Roger L. Simon

Ideology again - Who's on first?

Sitting here on the Amtrak train DC-NY, I had a laugh reading an oped in the NYT – Grand Old Protectionists – by Robert E. Lighthizer, a trade attorney and, apparently, a conservative. Besides doing the obvious – reminding us that, until November, the NYT will be an open dumping ground for conservatives with something bad to say about McCain – it was a marvelous exemplar of my article in Pajamas yesterday – Is Liberal the New Conservative? What Lighthizer tries to do is prove that free trade is a liberal, not a conservative position. [Isn’t he a trade attorney?-ed. Doesn’t he make money off restrictions in trade? Shhh….] He does this by cherry-picking quotes from famous conservatives in opposition to free trade. Of course, as anyone knows, he could probably find plenty of quotes from conservatives saying free trade is a good thing. Even Lighthizer refers to one mysterious “writer in National Review” but doesn’t deign to give the name. No surprise there. He might be someone respected. What the oped doesn’t contain, of course, is any argument about whether free trade is or is not a good thing. He just waves the word “conservative” around. More ideological baloney.