"“I’d rather get this right than get it rushed,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Kirk, according to a senior administration official who was present."
Unless you've been under a rock (where? can I join you? mmk thanks!), you're probably well aware that after the media-fueled star-spangled parade that were our national mid-term elections, President Obama went on a well-publicized tour of Asia that took him to India, Indonesia, and as of this posting, South Korea. It is in South Korea where the G20 summit has convened, and where President Obama, in good faith (we presume) entered earlier today in lengthy negotiations with President Lee Myung-bak. Hours flew by, and our President, having entered the negotiations no doubt with his head crammed with talking points and accompanied by some over-paid negotiations consultant/strategist, left the negotiating room to enter a press conference. It was amidst flashing bulbs and before a host of microphones where it was announced that no treaty had been met between himself and the governing head of state of South Korea.
I haven't yet mentioned what these proposed negotiations were about, but in what could be perceived as quite the PR stunt, President Obama has decided to undertake the subject of the American economy during this trip and use it as a standard of sorts. In the papers, on the television, and through streaming video we became convinced, that Obama was working hard, all day & all night, all for our side, and that he would meet his self-imposed deadline of creating a free trade agreement once in South Korea. "It would happen!", he seemed to say, much in the style of "Vote for change!"
Yes, despite the public's sudden affinity for tea (lots of it, please, particularly of the generic wrapped in paper smells cheap kind), or because of it, Obama is once again the champion of the American everyman's. Specifically you and me, all of us. A free trade agreement with South Korea would mean lots of things, not the least of which my company would be able to take a greater share of the Korean market, and when they make money...I get to keep my job! The longer I keep my job, the more money I make, and the more shoes I buy. Oh yes, that's the type of stuff I learned in Econ 101 (did I mentioned I dropped that course freshman year? too many graph thingers). Sounds good for everyone, and yet a treaty was not reached was because the terms of such an agreement could not be agreed upon, despite all the talks that had gone back and forth before the actual event. Did Obama present an air-tight case? Did President Lee? We may never know, but what we do know is that the pressure is officially on - Obama is "damned if you do, damned if you don't" regardless of what type of bacon -- or sonmat (Korean domestic beef) -- he brings home. He has to do something that will stimulate our economy and by doing so satiate the political greed which I think is plauging both our national parties right now. Congress will have to endorse the treaty, and event with the current make-up of the House, all will need to be persuaded as freshman senators begin to mark their territory and form their due allegiances in anticipation of 2012.
So watch carefully, the events that will continue to fold over the next few days. A penny earned is a penny gained, but will Obama lose in the long run? What types of talking points would you be sure to bring up to him if you could? What would you do with a few extra dollars and cents? What does the treaty need to encompass for you to be "sold," much as Congress will undoubtly have to be?