Republican National Convention

MINNEAPOLIS – “If Hubert Humphrey was still a leader of the Democratic Party, I would not be at this convention today,” Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told a packed audience at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Policy this afternoon. Sitting on a panel that included National Security Adviser to Ronald Reagan, and Ambassadors Robert Portman and Richard Williamson, Lieberman concluded his opening remarks saying, “Humphrey believed in the kind of progressive politics at home and idealism abroad that I grew up with.”

Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton hosted the ‘Building a Better, Safer World: What Would A McCain Presidency Do‘ panel which was sponsored by the Center for U.S. Global Engagement (which is funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Lieberman said a McCain administration would bring “a veterans distaste” for using military force unless absolutely necessary, and a strong commitment to free trade. Lieberman stressed that his former party has radically changed their position on free trade in just eight short years. A favorite President Bill Clinton schtick, Lieberman said, was to point out that the U.S. had only 4% of the world’s population and we could not expect top grow our economy without trading with the 96% of people that make up the rest of the world.

Trade quickly became the focus of the panel and Amb. Portman stressed trade’s role in promoting peace throughout the world, but especially in troubled regions: “Doha’s collapse was a huge loss not just because of the trade lost between the United States and other countries, but because of all the trade lost between other countries.” Amb. Williamson quickly chimed in about what the failure of Doha signaled about China and India’s intentions to participate in international norms. “Trade is the canary in the mineshaft for the rest of the international system,” Williamson said.