November 9, 2006

Democrats: The party of Lou Dobbs?

Greg Mankiw has a post about how some of the Democrats that picked up seats ran particularly protectionist campaigns. He calls them Lou Dobbs Democrats, which I must say, is a fantastic term because it simultaneously bashes Lou Dobbs and the silly politicians that buy into the pundit's ideas.But the problem is that the Democrats have no more Lou Dobbs in them than the Republicans. Republicans tend to be irrationally anti-Immigration and Democrats irrationally anti-free trade (although the Republicans have given bought into the protectionist/populist belief structure in the past).My opinion is that neither party has robust economic policies because of the nature of our political system, so there is no point in getting overly concerned about party posturing on globalization or immigration. Now, if all of a sudden a party started seriously considering erecting tariffs or deporting all illegal immigrants then my opinion would be different. Regardless, we aren't there now, and we are unlikely to get there anytime soon. Thus, labeling either party as a strict follower of the Lou Dobbs philosophy is wrong (and at the very least terribly misleading).Update: It is worth noting that Mankiw definitely has a bone to pick here. When he worked for the White House he dismissed concerns about outsourcing like any economist would. A firestorm resulted. He is probably justifiably bitter.