Right Should Cheer Obama's India Speech

It 'defended free trade, free markets, and free society,' writes Bret Stephens
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2010 10:49 AM CST

It may “shock and dismay” his most faithful readers, but conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens has to hand it to President Obama: He “gave a terrific speech yesterday to India’s parliament, perhaps the best of his presidency, and potentially a true compass for the rest of it.” Sure there was plenty to nit-pick about, but ultimately the president “stood up for free trade, free markets, and free societies.”

“We can resist the protectionism that stifles growth,” Obama declared. He said the country had emerged economically by “reforming the licensing raj”—an oppressive regulatory system that once controlled Indian commerce. He even backed off his Afghanistan withdrawal date, vowing not to “abandon the people of Afghanistan.” All this from the anti-war president who supported the “buy American” stimulus clause, and championed a licensing raj for health care. “Maybe it’s pure double-speak,” muses Stephens, “or maybe the president has emerged from his midterm shellacking with a new religion.” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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