The latest Manufacturing News has an interesting piece on the U.S. presidential and vice-presidential debates, with regards to discussion of manufacturing-related issues. It’s a short article. They did a keyword search on the transcripts, and came up with the following. I removed some of the non-relevant references, such as "trade" bringing up the poppy trade in Afghanistan.
Manufacturing: Zero Mentions.
Imports: Zero Mentions.
OBAMA Third Debate: “We should enforce rules
against China manipulating its currency to make our
exports more expensive and their exports to us cheaper.”
OBAMA First Debate: “We’ve got to deal with a
growing poppy trade [in Afghanistan] that has exploded
over the last several years.”
OBAMA Second Debate: “I do not agree with Senator
McCain that we’re going to be able to execute the kind of
sanctions [against Iran] we need without some
cooperation with some countries like Russia and China
that are, I think Senator McCain would agree, not
democracies, but have extensive trade with Iran but
potentially have an interest in making sure Iran doesn’t
have a nuclear weapon.”
MCCAIN Third Debate: “By the way, when Sen.
Obama said he would unilaterally renegotiate the North
American Free Trade Agreement, the Canadians said,
“Yes, and we’ll sell our oil to China.” You don’t tell
countries you’re going to unilaterally renegotiate
agreements with them.”
Of course both of them have talked about manufacturing… sort of. If you take a look at the "Issues" section of their respective websites you’ll find nothing on manufacturing or trade. How about third parties? Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party also doesn’t have anything on manufacturing or trade. But guess who does: Ralph Nader. Unfortunately not exactly in a supportive manner. According to Ralph, all companies are still stuck in the Pinto era. We won’t bother to humor him.
There you have it folks. Good luck. We may need it.
Obviously, it would be good if McCain or Obama knew a little bit about proper manufacturing techniques. However, couldn’t this absense of mention be argued as good? I think we all would agree that the last thing we would all want is government interference. Let companies improve and win or lose as they see fit. Do we really want government getting into it?
(Of course, I would LOVE to see a candidate talk about using lean to improve government processes and efficiencies.)