Friday, September 19, 2003

Bush gang can't "steel" an election 

That's a relief, eh?

Mike Allen and Jonathon Weisman of WaPo write:

n a decision largely driven by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for his reelection.

Eighteen months later, key administration officials have concluded that Bush's order has turned into a debacle. Some economists say the tariffs may have cost more jobs than they saved, by driving up costs for automakers and other steel users. Politically, the strategy failed to produce union endorsements and appears to have hurt Bush with workers in Michigan and Tennessee -- also states at the heart of his 2004 strategy.

The strategizing was "too clever by half," [Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with ties to the administration,] said. "It presupposed that nobody was watching what we were doing, and it presupposed that our credibility was of no importance."

Ah. Strategery.

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