Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with the title, "Don't Call Me a Protectionist." Based on the title, I expected Brown to make non-protectionist arguments against the Columbia Free Trade Agreement, and maybe other recent trade agreements as well. That's certainly possible, although I don't find those arguments very persuasive from an economic standpoint. But curiously, Brown spends the whole op-ed making arguments that are unquestionably protectionist, even under the most favorable definition of protectionism. There's more than a whiff of mercantilism in the op-ed too. Brown even defines "U.S. trade policy" in terms that are more-than-a-little protectionist:
[L]et us agree that U.S. trade policy – writing the rules of globalization to protect our national interests and our communities – is worthy of a vigorous national debate.It's hard to argue that you're not a protectionist when the word "protect" is in your definition of "U.S. trade policy." I'm not immune to arguments against some trade deals, even though I've ultimately supported all our trade deals since about 1990. Not every trade deal with "Free Trade" in the title necessarily moves us towards freer trade. Details matter. But let's be honest: Sherrod Brown is protectionist.