Tina K. Russell

April 10, 2008

Block the Vote

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 10:32 pm

House Puts Off Vote on Trade Agreement – New York Times

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House, in an election-year showdown with the White House, on Thursday effectively denied President Bush a vote any time soon on a free trade agreement with Colombia, a key South American ally.

Oh, come on. If we’re going to get all uppity–and remain on our moral high ground–when Bush and Co. use the good old cloakroom hold to block a vote on a crucial issue, we need to save our blocks for when it’s very important… we need to save our political capital for pressing issues of freedom and security, not penny-ante trade deals that, secretly, nobody cares about.

But I care, because I like the US having an ally in Latin America. Does that make me a free-market fundamentalist? No! But, I don’t think that the Democrats ought to fall into the same xenophobic, protectionist patterns we always (rightly) criticize the Republicans for. You think we have it bad here? Check out Columbia, where they could really use freer trade with the United States.

Sure, sure, we could add stipulations making sure human rights and such–and the country’s sovreignty, which must not be for sale–are looked after. But now, the issue has been junked, and Pelosi has decided to return to partisan gridlock. Newt Gingrich taught us all that, if you’re going to bring the government to a halt, you’d better have a damn good reason because people will percieve it as a cynical ploy that’s preventing things from being done. Now, with an important civil liberties fight (telecom immunity… which is utter, complete crap and the Democrats ought to join a bike-chain human barrier against it if they know what’s good for them… and the Republicans, too, who ought to be against big government snooping) coming up, the Democrats will have much less energy and capital if they want to push their slim majority for the side of good.

Arrrgh. This is our first big political scuttling in the Senate? Usually, I’m a fairly big defender of the two-party system (basically: if you don’t like it, try one party, which is what we’ll get if you don’t vote). But for some reason, our own legislators are stuck in the trap that if you’re a liberal, you must not like trade. I’m in favor of free trade and human rights. Quelle shock! Clearly, I don’t exist.

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