Media Elitists Aren’t Championing 15 Mavericks’ Vote For CAFTA
Lee P. Butler
After a forty minute delay, the final vote tally came in and it was announced that the House of Representatives
had followed the lead of their Senate counterparts and passed the Central America Free Trade Agreement by a vote total of
217 to 215.
One ‘nay’ vote that was cast by Republican Representative from Brevard, North Carolina, Charles
Taylor, was not registered because of a supposed error in the voting machine, which would have made the vote total one vote
closer to defeat.
It didn’t take long before the media were pooh-poohing the passage of CAFTA and castigating
every Republican who voted for the legislation, specifically those who represent a district that has ties to the textile industry.
Bush administration had been working feverishly to gather enough votes in the House to pass the free trade legislation that
would remove tariffs on American exports and open the market for American companies to do more business with the region.
so many Congressmen represent districts that have been hard hit by the reduction in textile manufacturing that has been almost
exclusively blamed on the passage of NAFTA legislation during the Clinton administration; it was a hard sell.
NAFTA has been, by every other measure, an overwhelming success, it also carries the burden of textile job losses, specifically
in the South. The media has done it’s anti-capitalist best and followed Democrat talking points used against Republicans
to demonize free trade as being the sole proprietor of those job losses.
Rarely, if ever, do they write about the other
myriad of factors that contributed even more to those lost jobs than NAFTA, such as, the economic recession that started toward
the end of the Clinton administration and completely fell out in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy.
Add to that the overwhelming
cost, for some companies, associated with compliance of governmental regulation issued by the EPA and OSHA. Plus the two biggest
job killers in America: unions and high taxation.
So politicians who want to do an effective job for the constituents
of their respective districts not only have to make decisions based on what they feel is the best legislation for progress
going into the future, but also media elitists whose intention is to use their bully-pulpit of the press to sway public opinion
and dictate the course of legislation in the direction of their choosing.
Such was the case for CAFTA. Leading up to
the eventual vote on the legislation in the House, the media had steadily attacked the Republican Senators who had already
passed the legislation in their chamber, and the closer the House vote came, the more their attacks were turned towards Republican
Opinion pieces denigrating CAFTA and stories about families who had lost jobs were written by ‘unbiased’
reporters who proclaimed it was because of NAFTA and nothing else... and besides, CAFTA rhymes with NAFTA.
to their scare tactics, passing CAFTA will destroy the American economy and put millions of families out of work, why just
look at the damage NAFTA has caused, with the unemployment rate at five percent and that includes all the illegal aliens who
have taken American jobs... wait a minute!
One Republican Representative, District Eight Rep. Robin Hayes from North
Carolina, has really taken a beating by the media from Washington to his district because he switched his vote after some
last minute wheeling and dealing.
The media, once again led by Democrats, labeled him a ‘flip-flopper’,
despite the fact that flip-floppers are politicians who change their votes for no other reason but to benefit themselves and
no one else. Rep. Hayes, on the other hand, secured several things; mostly for his district, in the process.
assurances for federal assistance based on the needs of his district, an agreement with Nicaragua for as much as a 200 percent
increase of American fabric usage in trouser exports, and pushed for legislation to force China to maintain it’s current
trade agreements. The House also passed the U.S. Trade Rights Enforcement Act, which did that very thing.
astonishing thing also happened. Reportedly, Rep. Hayes got a call from the president of Tuscarora Yarns, Peter Hegarty, who
wanted him to vote in favor of CAFTA. That’s right, several members of the textile community, who media elitists against
CAFTA couldn’t find before the vote, wanted CAFTA to pass.
Why? Because in 2004 North Carolina exports to Central
America totaled $1.7 billion, the third largest behind Florida and Texas and without the tariffs will lead to more trade with
the U.S. where companies here will be able to compete with Asia, especially in garment manufacturing.
Besides the fact
that it will open the door to more trade for farmers and food processors, while at the same time lowering the costs of many
products purchased by Americans.
But the media disregards all those things, because two other groups also oppose the
CAFTA legislation: Democrats and the Unions that fill their campaign coffers.
The presidents of 20 unions from across
the country contributed to a letter that threatened retaliation for Democrats who vote for CAFTA, writing, “We cannot
and we will not give any Democrat a pass on CAFTA.”
While the media was attacking Republicans for their support
of CAFTA, the end of the world legislation the Charlotte Observer admitted, “as trade pacts go, it’s a small deal,
and it contains both costs and benefits,” they never once talked about the 15 Democrats who also voted for it.
those 15 mavericks, the votes of Republican Representatives Robin Hayes and South Carolina’s Joe Wilson would never
have mattered in the end. The union bosses told the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee point blank, “Our work
to help elect at-risk members (Democrats), at your urging, will not extend to those who vote against us on this issue.”
weeks ago, media elitists were championing mavericks who stepped outside party politics to do what they thought was the right
thing to do. Now, they are deathly silent about the 15 maverick Democrats who voted in favor of the people in their districts,
despite the threats of unions and Democrat leaders.
When John McCain (R-Ari) or any other Republican votes against
the wishes of their party, they are lauded by media elitists as mavericks and people who can think for themselves. Why aren’t
those same media elitists championing these 15 mavericks in the same manner?