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CNN's Dobbs Insists Author of anti-Free Trade Book Is 'No Protectionist'

    OK. Who outsourced Lou Dobbs’s dictionary to China?

     That has to be the only explanation for why CNN’s resident anti-free trader Lou Dobbs claimed a guest critical of the Bush administration’s trade policies was not a “protectionist.”

     During his July 24 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” interview with liberal (2005 ADA rating 100 out of 100) Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) about his new book “Take This Job and Ship It,” Dobbs praised the North Dakotan and urged viewers to pick up a copy of the senator’s anti-free trade manifesto.

     “Senator Byron Dorgan is no protectionist. In point of fact, he is calling for expanded markets for U.S. exports,” Dobbs insisted, praising Dorgan for his “critical examination of what this country is doing to itself,” with tax and trade policy.

      But Dobbs is confusing his viewers, if not outright insulting their intelligence by insisting Dorgan isn’t for protectionist policies. Dorgan supports various tariffs, including one on foreign sources of ethanol, a fuel additive mandated for gasoline by the EPA.

     The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a protectionist as “an advocate of government economic protection for domestic producers through restrictions on foreign competitors.”

      “If Byron Dorgan’s not a protectionist, than I don’t think anybody in Washington is,” Dan Griswold, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies said in a phone interview with the Business & Media Institute.

     “Everyone wants to open markets abroad,” he said, adding that “the test is your commitment to an open, competitive, dynamic U.S. market” which Sen. Dorgan fails “by any measure.”

     In a March 16, 2005, publication, Griswold examined the 108th Congress’s commitment to free trade. Defining free trade as “opposition to trade subsidies as well as trade barriers,” Griswold grouped Dorgan squarely into the anti-free-trade category of the “interventionists.” 

     “They tend to oppose bills and amendments that would lower trade barriers, as well as those that would cut or eliminate trade and investment subsidies,” Griswold wrote of Dorgan and other “interventionists.”

     Among the tariffs Dorgan strongly supports is one which could be partly to blame for motorists’ “pain at the pump.”

    Dorgan recently objected to President Bush’s call for easing the price of gasoline by suspending the 54-cent-per-gallon tax on foreign ethanol. Ethanol has been a required additive in gasoline and earlier this year was in short supply domestically. In April, President Bush suspended some environmental regulations about gasoline.

     Dorgan joined Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a May 9 letter to President Bush urging him “to abandon your focus on providing incentives to ship ethanol into the United States.”