 11:15 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama (Finally) Putting Attack On NAFTA Front and Center?

From Barack Obama's victory speech tonight:

"It's a game where trade deals, like NAFTA, ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wages at the local fast-food joint or at Wal-Mart. It's what happens when the American worker doesn't have a voice at the negotiating table, when leaders change their positions on trade with the politics of the moment, and that is why we need a president who will listen not just to Wall Street, but to Main Street, a president who will stand with workers not just when it's easy, but when it's hard, and that's the kind of president I intend to be when I'm president of the United States of America."

I've been troubled by some of Obama's votes on trade, and I"ve made no bones about that. But this rhetoric is encouraging.

As I have written, it's good politics for Obama to put our lobbyist-written trade policy on trial in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania. But that' s not why I am encouraged. I am encouraged because it is good for the country for a major candidate to put this issue at the center of the debate in the stretch run of the nominating process.

Since Edwards left the race, we haven't had anyone really focusing on this issue on the Democratic side. But it looks like that may be changing. And whoever you are for in this race, if you are a progressive, you will agree that's a good thing, indeed. With polls showing Americans are desperate for a departure from our current trade policy, getting this issue into the debate is an important step.