Support the CAFTA 15
More and more I am coming to believe that the left-flank of the Democratic Party wants to turn their party into a very small, but ideologically pure political group. The latest proof? The calls for the 15 Democrats who supported CAFTA to be punished.
The influential labor blog, Working Life initiated the call which has been taken up by others such as the liberal magazine The Nation.
This is an inane idea. First of all, Democrats were once, just a decade ago, a fairly strong pro-free trade party (102 Democratic representatives voted for NAFTA which was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton). These 15 Democratic CAFTA supporters can hardly be considered out-of-line because they refused to join their party’s leftward drift (although, really, there’s nothing all that “liberal” about protectionism—but protectionsim does go against Bush’s wishes, so I suspect that was good enough reason for many to vote against CAFTA).
What’s the theory here? That all free-trade Democrats should be purged? Certainly there are very legitimate disagreements about free trade. They exist in the Republican Party too. But since when are Democrats exclusively the party of protectionists? Since the far left seized hold of the party, I guess.
Well, I for one refuse to believe there is no room for free-trade leaders in the Democratic Party—particularly since free trade and Centrist ideals tend to go hand-in-hand. So, I say support the CAFTA 15.
Here are their names and contact numbers which I lifted right off the Working Life post. But instead of condemning them, call them and let them know that it’s o.k. to be a Democrat and pro-free trade. And if you support CAFTA, thank them for their vote while you’re at it.
Melissa Bean, Illinois (8th District): 202-225-3711
Jim Cooper, Tennessee (5th District): 202-225-4311
Norm Dicks, Washington (6th District) 202-255-5916
Henry Cuellar, Texas (15th District) 202-225-1640
Ruben Hinojosa, Texas (15th District) 202-255-2531
William Jefferson, Louisiana (2nd District) 202-255-6636
Jim Matheson, Utah (2nd District) 202-255-3011
Gregory Meeks, New York (6th District) 202-225-3461
Dennis Moore, Kansas (3rd District) 202-225-2865
Jim Morgan, Virginia (8th District) 202-225-4376
Solomon Ortiz, Texas (27th District) 202-225-7742
Ike Skelton, Missouri (4th District) 202-225-2876
Vic Snyder, Arkansas (2nd District) 202-225-2506
John Tanner, Tennessee (8th District) 202-225-4714
Edolphus Towns, New York (10th District) 202-225-5936