I know that the debate on TPA is pretty heated, here on Red State, on the right-of-center blogosphere generally, as well as in DC itself.
Much of the conservative opposition to TPA is grounded in a well deserved distrust of President Obama. In particular, there are concerns that any trade agreements will have immigration and/or environmental provisions in it that will be added to the mix, and receive favorable treatment due to a desire to enact the broader trade package. While I don’t share than sentiment, I do understand it.
My questions for people with that viewpoint are the following:
(1) Did you support NAFTA back in the 90’s?
(2) Do you support NAFTA now? My suspicion is that many former supporters of NAFTA consider it to have been a failure.
(3) If a Republican President were in office now, would you oppose the TPA?
(4) If [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] were President now, would you oppose the TPA?
My suspicion is that in the vast majority of instances, the support for trade deals like NAFTA in the conservative community is much lower now than it was in the 90’s. Part of this might have to do with the economy. Part of this might relate to the whole establishment vs. people battle lines that didn’t appear in our discourse back in the 90’s.
My curiosity is genuine. My sense is that global commerce is definitely on the outs in terms of the self-identified conservative grass roots.
UPDATE [June 21, 2015]. This story pretty much confirms something I had not realized until the TPA debate–the tea party is against free trade deals. Take Obama out of the equation, and they oppose such deals in overwhelming numbers. There are some items of concern, it that many tea party positions seem contrary to free markets. If the polling data cited in the article is correct, the tea party is very much in the Pat Buchanan school of economics.
A Pew Research Center poll for November 4-7, 2010 reported that 63% of professed Tea Party supporters thought that free trade agreements were “bad for U.S.” The Mellman Group and the Alliance for American Manufacturing reported that their poll indicated that 74 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters would support a “national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, labor, and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States.” This poll also revealed that 92% of Tea Party supporters wanted to protect US manufacturing, while 56% supported tariffs on goods from countries with low environmental standards.