Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Globalization, Clinton-style; or, how Hillary is denying the undeniable in Indiana

By Michael J.W. Stickings


Hillary Clinton loves to tell the story about how the Chinese government bought a good American company in Indiana, laid off all its workers and moved its critical defense technology work to China.

It's a story with a dramatic, political ending. Republican President George W. Bush could have stopped it, but he didn't.

If she were president, Clinton says, she'd fight to protect those jobs. It's just the kind of talk that's helping her win support from working-class Democrats worried about their jobs and paychecks, not to mention their country's security.

What Clinton never includes in the oft-repeated tale is the role that prominent Democrats played in selling the company and its technology to the Chinese. She never mentions that big-time Democratic contributor George Soros helped put together the deal to sell the company or that the sale was approved by her husband's administration.

Hillary is featuring the story in a TV ad being aired in Indiana. And, in response to these allegations, the spin is coming fast and furious: It wasn't Bill's fault, it was Bush's. Bill didn't know the jobs would be moved to China. Indeed, as she put it on April 12: "We've got to elect a president next January [sic] who's going to remember Magnequench," the Valparaiso, Indiana company in question.

As ABC's Jake Tapper points out, however, "[w]hat Clinton doesn't tell voters is that Magnequench was originally sold to Chinese interests during her husband's administration, which okayed the move despite concerns about national security and eventual job loss. Experts say the Chinese acquired the 'technical sophistication' that created the magnets [for precision-guided missiles] long before George W. Bush took office." Senator Evan Bayh, her most important Hoosier backer, knows this: "[He] now glosses over the outrage he once expressed at the Clinton administration's approval of [the] 1995 sale."

(Make sure to read Tapper's piece, which includes some excellent reporting.)

In other words, Hillary has been conveniently misrepresenting what really happened (see Bosnia, snipers). The truth, contrary to the spin, is that:

-- It was Bill, not Bush, who approved the sale.

-- There was no guarantee that the jobs would never be moved.

-- There was no transfer of intellectual property.

The fact that there was no transfer of intellectual property works in Bill's defence. It was bad enough that jobs were moved, but at least the secret technology wasn't.

But, for Hillary, the misrepresentation is obviously far more appealing than the truth.

Better to blame Bush -- and, I agree, he is a justifiably easy target -- for job losses in Indiana and to claim that military-oriented intellectual property was sent to China. And, of course, to present herself as the one who will fight to protect homeland manufacturing jobs from the nefarious forces of globalization (and those evil Chinese).

But, then, running on a lie is nothing new to her, is it?

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