Of Elections, Ports, and Political Posturing
By: Vincent Fiore
Regarding the recent misadventures of the Bush administration in relation to the running of several U.S. ports by a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company, here is a scenario that some on the left have breathlessly chattered on about:
While Cindy Sheehan and the Washington press pool were camped out on the Texas prairie last August, Karl Rove was busy.
It seems that Rove was brainstorming with Bush, the GOP leadership, and a few key outside-the-beltway supporters, concerning the idea that the UAE would have one of its largest companies–Dubai Ports World–manage and run six American ports.
Of course, Rove knew well in advance, as 80% of the American public came to realize, that this deal would be bad for America. Anything that jeopardizes the security of the country would naturally be a deal-breaker.
Arabs running U.S. ports? Absurd! That would be like the Red Chinese running ports in California, (they do) or Saudi Arabian pilots flying Saudi-owned planes all over the U.S. (they do, too) Or 82% of the drivers of yellow cabs that travel the arteries of New York’s Midtown, Manhattan, being foreign-born. Well, those are stories for another day.
Here, though, the plot thickens. Rove figures that since Bush isn’t running for anything anymore, he can afford to use him in the ultimate charade of “good cop, bad cop.”
The plan was to have Bush push for an obviously flawed and politically unpopular issue, and the UAE ports-deal was it. While Bush feigned ignorance regarding the deal, (nobody believes that, do they?) the upper and lower houses of Congress would start to howl.
And since both the Senate and the House of Representatives are run by the GOP, what better way to show one’s independence (as Rove planned it) from the administration than by hyperactively opposing it?
Even state officials, like New York Governor George Pataki and Maryland Governor Robert Erlich, would become visibly upset with President Bush when it became known that the UAE-aka al-Qaeda, would be coming to a port near them. Indeed. What else could these two future presidential candidates do but reject the deal on the face of it?
Amid the bellowing backdrop of that Mighty Mouse classic, “Here I come to save the day.,” the GOP-dominated Congress, along with elected and non-elected officials alike, sweep in to right the wrongs of an uninformed and careless Bush administration. As the thongs cheer, Karl Rove smiles to himself, knowing that he has averted sure disaster for the GOP come November.
If the above were even remotely true, then I might be swayed by the arguments from the left that Rove is indeed inhuman, and is intellectually responsible for George W. Bush’s thoughts every waking moment. But however much it might make sense, the above isn’t true.
The rush by Congress to condemn the UAE, the Bush administration, and now homeland security in general is, in essence, an election year exercise in cover-your-butt politics. It is incumbent cravenness at its most obvious.
Congress decided to hide behind the specter of 9/11. For their part, Republicans wanted to segregate themselves from a president that they see more and more as a lame duck. Bush’s poll numbers have been abysmal lately, and the numbers for Congress were even worse. What better way to create campaign stump issue than to create a terrorist state in the UAE? Simply put, this was a play on the fears of the American people.
On the other side of the political aisle, Democrats decided to embrace national security. This would be believable, if not for the fact that the Democratic Party–nearly as a whole–has rejected every tool created by President Bush to fight terrorism.
One need only listen to their rhetoric regarding the war in Iraq to see that Democrats have embraced a philosophy of defeat in Iraq, and the war against terrorism in general. Democrats have filibustered the Patriot Act, dragged their feet when it came to the setting up of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and have voted against troop funding.
Even now, Senator Russ Feingold, (D-Wis.) is attempting to censure President Bush over what the mainstream media still misreports as “domestic spying,” a reference to the legal and constitutionally protected National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program enacted against terrorists abroad who are trying to infiltrate the United States.
Though Feingold’s attempt won’t go far, it is meant as an election-year stunt. Feingold is also running for president, so he, like the Republicans in Congress, needed something to talk about in the upcoming months. If anything, the Democrats have behaved and accounted themselves as Vice President Cheney recently said: “Some Democrats in Congress have decided the president is the enemy.”
In an election year, GOP incumbents can be seen as doing almost anything to get reelected, including throwing their president to the wolves, (though it will be these same incumbents begging Bush to campaign with them soon enough) and racially profiling an entire country.
To be sure, the midterm elections are here and woe to the voter from now till Election Day. These political stunts won’t be the last, as incumbents will gladly use whatever is presented to them in order to preserve their power.
Vincent Fiore is a freelance political writer who lives in New York City. His work can be seen on a host of sites, including the American Conservative Union, GOPUSA, ChronWatch, and Opinioneditorials. Vincent is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance and a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He receives e-mail at: Anwar004@aol.com