More than anything else, Mitt Romney’s zealous determination to pin a scarlett “CM” on the Chinese government’s lapel has defined his trade platform. And that draws an unfavorable contrast for Romney, since President Obama’s repeated decisions not to label China a currency manipulator make him look the more cautious, circumspect, risk-averse business executive that Romney portrays himself to be.
In any event, the currency issue is very much last decade’s battle. By continuously harping about it, Governor Romney evokes tales of old Japanese soldiers, left behind on South Pacific islands, still fighting WWII well into the 1960s.
As I noted in this piece on Forbes yesterday, if Romney is elected he will have to renege on this silly commitment (substantively, at least), and change focus:
If Mitt Romney believes in “free trade,” his focus with respect to China should be on correcting that government’s failures to honor all of its commitments to liberalize and on the misguided efforts by U.S. policymakers to thwart legitimate commerce between Chinese exporters and American consumers.