If I wanted class warfare, I would’ve supported John Edwards.

Via Greg Mankiw, here’s Senator Obama on NAFTA:

… We can’t keep playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result – because it’s a game that ordinary Americans are losing.

It’s a game where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits, while you pay the price at the pump, and our planet is put at risk. That’s what happens when lobbyists set the agenda, and that’s why they won’t drown out your voices anymore when I am President of the United States of America.

It’s a game where trade deals like NAFTA ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart. That’s what happens when the American worker doesn’t have a voice at the negotiating table, when leaders change their positions on trade with the politics of the moment, and that’s why we need a President who will listen to Main Street – not just Wall Street; a President who will stand with workers not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.

Kip offers an excellent rebuttal on Obama’s pandering to the Wal-Mart and Exxon non-angles, so I’ll point you there.

What struck me most in this nonsense is the last line. Apart from missing the truth that we need a President who understands that the President’s primary role in the economy is to get out of the way, Senator Obama is backwards on his spin. Telling people we’re going to erect barriers to free trade in an effort to protect domestic interests is easy. Telling people we’re going to stop listening to lobbyists while indirectly telling them we’re going to start listening to a different set of lobbyists is easy. Pitting one group of people against another group of people in order to win votes is easy.

The only hard task in American politics is telling people no. I haven’t seen a politician in my lifetime capable of doing that. Barack Obama is a politician.

The free market – which we do not have – works. There are winners and losers in the short-term as change disrupts the existing manner of operations. That is inevitable, and we can discuss a minimum safety next mechanism (public or private) necessary to squeeze through the turmoil. There will also be winners and losers in the long-term, but that hinges much less on individual skills and much more on motivation to adapt. Specific losing is not inevitable in the long-term.

Pandering to this type of class warfare, which is exactly what Sen. Obama engaged in, will lead to economic turmoil as government intervention designed on fixing perceived injustices only creates different injustice. It skews market incentives. It distorts individual tastes and preferences. It encourages inefficient economic behavior. That is not leadership. To any extent that he believes pretends otherwise, Senator Obama is not running on a platform of change.