Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
Is James Webb the Best Candidate in the Democratic Field?
The Democratic and Republican primary electoral campaigns are as yet in their early stages as candidates maneuver for early voter support and initial financial backing. The field remains fluid in both parties.
On the Democratic side, Clinton is clearly the dominant candidate, with a majority of Democrats polled backing her candidacy in recent polling. But Clinton's lead is eroding as voters begin to consider the broader field.
In that broader field one of the more quixotic candidates, James Webb, deserves a close look by Democratic primary voters. Webb offers foreign policy vision. He understood the strategic blunder that the invasion of Iraq was and warned of it in advance. He also has long been calling for a sensible policy versus China. In a 1998 op-ed Webb wrote:
"For more than a decade many concerned observers have warned of the dangers in reaching a one-sided rapprochement with China. Invariably, such trepidations have been minimized by “pragmatic” political voices, or shouted down by business leaders who were seduced by China’s vast potential market only to become hostages should our policies toward that country turn more confrontational.
"The past several years have seen an acceleration of this willing self-deception. The Clinton Administration, buttressed by endorsements from former Republican officials, speaks wanly of a strategic partnership with China. Our crucial alliance with Japan has been strained. Our position in the rest of Asia is being undermined as we shift longstanding trade patterns away from countries with strong preferences for the free market and democracy in favor of China."
The Washington Post endorsed Webb's opponent in the 2006 VA Democratic primaries in part because "Mr. Webb's somewhat strident populism on trade policy tends toward xenophobic sloganeering and business-bashing."
More recently, Webb has come out strongly against China's intellectual property grabs. http://www.idealtaxes.com/post3449.shtml
The failures of the Clinton policy toward China were significant and continue to cost millions of American jobs, along with significant foreign policy costs around the world. Hopefully a strong Webb candidacy could help push Clinton to take forceful positions on trade. If Webb comes out strongly for balanced trade with China he will deserve support in the Democratic primaries.
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