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February 22, 2008

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Maybe he reads Rodrik's blog...
http://rodrik.typepad.com/dani_rodriks_weblog/2008/02/ok-now-obama-ha.html

I don't think the plagiarism tack has legs: it was a "boo" line after all.

The Afghanistan story might, but I thought it would be for a different reason. In recounting it, Obama sounded like an intelligent man discussing an unfamiliar subject -- you'll note he nearly said "brigade" instead of "platoon" -- and so many people in this country make a fetish of the military and its might. *Eisenhower* spotted this.

Instead, we see immediate attacks on the veracity of the story, including one from the thoroughly politicized Office of Public Affairs of the Pentagon.

It's a little like the Wicked Witch of the West directing her swarms of flying monkeys to attack Dorothy and Toto, except (people forget this) the flying monkeys were decent at heart.

It will be interesting to see whether Obama's grassroots supporters will be able to counterpunch the choirboys of the mighty Wurlitzer. There are, after all, many more of the former than there are of the latter.

Hey Noel,

Quick question; how seriously should I be taking Obama's anti-Nafta comments?

Very seriously.

Now, on one hand the campaign has been deliberately vague about NAFTA. There's a reason for that: the proposed changes are all motherhood changes. That is, they commit the Mexican government to doing what its own voters are making it do anyway.

In other words, don't dismiss the campaign rhetoric as hot air ... but if the campaign makes the changes that it wants to make, then the agreement will stand with no substantive changes.

But there are two risks.

The first is that unless an Obama administration is very good about consulting with its Mexican counterparts, there will be a significant risk of having /Mexican/ special interests hijack the process. (This is much less of a worry on the Canadian side.) Next thing you know, we're renegotiating the entire agricultural chapter.

The second is that NAFTA's investor protections could be dismantled. The tribunals are the left-wing equivalent of black helicopters, and so there's a risk of left-wingers on our side hijacking the agenda to abolish them.

I don't like it. I also don't see how a Democrat can be elected without playing this game.

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