Sunday, March 20, 2005

Complaints around Portman 

While I support the nomination of Rob Portman to U.S. trade representative, I do have a number of complaints around the issue that are really minor details, but must be pointed out.

First, while Portman was racking up 70-30 vote margins in the second district, he could have done more to control congressional spending than he did as noted here, here and here. His colleague, Steve Chabot has racked up better ratings from various conservative groups despite being in a tighter congressional district.

One other minor point about the coverage surrounding the nomination is the use of all of the reports and this editorial by the Cincinnati Post of the SAME LINE:
Like Bush, he's a strong defender of open markets and free trade, somewhat unusual for a lawmaker from an industrial state that has lost thousands of jobs to firms overseas

The problems with this line are twofold. First, it's one thing to have the line show up in the Enquirer's story on the nomination, it's quite another thing in my opinion, for the exact same line to appear in an editoral is a sign of a common point of view but also a sign of editorial laziness that the Post really should keep an eye on or, even better, should try to avoid. The second problem is that this line implies that somehow Portman was responsible for "thousands" of job losses in the district. If there are "thousands" of job losses in the southern Ohio district, I submit that free trade policies have little or nothing to do with the district's job losses. Instead, the assertion of job losses should be directed at the governor and the state legislature first. Portman, for what it's worth, has voted for lower taxes and generally lower spending by the federal government. To insinuate that Portman could have done anything personally with job creation as a member of Congress is ignorant and silly.

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