What The Heck Was Obama Thinking With The Dumb Tire Tariff?

Can someone help us out here?

With confidence in the economy starting to grow, what the heck was Obama thinking when he slapped a 35% tariff on imported Chinese tires?

We’ve been looking around for some good explanation of this — some broader context to all this that would make it some sense, but we’ve found absolutely nothing.

All we see is a normal-old protectionist tariff which, if things go badly, could spur a full-on trade war. Already that seems to be starting.

Can anyone help us out and show the other side?

Update: Even Brad Delong is totally perplexed, and he dispenses with the idea that the government was legally compelled to take this action.

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