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I guess I think two things about that story. No, three.

1) I agree with canuckgal that some kind of conversation happened. But I think this was Goolsbee talking informally with some Canadian schmuck who may have turned some remark like "not everything that's said in a campaign will happen" into a "nudge nudge wink wink" comment. It was not Obama speaking about what he intends, it was Goolsbee gazing into his crystal ball for some reason. Obama shouldn't have Goolsbee, and should consider firing him now, not for thinking his thoughts so much, but for arranging to think them out loud in front of some Canadian schmuck.

2) Cui bono? Who benefits from the leak? Specifically, did Canada benefit? It's not clear how torpedoing a candidate who might well win the White House anyway is a good bet. I think this was some guy with his own agenda who embellished Goolsbee's remarks and importance. It's also not clear how Obama could have believed he would benefit from telling Goolsbee "go reassure mighty Canada that I'm just kidding". I think this was Goolsbee's Really Really Bad Idea.

3) I think even if you make NAFTA a higher-value issue than authorizing Iraq and/or future adventures, a vote for Obama might the strategic one. He'll have something to prove on this issue, and I guess I don't think he's just been blowing smoke about it. I also think Goolsbee's star just dimmed considerably, which seems good to me.

No, four:
4) Mmmm.... Obama Kool-Aid sure tastes good! :) Kidding. I think this was a case of extremely bad help, but of course I'm not sure. The meeting itself just doesn't make sense from Obama's own standpoint.

So why doesn't he fire Goolsbee?

But I agree with what you're saying. I did mention that I have NAFTA Derangement Syndrome. I really hate that agreement and that it's been expanded and I really hate how the environmental provisions that are in there aren't enforced.

I don't think that Obama will feel like he has to prove anything to us. I don't think we'll organize effectively enough to put any real pressure on him. And even if we did, BushCo has proved that ignoring the American public is consequence-free. I had two reasons to vote for Obama:

1. I wanted to believe that he was a good guy who was lying about hating libruls to get elected and would be a champion of the American worker - or would at least be willing to listen to us once in the White House. Maybe that's still true and he's lying to Canada. But if I'm going to draw conclusions against all available evidence, then I may as well believe that Hillary is running hawkier than she really is in order to get elected and that domestically she is out to avenge the mistakes of her husband because she fancies herself some latter day Eleanor Roosevelt, who actually gets to be president this time, which would be a very good thing. That's certainly as plausible as my Obama scenario.

2. I think Obama has a better chance to beat McCain. This is the only reason I have left to vote for him and all the brainiacs who pay attention to this stuff tell me that I'm a fool to play the electability game.

I don't know.

What you both seem to be forgetting is that the story perfectly fits Obama's pro-corporate, pro-trade history. He voted for both the abominable Panama deal and the seriously flawed Peru deal after refusing to meet with labor reps who were fighting them.

It was his supposed antagonism toward NAFTA that didn't make sense. It was suspicious from the beginning. Of course it's campaign rhetoric. I never thought it was anything else. Remember, he's a DLC Baby - practically begged them to sponsor him.

It still seems important to me whether Goolsbee was in fact doing Obama's bidding by meeting with the Canadian. I think freelancing/acquaintanceship seems likelier, but that is pure speculation on my part.

On the other hand, from what little I know, I think Goolsbee himself fits the history you speak of, Mick; I hadn't followed the Panama or Peru deals as closely as I should have. I guess the "community organizer" background gives Obama some remaining credibility with me, but now is a good time to remind myself I'm not in the business of making up excuses for him.

I hadn't followed the Panama or Peru deals as closely as I should have.

Well, as I recall you were trying to impeach Bush at the time and were pretty busy. Those deals sailed under a lot of people's radar because they came up at a time when the news was crowded with other stories. You can catch up with Peru here and with Panama here (scroll down to "Garcia Cons Rangel" and "Democrats Support Secret Trade Deal"). There are links aplenty to David Sirota's coverage. Altho there is little there that's specifically about Obama, he was one of many Dems importuned by the Left to vote against them. He wouldn't even talk to opponents of the bills.

Therefore, whether or not Goolsbee was acting on his own I consider a largely irrelevant technical question. Even if he was, Obama's previous history would support any assumption by Goolsbee that that was Obama's real position, but frankly it's hard for me to accept the idea that he would communicate with a foreign govt official about anything without Obama's overt permission. I mean, wtf? If that's what he did, he should have been fired immediately. Why wasn't he?

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