Lest we think the Romney campaign totally at sea (having been out of the country for the past two weeks, I’ve been surprised upon my return at how quickly even conservatives have become morose about Mitt’s prospects), there’s at least one sign that the Republican ticket is still getting under the president’s skin: the Obama campaign’s sudden rush to play defense on the issue of China.
Yesterday in Ohio, Obama gave a speech touting the Administration’s filing of a case with the World Trade Organization protesting Chinese industrial subsidies. Here’s how Reuters reported it:
President Barack Obama on Monday said the United States was challenging Chinese auto and auto-parts subsidies that threatened American jobs as he campaigned in Ohio, an auto manufacturing state that could be decisive in the November presidential election.
Beijing fired back with a complaint against U.S. duties on many Chinese exports, in the latest sign of trade tension between the world's two largest economies.
The U.S. case filed at the World Trade Organization targets what Washington said were "extensive subsidies" to Chinese auto and auto-parts producers located in designated regions, known as export bases.
So if you’re keeping score at home, that’s “Barack Obama – opponent of subsidies to the auto industry.”
Oh, by the way, we’re also hacked off about another aspect of Chinese public finance:
This year, the United States has also pursued anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases against Chinese made solar panels and wind turbine towers in response to industry petitions.
Using the power of the state to prop up alternative energy that no one would otherwise want to buy? Those boors.
I’ve never much cared for Romney’s populism on China (when I asked Thomas Sowell on a Ricochet podcast earlier this year if Americans should be concerned about China’s ‘currency manipulation’ he said, “They should be more concerned about getting struck by lightning.”). But at least it doesn’t come marinated in the same rank hypocrisy as Obama’s.