Words

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 8, 2011

I am not going to do a point-by-point on the President’s speech; the hour is late, and your humble blogger is tired. I am going to note the following from the speech however:

So, some things we can do on our own. Other steps will require congressional action. Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. (Applause.) If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. (Applause.) I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words: “Made in America.” That’s what we need to get done. (Applause.)

Any Administration worth its salt that is serious about trade and trade policy would make sure that the Senate leader from that Administration’s party is doing all he can do in order to speed through trade agreements. And yet, instead of working to speed through trade agreements, Harry Reid is working to slow them down. And for what? To protect Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, which do not work.

Really, it takes a remarkable amount of chutzpah for an Administration that has been so consistently bad on trade policy to act as though it is the very best thing to have ever happened to free trade. I have to wonder how it was that the President was able to deliver this portion of his speech without breaking into laughter.

This wasn’t a serious policy speech, of course. Rather, it was a campaign speech, and as campaign speeches go, it was effective. But like past speeches given by this President, I expect this one to give Barack Obama only a temporary boost, politically. At the end of the day if the unemployment number doesn’t move down, and if Republicans don’t suddenly decide to throw the election, all of the words in the world won’t do anything to help salvage the President’s political standing.

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