July 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing
American manufacturing is like apple pie to American voters: we love it and want more of it regardless of our politics, race, gender, income, or hometown. If you live in a swing state like Ohio, you already know that, because both presidential candidates have flooded the airwaves with ads labeling the other guy as the “outsourcer-in-chief.”
Beneath the recent accusations and counter-accusations on outsourcing, there is a simple truth: citizens believe manufacturing is central to our nation’s economic health, that America is in economic decline, that outsourcing to China is largely responsible for this condition, and they want their elected leaders to do something bold about it.
Voters of all political stripes are far ahead of the debate inside Washington, D.C. More importantly, perhaps, is that nearly all Americans — not only working-class Ohioans — share this view.
So don’t be surprised if both campaigns escalate the rhetoric and attacks on shipping jobs overseas in the coming weeks, in part to mask their own shortcomings.
That’s because no one is a knight in shining Made in America armor when it comes to this issue. Mitt Romney (rightly) criticizes President Obama for not labeling China as a currency manipulator, but glosses over the fact that Republican leaders in Congress are blocking a bipartisan currency bill that would pass overwhelmingly. Romney has also been on the wrong side of Administration decisions to defend American tire workers against China’s cheating and successfully rescue Chrysler and General Motors.
The GOP hypocritically accuses Obama of sending stimulus dollars overseas, while Republican Senators tried to block Buy America requirements for stimulus spending.
The fact is, accusing your political opponent of shipping jobs overseas is now an established American campaign tradition. What is missing is an honest debate about what could actually be done to promote American manufacturing jobs. Voters are ready for such a dialogue.