In our continuing series on the Democratic platform for 2008, let's take a moment to discuss globalization and trade. Specifically, it is important that Democrats do not give in to the easy path of protectionism.
While a progressive administration could and should press for modification of trade agreements to ensure more protection for workers and the environment, long-term prosperity depends on America being able to compete in a world-wide market.
There is a strong protectionist element among Democrats (Sen.-elect Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is one legislator with a protectionist past), the party as a whole needs to take the sometimes difficult road of defending free trade. There may not be an obvious short-term gain to such a plank in the platform, but it represents a policy that is in the best interests of the nation as a whole, and so is the kind of leadership that the American people are seeking.
At the same time, Democrats need to find practical ways in which government can facilitate the discipline and innovation necessary to build a strong economy for the long term.