Tuesday, April 08, 2008

For It before She Was Against It

George Will writes that Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn's downfall resulted from him "doing something sensible, surreptitiously." The public silliness of national Democrats on free trade explains, but only partly, the contortions of Mr. Penn's former boss on the issue. Mr. Will explains:

Penn's actual beliefs about free trade, whatever they are, pro or con, certainly accord either with those that Clinton holds now or with those that she held back in the 1990s, when she was in the White House's East Wing acquiring the semi-demi-quasi-presidential experience that makes her just the person to answer the red telephone that, judging by her campaign ads, rings constantly in the West Wing.

She favored the North American Free Trade Agreement until she opposed it: She favored it back when she was a Cub fan, before she imagined being senator from New York and discovered, or remembered, that she had always been a Yankee fan. She opposes NAFTA and the Colombia agreement now that she is a presidential candidate, but her views might change again in a few weeks, when her status does.

The columnist also points out that Mr. Obama's free trade pronouncements are, alas, no better.

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