Some insider, insider, insider scuttlebutt on Dean's trade policies from Chris Nelson in this evening's Nelson Report
12. With the endorsement by former VP Al Gore, Howard Dean's chances of being the Democrat's presidential nominee are looking increasingly realistic. That means we all have to start looking at his policy pronouncements for substance, and not just as political maneuverings.
-- a friend attended a small, very private fundraiser for Dean recentlyâ¦and despite going in fairly skeptical about Dean on substantive grounds, came away impressed on several levels.
13. Our friend asked Dean two trade related questions: first, would Dean have made a different decision on the steel 201's? (Yesâ¦he would have kept them in place); and how does Dean see the issue of managing U.S.-China trade problems. (That's more complicated.)
-- "Dean gave a long, actually somewhat over-long answer, but one which clearly showed he had thought this all through, and wasn't just reciting staff-generated talking points," our friend reports.
14. Dean said that he would have kept the steel 201's in place, and that he will support a tougher trade enforcement stance on China, and other U.S. trading partners, not to raise barriers in the U.S., but to encourage China and other, lesser developed trading partners to "raise their standards".
-- Dean said that he originally supported NAFTA and China's WTO membership precisely because he feels that, in the long run, free trade "helps create a middle class", and that, "eventually" it will in both Mexico and China. The problem for now, which is to say, the problem for the political process, is that "the U.S. has not got time to wait" due to the trade deficit, and job losses which will never be replaced by adequately paying employment.
15. Dean made a point of saying that he often talks about all this with Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and claimed that he and Rubin "are on the same page" about U.S. economic and trade policy, at least in terms of "how to get there."
-- our friend, an experienced financial and political observer, came away "frankly impressed" that Dean "can position himself well to take advantage of Bush on the 201's, and to address the job loss issue."
16. Stylistically, our friend said, "Dean is very, very intense", which sometimes is risky for TV, but that if Dean can keep his temper under control, "he seems likely to be able to reach out to 'emotional moderates' who are dissatisfied with Bush and worried about the future".
-- as to worries that Dean is "another McGovern", our friend noted recent polls showing that whereas McGovern was very unpopular with lots of Democrats, Bush is just as unpopular, now, with many Democrats. The pointâ¦cross-over voting by Democrats in 2004 is not likely to hurt Dean, as it killed McGovern in 1972â¦.and current polls show that Bush is close to even with leading Dems.
No comment from me. Just passing it along ...