Friday, March 10, 2006

More Election Year Dancing

Now that the edge has been taken off the Dubai Ports World furor, the Congressional Republicans are busy patting themselves on the back. They stood up to their President in the name of national security and won.

Big deal.

Chances are, only a handful of those oh-so-brave senators and representatives were aware of the key reason the deal should have been squelched: the company in question wasn't just an Arab run business, it was owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates. That fact wasn't trumpeted in the press the way it ought to have been. Only a handful of articles in the "liberal" press even mentioned it, and then did so only by burying it in the last paragraph.

Still, the GOP congress critters did face BushCo down, which is a bit rare. In an analysis piece, the NY Times did acknowledge the probable reason for the sudden bit of spine.

When President Bush and senior adviser Karl Rove mapped out plans for a political comeback in 2006, this was nowhere on the script. Suddenly, the collapse of a port-management deal neither even knew about a month ago has devastated the White House and raised questions about its ability to lead even fellow Republicans.

The bipartisan uprising in Congress in the face of a veto threat represented a singular defeat for Bush, who when it came to national security grew accustomed during his first five years in office to leading as he chose and having loyal lawmakers fall in line. Now, with his poll numbers in a political ditch, the port debacle has contributed to a perception of weakness that has liberated Republicans who once would never have dared cross Bush.

...Now the estrangement increasingly appears even on national security issues, where Republicans long deferred to the president. Recent rebukes run from the ports deal to a ban on torture to Patriot Act revisions forced on Bush in exchange for congressional approval. Partly in the name of national security, Republican leaders also seem poised to dismiss Bush's proposal for a guest-worker program for illegal immigrants.
[Emphasis added]

Is the Republican Congress moving to the right of the Emperor on national security issues? Well, not really.

First, it would be hard to move to the right of someone who has not demonstrated any real competence in actual security. On the issue of port security, for example, the number of cargo containers that are searched at the point of entry is far less than ten per cent. There apparently isn't any money for that in the Department for Homeland Security budget. It just wasn't important until the Dubai Ports World deal came down.

Next, this regime's idea of acting for national security usually boils down to illegally wire tapping Americans and to examining their public library activities and spending habits. The Republican Congress don't seem to be bucking the regime on those activities. They backed down from any meaningful investigation of the NSA warrantless spying and instead are essentially giving the Emperor a get out of jail free card for his prior (and confessed) illegal activity. They passed the Patriot Act in pretty much the same form the regime demanded, extracting only a vague promise not to torture people before doing so.

No, this Congress isn't moving to the right of the Emperor and his minions. As I pointed out in a post from a couple of days ago, it's an election year. Bush's poll numbers are in the tank. A little push-back on what will probably be just a minor issue now that the UAE has backed down satisfied the folks back home.

It's business as usual.

3 Comments:

Blogger konopelli/WGG said...

what gets missed in this, imho, is that it might make other arab investors edgy. they hold soooo much debt...not mebbe as much as china...but if they aren't buying our armaments, the trade debt soars...

otoh, the busheviks could be the pawns of the Saudis cracking the whip in their neck of the woods.
Next up, Iran: check this out

http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2006/03/harm_and_pain.html
>

4:21 PM  
Blogger konopelli/WGG said...

Gonna try the link
>again

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, how's this?

6:04 PM  

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