As someone who didn’t support Obama (I supported the true progressive Cynthia McKinney not the say anything do anything to get elected fast talking phony from Chicago), I have to look for some Pyrrhic victory, some sort of silver lining in the U.S. presidential election. And I think it’s the wholehearted, and thorough rejection of the hairbrained theories of the extreme right-wing school of laissez faire economic kool aid drinkers. I want to extend a great deal of thanks and gratitude to Alan Greenspan, Phil Gramm, George W. Bush, Ken Lay, Milton Friedman, and all the others that made this near wholesale eradication of the Republican party that we witnessed in today’s election possible. In saying that, I’d be remiss not to mention the gigantic elephant that’s still alive and well in the living room, however. Which is the key component of right-wing economic orthodoxy that the Democrats have embraced nearly as enthusiastically as the Republicans; and that is, of course, the steadfast and nearly unyielding belief in free trade economics.
I watched a speech that Obama gave the other day while campaigning, and I watched as the incredibly enthusiastic crowd that he was speaking in front of, went silent when he mentioned his support of free trade. Only when he gave the usual lip service that he gives to enforcing environmental and worker standards (which mean nothing in the context of corporate ‘free’ trade agreements) did the crowd rise back to the level it had been at before he had announced his fervent support for free trading. Barack Obama, your mandate is clear, the wholesale rejection of Milton Friedman, the Chicago School of Economics, and the economic policies of the Republican Party post-Richard Nixon. Will you remove the final piece of the Democratic Party’s support for such disreputable policies, and renounce free trade economic views utterly, wholeheartedly and completely? Will you embrace protectionist policies that will work better for American workers, than the last standing Utopian prescription (prescriptions that have failed completely in all other areas) of the free market radical economic pill pushers?