The Democratic devolution continues

Over the past 40 years, the Democrats have abandoned nearly all of the principles for which they stood when they were a great political party – strong defense, anti-totalitarianism, non-discrimination with respect to race (embraced by the non-southern wings of the party at least), economic growth through tax cuts, etc. By the 1990s about all that remained was support for free trade. Former President Clinton deserves great credit for defending this principle, as does Al Gore for decisively out-debating Ross Perot on the subject.
Now, however, the Democrats have abandoned free trade too. As this Washington Times editorial points out, CAFTA (it stands for the Central American Free Trade Agreement) passed the Senate with the support of only 10 Democrats. All four of the Democratic Senators who are frequently mentioned as presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Evan Bayh — voted no. Kerry and Biden had been long-time supporters of free trade and, as noted Clinton’s husband was an enthusiastic free-trader.
Twelve Republicans voted no. A majority of them came from sugar-producing states (Central America, of course, produces lots of sugar). Norm Coleman from the sugar-producing state of Minnesota served the interests of both his constituents and his country by insisting on concessions for sugar and then voting for CAFTA (full disclosure — my daughter is interning for Senator Coleman this summer).


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