I’ve written before on the presidential candidates’ positions on trade (and spoke at a forum here on their economic positions more broadly) but the Wall Street Journal has gotten one degree closer to the candidates by getting their advisers to engage in back‐and‐forth discussions on trade.
The latest entry was a discussion on farm subsidies. John McCain has been a staunch opponent of farm subsidies, never voting for any during his time in Congress. Barack Obama, however, seemed to out aside his general theme of change to support the 2008 Farm Bill, a shameful example of Lobbying 101 and outmoded pork. What caught my eye, though, was this quote from Daniel Tarullo, economic adviser to Senator Obama, when he was asked about a possible change in negotiating strategy on farm subsidies should the failed Doha round ever be revived:
…as a matter of negotiating strategy to advance American interests, it would be self‐defeating to indicate to the rest of the world what positions an Obama Administration might or might not take should serious negotiations eventually resume.
Why the secrecy? Does Tarullo not know the answer to the question? Does Obama?