I’ve been playing around with a couple of videos that spotlight the rather amazing shift in Barack Obama’s NAFTA stance since debating Hillary Clinton almost exactly a year ago. Rather than put it in an update to the earlier post, I decided to let this roll on its own. In the first part, we see Obama’s response at his Canadian press conference with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, declaiming against the danger of sending “signals of protectionism,” when a year ago he practically set the stage on fire to send smoke signals that could be seen from Mexico City and Ottawa:
But this really doesn’t capture the full measure of dishonesty in Obama’s NAFTA Dance. In that debate on February 26th, 2008, Obama slammed Hillary Clinton for not being extreme enough in demanding unilateral changes or withdrawal from NAFTA:
SEN. OBAMA: I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton’s answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.
That is something that I have been consistent about. I have to say, Tim, with respect to my position on this, when I ran for the United States Senate, the Chicago Tribune, which was adamantly pro-NAFTA, noted that, in their endorsement of me, they were endorsing me despite my strong opposition to NAFTA.
Renegotiation in six months? Words. Just words. I’m happy this pledge has hit its expiration date, but the people who actually swallowed this populist claptrap may have a different opinion.