One of the most obvious and most important developments of this jaw-dropping presidential campaign so far has been put succinctly by conservative talk-show host and Lifezette.com editor-in-chief Laura Ingraham: “Bushism is over.”
So now that even Republican and conservative voters have decisively rejected the politics and policies of the two Presidents Bush, who does the Wall Street Journal editorial board trot out to make the case for the new Pacific Rim trade deal Congress may soon consider? Archetypical Bush-ie Robert B. Zoellick.
But the choice of Zoellick isn’t only weird politically. It’s weird substantively. For although Zoellick’s government posts include serving as U.S. Trade Representative under George W. Bush, it’s hard to find the evidence that he knows anything about crafting trade policies that strengthen America’s economy, or about the theme of his May 16 article – the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) alleged potential to help respond to national security challenges posed by China in the Asia-Pacific region.
After all, when it comes to trade policy generally speaking, Zoellick is the fellow who:
>during his four-year trade negotiating (2001 through 2004) stint saw the U.S. overall trade deficit shoot up by more than 56 percent;
>during his USTR tenure saw the U.S. non-oil goods deficit – the portion of American trade flows most heavily influenced by policy – jump by more than 48 percent;
>pushed a Doha Round global trade agreement expressly designed to benefit developing countries more than the United States; and
>established as his highest sub-global trade liberalization priority a deal with Central American and Caribbean countries whose total economies were no bigger than that of New Haven, Connecticut.
Nor can anyone call legitimately Zoellick’s foreign policy chops impressive, especially regarding China. He’s the fellow who:
>thought it was realistic to turn China into a “responsible stakeholder” in world affairs and the global economy;
>during his stint as chief U.S. trade policymaker, saw the United States transfer more than $472 billion in wealth to China in the form of cumulative trade deficits, which of course contributed to China’s economic and military strength;
>has said nothing about massive transfers to China of defense and cyber-security-related technology by U.S. multinational companies either while he served in George W. Bush’s administration or since then.
Zoellick’s article helps explain why American voters’ decision to kill off Bush-ism was amply justified. Its publication, however, shows that Bush-ism’s fatal flaws are still news to one of the nation’s major news organizations.