Hometown Paper Accuses Pelosi Of 'Trade Pandering'

Some politicians get a break from their hometown papers, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn't so lucky on the Columbia trade deal. In this mornings editorial the San Francisco Chronicle accused Pelosi of pandering to labor groups by holding up the trade pact. The paper lists a possible recession and improved relations with Latin America as reasons Pelosi should support the free trade agreement.

From the editorial:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing politics by pandering to free-trade foes. Instead of accepting the usual fast-track process of voting up or down on the treaty within 90 days, she plans to rip up these rules and sidetrack the matter.

It's not hard to guess why. She's clearing the field of a painful Democratic dilemma: backing wider trade that unions fear will threaten their jobs. Remember the contorted debate on the eve of the Ohio primary between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton over who was more hard-line in opposing the NAFTA trade treaty with Mexico?

With the Pennsylvania primary coming on April 22, Pelosi would like to remove any chance of an awkward rerun, even if the Colombia pact is far smaller than the NAFTA package. It must be an awkward talk that Pelosi has with herself on free trade: She's from an export-heavy region with ports, open-door universities, worldwide businesses and a diverse population.