Thursday, April 24, 2008

Knollenberg Changing His Tune on Trade. Must Be an Election Year

Joe Knollenberg has been a reliable vote for all of our free trade agreements. Yet now that he has a stiff challenge from Gary Peters, he may be trying to change his tune on trade, realizing that in these times of recession, voters may not be so happy that he's consistently voted to send American jobs overseas to countries with low cost labor. That doesn't sound like Joe Knollenberg is interested in protecting good paying American jobs.

In an article from Thursday's Detroit Free Press, here's what Knollenberg's spokesperson had to say.

So steady is the drumbeat of anti-trade invective that even U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, a Republican from Oakland County who voted for NAFTA and other free trade deals, may oppose the Korean accord if a vote comes.

Knollenberg spokesman Nate Bailey said key elements of the Korea pact -- big reductions in Korean duties on imports of U.S. beef, oranges, cars and trucks in exchange for elimination of the fairly tiny 2.5% U.S. tariff on cars -- look good. But he said Knollenberg is worried about enforcement of the pact.

What Bailey didn't say, and didn't have to, is that Knollenberg represents a district with a lot of auto industry workers and companies going through hard times. And even as a Republican who doesn't normally feel compelled to genuflect to the UAW on trade matters, Knollenberg is savvy enough to know that most Americans -- rightly or wrongly -- link job losses in manufacturing to globalization and to free trade.

Here's Joe's record on previous free trade agreements.

YES on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements: Strongly Favors topic 13
YES on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China: Strongly Favors topic 13
NO on withdrawing from the WTO: Strongly Favors topic 13
YES on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement: Strongly Favors topic 13
YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile: Strongly Favors topic 13
YES on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement: Favors topic 13
YES on end offshore tax havens and promote small business: Opposes topic 13
YES on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade: Strongly Favors topic 13
YES on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization: Opposes topic 13
YES on promoting free trade with Peru: Favors topic 13

It looks to me like Joe Knollenberg is having an election year conversion.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Too little, too late. Joe's actions show a lack of comprehension. If his house caught on fire, what would he do, wait till it almost burns to the ground before calling the fire department?