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CAFTA on the edge because of the South

Republican Sue Myrick of Charlotte will vote for CAFTA, but she’s worried about fallout on her possible gubernatorial aspirations. Boo-hoo; The Hammer is cocky that it will pass.

Whoever advised Bush that the Central American Free Trade Agreement would be an easy sell in Red Southern states is a politically tone-deaf dolt. Support for CAFTA, despite the Bush roadshow (including a pathetic trip to the Tar Heel State), is flagging, but as Chris Kromm at Facing South notes, Tom DeLay is pumping up the troops, and southern votes will make the difference.

As Congress gears up for a vote tonight on the Central American Free Trade Agreement — and Texas Rep. Tom DeLay promising a win — the heart of the fight is in the U.S. South. As the Raleigh News & Observer reported on Monday, the region just isn’t going for it:

The lack of support [for CAFTA] in the GOP-leaning textile belt, the industrial area that stretches across the Piedmont from Virginia to Alabama, is a major reason the administration is having difficulty collecting enough votes in the House for CAFTA to pass.

For example, listen to the words of Rep. Walter “Freedom Fries” Jones (R-NC), who despite Bush’s pro-CAFTA photo op in NC this month is standing strong in his anti-corporate trade deal stance:

In a press conference yesterday on Capitol Hill, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones joined Republican Members of Congress to speak out against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

“CAFTA is not going to help the people of Central America, and it certainly won’t help those American workers who will lose their jobs,” Jones said. “If CAFTA becomes the law of the land, this country is setting itself up to become a second-rate manufacturing country.”

“The American people are looking to us—Republicans and Democrats—to draw the line in the sand and save American jobs,” Jones said.

The rest of North Carolina’s Congressional bipartisan delegation is similarly skeptical. As the N&O; reported, “Bush can count on the vote of only one of North Carolina’s 13 members of Congress — Republican Sue Myrick of Charlotte — to ratify the trade agreement” — and there’s even talk that she’s sweating the political fallout.

Ha ha ha ha. Sue Myrick!? If she’s thinking of running for governor (something the Repugs here are floating), a yes vote on CAFTA will tank that. Hoo-boy, is she a moron.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding