March 02, 2008 | Graham

Obama and Clinton, Smoot and Hawley

Many of my friends have been swept up by Obamamania. I’ve been listening to his speeches. They sound disturbingly isolationist and protectionist. Clinton is singing some of the same tune.
So far both are being carried by celebrity rather than substance, but I think it’s about time we started paying attention to the substance. All the evidence is that the world is going to take a hit because of loose US lending practices. The last thing we need on top of that is the US going all protectionist on us. That’s what did a lot of the damage in the Great Depression.
But maybe that’s not going to happen, because what happens in the primaries stays in the primaries, or something like that?
McCain’s starting to look good, but I’m interested in informed feedback on the candidates for US President and what they might do.

Posted by Graham at 8:46 pm | Comments (5) |


  1. relax. neither is likely to raise a red flag, worse luck. hrc will feel fulfilled if she only gets full health coverage for americans. since this will involve the insurance companies installing a direct conduit to the treasury, right wing types will whisper ‘socialism’ and buy shares.
    obama has been even less radical, so where’s the problem?
    isolationism? protectionism? if capitalism only works with an ‘outside’ to exploit, let’s find out as soon as possible. my own take on ‘capitalism’ is that it’s the ‘respectable’ word for looting the planet, and stealing from your neighbors.
    but maybe you’ll surprise me by demonstrating that capitalism is capable of underpinning a steady-state closed economy. better be true, because that’s the situation space-ship earth is heading for.

    Comment by al loomis — March 3, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  2. Despite some of the rhetoric being used, I have doubts that any of the major candidates would usher in a new era of protectionism in the United States. Having said that, I am not sure it is necessary a negative thing for the United States Government to be thinking carefully about the impacts of its free trade policies on those of its citizens who do not have bankable skills.

    Comment by Guy — March 4, 2008 @ 7:20 am

  3. Mixed Metaphors
    I read an animal metaphor recently on the Huffington Post for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. She’s the fox who knows lots of small things while he’s the hedgehog who knows just one big thing. The micro politician being upstaged by the macro one.
    My preferred metaphor is automotive.
    Hillary as the second-hand station wagon. Reliable. Lots of miles on the clock and lots of baggage. And a passenger who used to do all the driving.
    Barack is a brand new Four Wheel Drive/SUV. Low miles, in fact hardly run-in. Plenty of room for all those who want to get on board. Video display, GPS, good vision all round. Yet to go off road.
    there’s more on my blog.

    Comment by Kevin Rennie — March 4, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  4. Graham, lots of candidates preach the “ultra-protectionist” populist line, but change in office.
    With Obama, I think more “Where’s the beef?” – I saw one of his speeches on Rush Limbaugh’s site and Rush was bagging it as waffle. It was all generalities, but it the sort of stuff (like Reagan) that is hard to knock without being accused of being “Unamerican”.
    I think Americans don’t vote for President on policies, more on the “feel-good” factor, and Obama is winning that race.
    I still think McCain may yet trump him – the Republicans have put up the only candidate who could beat him.

    Comment by Rocket — March 4, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

  5. We now know that Obama has been lying, or at least an aide has told the Canadians that he is lying, about his trade policies:
    That doesn’t make me anymore relaxed.
    Someone is going to be dudded by Obama, I wonder who?

    Comment by Graham Young — March 9, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

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