Unlike many people in her party, Charlene Barshefsky has an accurate and sensible view of trade issues and–fortunately for the rest of us–is not shy about sharing those views with the public. Of course, I hope that there is some private conversation going on as well–namely, conversation that entails Ambassador Barshefsky lobbying her fellow Democrats and beseeching them to recall that trade liberalization helped work wonders for the American economy and that the economy needs more liberalization, not less.
In particular, Ambassador Barshefsky could do worse than to lobby the presumptive Presidential nominee of her party regarding this issue. There are plenty of us who believe that if Barack Obama really does become President of the United States, he and the country would prosper by following a vibrant and intellectually sophisticated free trade policy, rather than the garden variety, antediluvian protectionist fare we have gotten all too often from the Obama campaign during the course of this election cycle.
Of course, if the Obama campaign continues to resist the advice given by the likes of Ambassador Barshefsky, they will engage in some of the strongest signaling behavior imaginable to warn voters that they should not cast their votes for the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee. And if voters don’t want to see the implementation of trade policies that will contract, rather than expand the economy, they will listen hard for such signaling and opt with their votes for free trade rather than Obama’s tired protectionist brand.