I don’t watch much TV these days,* but when I do, it’s C-SPAN…2.
Well, not by choice, but I got home the other day and was in the mood for distraction. We don’t have many channels here over the air, but C-SPAN is one of the few that doesn’t make me feel like I’m purposely churning my brain into mush, but I might have to question that assumption after watching about forty minutes of Buddy Roemer rant about China, the sleeping bear that has come to steal our American honey.
As you know (jk), Buddy Roemer is a fringe presidential candidate whose claim to fame (according to him) is that he served as both a governor and as a Congressman. He’s also pushing hard for campaign finance reform, a laudable goal surely, and has promised to limit all contributions to $100–something easier said and done when you don’t have donors banging down your door to give you money.
That said, he seems like a decent guy with a modicum of integrity, even if he plays the usual GOP-blame-the-prez-populist shtick though. He’s no wacko, but he sure as hell isn’t electable at all–he’s just too small town. But more interestingly, he confronts straight on the contradiction that is China–for a Republican, what is one to do? Wave the American flag and decry the baddies across the ocean for stealing our jobs? Or be the Good Friedmanite and applaud free market for doing what they’re supposed to. What to do?!?!
Roemer goes for door number 2 and it is not pretty. The arguments are specious to say the least, but rather than outline them, you can watch them below in the full, edited 2 hour speech and Q&A session he provides in front of a few reporters (wow, New Zealand, you guys have some kind of foreign reporting corps!) and a Falun Gong protester.
Ha, just kidding, you’re not going to actually watch it, it’s a 2 hour rant by a politician who has less name recognition than most celebrities’ pets. But some quick notes:
- including Japan with China and India as places that exploit workers with unfair wages? I hope that was a brain fart and not actually something he believes, because if not, then we have some serious questioning of what kind of ethical standards he expects from nations.
- Fair trade adjustment… uh, what’s the difference between that and a tariff?
- He kinda ducks that question about labor practices in the US pretty well huh?
And finally, while doing this googling for the past hour, stumbled on the provocatively named Death By China, a blog that is all over the place with regards to indicting China for unfair trade (leading to impending world doom). After reading the over-the-top book description, let’s just say I was a bit surprised to realize that the authors of the book (though not the blog, that’s written by the co-author) is a seemingly well-respected Econ and busines school professor at that neoconservative hotbed (joke) UC Irvine. Though I do admit the description of the book on his personal website is tempered down quite a bit, so maybe the book is less of a polemic than it appears to be. But then again, there’s this hilariously un-nuanced video by the other co-author:
Hai Death by China gaiz, vid needs more slow zoom in on nukes! And blood. K, thx!
*Because of this stack of books that I have sitting here on my nightstand. I can hear them accusing me each night before I sleep, “You don’t know anything yet you dolt. You haven’t even read me!” And then I sleep fitfully, their voices growing louder and louder until I wake up in a panicked start, crack open one at random, and glaze over the words before drifting off again.
I should just burn them. That’d shut them up.