POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Seek and Ye Shall Find

by David Trumbull

September 10, 2004

You know you are a true Bostonian when you can name the location of every CVS store within walking or reasonable driving distance of your home --and the hours of operation! I don't mean to plug that particular chain of shops, it's just that I keep finding myself heading into a CVS, sometimes twice in the same day, to pick up some few items.

Of late, the clerks at CVS, presumably under instruction (perhaps under duress) from the management, ask at check-out, "Did you find everything you were looking for?" I do feel sorry for the poor clerks who daily repeat the question hundreds of times. Aside from that questionable postpositive preposition (something up with which I will not put), there is the whole tedious business of the wisecracking customer (probably the third one already this shift) who tries to be witty. "Every thing I was looking for?" True love? World peace? The meaning of life?

This column is supposed to be about politics, so I thought I'd apply the CVS question -- did I find everything I was looking for?-- to the Republican party platform adopted at the national convention in New York City.

The loss of American manufacturing jobs troubles me. Senator Kerry blames President Bush for the decline in textile, furniture, and other manufacturing. The junior senator from Massachusetts even, uncharacteristically, cited specific laws --NAFTA and normal trade relations with China, for example-- as culprits. That Senator Kerry voted for these laws he now says he opposes demonstrates that if in nothing else, he is consistent in his inconsistency.

The Republican platform, reassuringly, notes that the "United States remains the largest producer and exporter of manufactured goods in the world." It touts President Bush's recent creation of a manufacturing "czar" in the Department of Commerce, "which represents the first time in modern history that an Administration has made U.S. manufacturing a top priority."

The GOP document addresses the manufacturing trade imbalance by recognizing that: "Free trade must be fair trade that advances America’s economic goals and protects American jobs." And lauds the Administration for pursuing more "antidumping" protective trade actions than did the Clinton administration.

It also praises President Bush for confronting China on illegal trade practices such as subsidies, intellectual property rights violations, and currency manipulation. My employers, the textile mills that employ nearly ten thousand workers in Massachusetts, as well as many tens of thousands more throughout the country, were pleased to see, in the platform, a defense of the Bush Administration's decision to " impose a safeguard action against Chinese textile and apparel imports."

When the 325,800 manufacturing workers in Massachusetts look at the Republican Party platform, they'll find a strong pro-growth economic plan to create jobs and wealth for every America.

David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee; he may be contacted at (617) 742-6881 or Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.