Monday, August 18, 2003

Dubya's administration favors free trade and a flexible workforce -- except when the workers in a protected industry are the swing votes in a key state. Witness the textile tariffs it imposed as naked pandering to textile workers in the Carolinas. In short, on this issue, Dubya's making the Clinton administration, which went against the unions in its trade policy, look like a bastion of principle.

How could that get more pathetic? When the pandering doesn't work:

Lynn Mayson is an unemployed machine operator here. Roger Chastain is president of a textile company. While they travel in distinctively different circles, they have quite a bit in common.

Both are Republicans. Both were part of the Solid South vote that helped George W. Bush win the White House in 2000. And, now, both say they are angry enough about job losses in the region to vote for someone else in 2004.

"Something's got to give," said Ms. Mayson, a mother of three, as she left a state-run jobs center the other day. "I'm not going to vote for Bush unless things change. The economy has got to get better, and it's only going to do that if someone makes something happen."

Mr. Chastain, whose company, Mount Vernon Mills, has laid off 1,000 workers in recent years, is part of a coalition of textile executives who have formally complained to the White House about trade practices they contend are driving Americans out of jobs and manufacturers out of business, while giving huge advantages to China and other countries.

... trade practices which include breaking an agreement with Pakistan, a supposedly important ally in the War on Terra, in order to benefit the textile workers. Sad all around.


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