john_mccain

Once again, a headline-hungry Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is making waves by opposing the president, the leader of his party. But this time, the battle didn’t go the way the media’s favorite Republican was hoping.

President Trump’s top-level team is finally complete, as Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s nominee for the Cabinet-level position of United States Trade Representative, was finally confirmed by the Senate. Lighthizer won a resounding 82-14 vote, with many Democrats crossing the aisle to support Trump’s nominee.

But Lighthizer faced strong opposition from some Republicans, notably from Sens. McCain of Arizona, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Cory Gardner of Colorado. McCain and Sasse slammed Lighthizer in a joint letter for supposedly failing “to reassure us that you understand the North American Free Trade Agreement’s [NAFTA’s] positive economic benefits to our respective states and the nation as a whole.”

The senators also blasted Lighthizer’s “vocal advocacy for protectionist shifts in our trade policies.”

For his part, Gardner claimed Lighthizer’s policies “could hurt Colorado’s farmers.”

Yet Lighthizer has a long history of working within the Republican Party and a great deal of experience. He served as Ronald Reagan’s deputy trade representative and has decades of experience negotiating trade agreements. Though the defections of the three Republicans could have endangered Lighthizer’s nomination given the GOP’s slim Senate majority, most Democrats ultimately decided not to oppose him.

One Republican who rejoiced in Lighthizer’s confirmation was Paul Nehlen, the populist Wisconsinite who challenged Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a primary last year and authored the new book “Wage The Battle.”

Nehlen called Lighthizer an obvious choice for the important post.

“He has the credentials, among other things, working for the Reagan administration as deputy trade representative, negotiating dozens of bilateral trade agreements,” Nehlen told WND. “Lighthizer is, like me, a proponent of tariffs. We are well aware that Republicans were, too, when America’s manufacturing was great. Lighthizer will be a big part of making trade great again.”

“Wage the Battle: Putting America First in the Fight to Stop Globalist Politicians and Secure the Borders” is a call to action. It is the amazing story of how self-described “manufacturing guy” Paul Nehlen took on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in one of the most closely followed congressional races in the nation. Nehlen’s run presaged the international movement against globalism which reached its climax with the election of President Donald Trump. It’s a firsthand look at the development of one of the original “Trump Republicans” and the populist message which is sending shockwaves through the Beltway Right.

Indeed, Lighthizer has been a prominent defender of the historic Republican policy of protectionism, writing in a variety of publications about the GOP’s traditional defense of high tariffs and support for domestic industry.

Lighthizer also has a long record of defending Trump and attacking John McCain over trade policies.

In 2011, when Trump floated the possibility of a presidential run, Lighthizer defended the prospective candidate from claims by the Club for Growth that Trump was “just another liberal.” Even then, Trump was vowing to get tough on China, raising the hackles of free traders.

To support Trump, Lighthizer wrote in the Washington Examiner how the Republican Party had traditionally “been the party of building domestic industry by using trade policy to promote U.S. exports and fend off unfairly traded imports.”

American conservatives, Lighthizer contended, had supported similar policies even before the Republican Party had been created.

Lighthizer also criticized the free trade orthodoxy that has gripped the Republican Party in recent decades, calling it “more of an aberration than a hallmark of true American conservatism.” Lighthizer further noted his old boss Ronald Reagan had used tariffs to protect Harley-Davidson from Japanese competition, among other protectionist policies.

Lighthizer recounted the same history in the New York Times in 2008, including the story about Reagan’s occasionally protectionist policies and the historic support of liberals both present and modern for “free trade.” But this time, the purpose of Lighthizer’s article was to cast doubt on McCain’s conservative credentials and to discredit the idea “free trade” should be part of the movement’s canon.

Instead, Lighthizer insisted, trade policy should simply be a tool for “building a strong and independent country with a prosperous middle class.” In contrast, Lighthizer accused McCain of believing in “the notion that we should change the country to suit their trade policy – an approach that is not in the best traditions of American conservatism.”

Proud Wisconsinite Nehlen observed Harley-Davidson was founded in Milwaukee and argued trade policies are especially important to the American Midwest. His championing of domestic industry was a core element of his 2016 primary challenge to Paul Ryan.

He is especially critical of sprawling multilateral trade deals, which Nehlen believes shouldn’t even be called “free trade.”

“President Trump has it right when he reaffirms his commitment to bi-lateral trade deals, deals only between two countries,” Nehlen told WND. “Putting this into perspective, the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement of 1985 is 13 pages long plus explanatory material. NAFTA is 1,700 pages long and TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership) was 5,500 pages long. There’s no freedom in the government defining trade over the course of 5,500 pages.

“America First means recognizing America has the leverage with the most vibrant market and the best workers. When we negotiate from that position, Lighthizer will win, Wisconsinites will win, America will win.”

With Lighthizer’s confirmation, the Trump administration can finally begin to fulfill its promise of renegotiating NAFTA, a prospect that horrifies free trade supporters. However, the prospect of renegotiation is also intriguing to some Democrats, with Sherrod Brown of Ohio sending Trump a plan about how to overhaul NAFTA.

Noting how President Trump’s populist strategy on trade already proved its electoral viability, Nehlen was scathing in his denunciation of McCain and Sasse, whom he accused of not caring about American workers.

“McCain and Sasse continue to lead the NeverTrump/UniParty wing of the GOP from their perches in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “McCain and Sasse work on behalf of the same folks, like Speaker Paul Ryan, who wanted the Trans Pacific Partnership. When have you seen either McCain or Sasse work as hard for American workers as they have for foreign ‘moderate Islamist’ fighters?

Nehlen argues Republicans who dissent from free trade are “turning the corner” though it will take a “Herculean effort” by the likes of Lighthizer and Bannon to change the free trade orthodoxy within the GOP. And Nehlen praises Trump for putting the spotlight on the issue and giving populists a victory after some recent disappointments.

But Nehlen says populists need to stay vigilant and keep pushing their issues in the face of opposition from the likes of McCain.

“This administration is in very early days,” he cautioned. “We will need many small victories along the way if we are to rebuild America, and there will be no time to rejoice until many years from now. There is much to do.”

“Wage the Battle: Putting America First in the Fight to Stop Globalist Politicians and Secure the Borders” is a call to action. It is the amazing story of how self-described “manufacturing guy” Paul Nehlen took on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in one of the most closely followed congressional races in the nation. Nehlen’s run presaged the international movement against globalism which reached its climax with the election of President Donald Trump. It’s a firsthand look at the development of one of the original “Trump Republicans” and the populist message which is sending shockwaves through the Beltway Right.

 

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