McCain is visiting Mexico and Colombia.
William McGurn, writing in the WSJ, calls it John McCain’s JFK Opportunity:
If these words have more of a Republican ring to them, it’s probably because it has been some time since any Democratic Party leader has offered such muscular language – especially with regard to trade and opportunity and American purpose. To the contrary, JFK would have a hard time reconciling his outward and optimistic vision with the crabbed protectionism the Democratic Party now stands for. And there’s no better example than the way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to schedule a vote on a U.S. trade agreement with Colombia.
Even the critics have mostly given up arguing the economics of this agreement. Under legislation Congress has approved, most Colombian goods already enter the U.S. duty free. The same is not true for what we export to Colombia. So mostly what this agreement would do is level the playing field for American goods and send an important signal to the region that we know who our friends are.
This is an excellent opportunity for McCain,
The Colombia trade agreement plays to his strength as a leader, and it is consistent with his long record as a supporter of free trade. It also comports with his instincts on foreign policy. Mr. McCain appreciates that demagogues like Hugo Chávez are just itching for the chance to exploit a permanently stalled trade pact with their enemy Colombia. “See,” they will tell the people of the region, “the Americans will never treat you as equals.”
The choice is stark. Mr. Obama is on record as saying he would meet with Mr. Chavez – a declared enemy of the U.S. In sharp contrast, this week Mr. McCain will be standing with Mr. Uribe – a proven friend.
Related post: Bill Richardson, Hugo’s latest friend