Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Premises, Premises

I think this Daily Caller headline ("Romney Supports, Opposes Free Trade with China") and story assume a bit much:

One day before the all-important Iowa caucuses, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues refusing to clarify his position on free trade with China.

In his 2010 book “No Apology: The case for American Greatness,” Romney argued against protectionism, an ideology that favors tariffs, quotas and other restrictions placed on international trade.

“Personally, I don’t like to see America lose any good jobs,” Romney wrote. “But when I see an American company challenged by a foreign competitor, I don’t look for protectionist policies as an answer to the company’s problems. Instead, I look to see how that company can become competitive once more, drive off its foreign foe, and propel its own products into foreign markets.”

But during the 2012 presidential campaign, Romney has taken the opposite position.

During an Oct. 24 radio interview with the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, for instance, Romney promised that on “day one” of his presidency he would impose new tariffs on trade with China, and classify the nation as a “currency manipulator.”

“At some point, you’ve got to stand up for your rights and say ‘these people are cheating,” Romney told Hannity. “They’re killing certain industries. This just can’t go on forever. It’s simply unacceptable.”

There's only a contradiction here if you believe that the current trade relationship with the People's Republic of China is one of market-based free trade---a contested assumption to say the least. On a related note, David Frum suggests that there may be more depth than mere pandering to Romney's position on the People's Republic of China.

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