Flashback time: Buchanan and Hitchens on CSPAN plus “that giant sucking sound”

I have a penchant for digging up old videos of pundits and listening to them while I wash the dishes or putter around and I have a particular fondness for Christopher Hitchens (Though I mostly avoid his Iraq war content cuz – yeah. We all know why.).

That’s how I found myself watching this August 23, 1993 segment from “Events in the News” on CSPAN.

The bulk of this is Buchanan and Hitchens disparaging Clinton. I’d love to riff off on that but we’re in the 20 year anniversary of NAFTA and careening toward TPP, so let’s look at that.

At one point the show’s host [and the network’s founder] Brian Lamb holds up a comic of a “NAFTA Quiz” and starts reading its questions.

Brian Lamb: Are you in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement?

Christopher Hitchens: Yeah. I think I am.

Pat Buchanan: No. It’s not a free trade agreement. It’s a farce. It’s “New World Order”.

Buchanan and Hitchens are clearly relying on talking points from other people who HAD read the document which had just come out.

Here’s some more of what Buchanan said,

“…What this is is managed trade, cartelized trade – the treaty supercedes state laws. It invades American sovereignty. You’ve got tri-national commissions invading businesses with the right to fine the United States government $20 million per offense with the fines rising – I mean – this is New World Order. Henry Kissinger has said as much. And that’s what’s gonna kill it, I think, because Republicans -when they find that out – they’ll break with it on those terms because what they THINK it is right now is “free trade” and it’s not.”

Hmmm. Clearly Buchanan cares less about the fate of the worker than he does about tyranny BUT he’s at least capable of just saying NO to tyranny.


If you’re hoping to take this flashback a little farther, come along with me for a visit with Uncles Ross and Al.

This debate between Ross Perot and Al Gore on NAFTA is some must-see TV. I’d love to take the time to do some comparison of what Gore says to cheerlead for the 1992 NAFTA and what the current administration’s is saying to sell TPP.

There’s a strong chance they’re recycling the 1992 script.

Even more must-see is Ross Perot’s prediction of that “giant sucking sound” we would hear as Mexico hoovered up all our jobs.

And now let’s return to the present to note that Buchanan is still alive and still talking about international trade.

And he’s in some agreement with Richard Trumpka.

“There is no success story for workers to be found in North America 20 years after NAFTA,” said Trumka. “The NAFTA model focuses on lifting corporations out of reach of democratic governance, rather than solely reducing tariffs. This report should serve as a cautionary tale to the Obama Administration and Congress as they consider negotiating and implementing new trade deals.”

Here’s a 3 minute-ish video of Pat Buchanan delivering a scathing rebuke of NAFTA and the Republicans who supported NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements.

I went ahead and transcribed some of Buchanan’s words for us.

Now we know that surely there would be devilment in the details and dissension if Buchanan and trade unionists and environmentalists were to sit down together to talk this over.

That being said, it’s instructive and a little exciting to hear the feisty elder Buchanan speaking out against his globalist conservative peers now that he has more than hastily drawn up talking points to base his statements on:

“..I’ve been out here and I’ve been taking a look at these consequences and it is creating a disaster.”

“I said if you go with NAFTA and GATT and the World Trade Organization and take this nation with the highest standard of living in the world – the highest wages, the toughest regulations on manufacturing – and you drop it into pool where there’s about a billion foreign workers that will work for one tenth of it, you will lose every manufacturing job in the United States.”

“In the last decade – the Bush II decade – the United States lost 55 thousand factories and 6 million manufacturing jobs: One of every three we had in the United States of America. And that’s what gets me a little agitated about seeing these Republicans – all of them out there, free-trade Republicans – saying ‘we’ve got to get manufacturing back’.”

“They all voted for NAFTA, they all voted for GATT, they all went with the World Trade Organization. They all went with MFN for China and – look at last year alone!”

“We sold a hundred billion dollars in products to the Chinese – a lot of it raw materials and stuff – and they sold us 400 billion.”

“A 300 billion dollar trade surplus and they’re taking that money and they’re moving all over the world and they’re buying resources up. They are practicing what our forefathers practiced in the 19th Century and we’re acting like the British – the Cobdonites ..who blew it in the 2nd half of the 19th century by practicing free trade while the Americans dumped products into their markets and protected our own with a tariff.”

In his parting words in the video, Buchanan calls for a more self-interested approach he calls”Economic Patriotism”:
“Do what is best for America and American workers and forget about the global economy because nobody else is thinking about that. Everybody else is thinking about themselves.”

Americans seem to know what’s up.

62 percent of people polled recently said that they oppose “having Congress give the president fast-track authority [aka Trade Promotion Authority] for a new Pacific trade agreement.”

Back in pre-NAFTA 1992, people had no internet. At that time a copy of NAFTA cost $500 while you could buy a copy from a reseller for about $25 dollars, according to Buchanan and Hitchens.

Makes you wonder who in America had access to the document or simply decent information on it.

Now we have the internet – so that excuse is gone. Can America do better this time around?

Check out ExposeTheTPP for more information.

If wikipedia is correct, Perot is alive too, but I can’t find any current video commentary from him.

He is 83-years-old now.


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