A Dubai-ous Argument

By: Thomas Lindaman

Republican infighting = Republicans out the door

Congressional Republicans, I have a question for you. Are you trying to lose the 2006 midterm elections?

The recent infighting over the Dubai port deal has me wondering if you guys have your heads in the game. With less than 8 months until the elections, you guys are making the Democrats look organized and united, and that takes some doing! Apparently you’ve seen the Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and said, “I think we can do that, too, but better.”

For those of you playing along at home who thought Dubai was how George W. Bush mangled his nickname “Dubya,” let’s take a trip down memory lane. Sherman, prepare the Wayback Machine for…about three weeks ago. (Not much of a trip, I grant you, but the fare was cheap. And, oddly enough, so am I.) This is when we started hearing rumors of a deal where the UAE bought a British company responsible for security at six American ports. Some Republicans and conservatives, such as Rush Limbaugh, came out in favor of the deal. Others, such as Sean Hannity, came out against it. Still others, such as your friendly neighborhood publisher, came out…and admitted we didn’t know where we stood.

This was one of the most frustrating things about the Dubai port deal. There weren’t many facts, but there were a lot of people claiming to have the truth. Think the New York Times, but with better reporters. In the whirlwind of spin that would make Enrico Fermi jealous, people were only getting part of the picture. And when that happens, people will react irrationally.

I think this is what drove the Congressional Republicans going against the President on the port deal. Right now, Congress has ratings so low that they could go on a cross-country killing spree and their numbers would go up. With the Republican hold on both the House and Senate being relatively slim, the GOP knows they need their base to show up to have even a glimmer of hope to retain control of one or both houses of Congress. So, when Hannity and his listeners start grumbling about national
security and patriotism, it spooked them, so they were caught having to scramble for an explanation. And when put on the spot like that, they relied on the one excuse that always gets them out of a jam.

“I didn’t know.”

And if you believe they didn’t know, I have a bridge to nowhere I’d love to sell you, provided Congress doesn’t sue me for copyright infringement.

The thing is Republicans didn’t need to be spooked by the deal. There were some upsides to the deal that any politically-minded Republican couldn’t ignore.

1. The UAE has become a valuable ally in the war on terrorism. Sure, the country has had ties to terrorism. Then again, just about everybody in the Middle East does. It’s the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, International Terrorism Edition. But with Iran acting crazier than Ross Perot doing truck stop speed with Art Bell and Sybil, we need a foothold in the Middle East beyond merely Iraq. Dubai provides that additional foothold that gives us the ability to strike at Iran if need be.

2. It helps keep the flow of oil from the Middle East going. I know we’re trying to get away from it, but oil isn’t something we can kick overnight. Weaning ourselves from foreign oil is in the works right now and we’ve only just begun. (And I’m sorry for putting that Carpenters song in everybody’s heads just now.) Until we have a better handle on alternate fuels, we need to keep the oil coming. Keeping friendly with Dubai helps us in this regard due to the Strait of Hormuz, a major waterway
for oil exporting. And who else can impact what goes on in that waterway? Iran. So, until we can work out how to get the foreign oil monkey off our backs or someone develops Nicorette for oil, we need to keep all of our options open.

3. The deal would have helped us reduce foreign debt. Dubai holds some debt against the United States. There weren’t that many details that came out about the port deal, but one of the ones that did was that Dubai was willing to forgive at least some of our debt to them and pay us on top of it. Now, I’m no businessman, but I believe that’s what is called a win-win situation. And given how conservatives and Republicans are concerned about the amount of foreign debt we’re racking up, I would
think they would have jumped at the chance to reduce some of that debt.

4. The Dubai port deal gives Democrats a chance to appear tough on national security. When it comes to national security issues, Republicans have had the Democrats’ numbers like a clairvoyant playing Powerball. People simply don’t trust Democrats to protect the country. But with the Dubai port deal, Democrats came out against it for the sole purpose of trying to steal the national security issue away from Republicans. And what did the Congressional Republicans do by and large? They let them do
it! Republicans can’t risk letting the Democrats gain any ground on national security issues. Take that away from the GOP, and the chances of Democrats taking control of Congress goes up exponentially.

There are others I could mention, but it would be considered piling on and you get the idea. The Dubai port deal should have been an easy slam dunk for the President and the Republicans, but due to some grandstanding, skittish behavior designed to protect individuals’ political futures, and short-sightedness that would give Mr. Magoo 20/20 vision, the issue is all but dead and the Republicans wound up looking like a party divided. If you guys don’t get on the same page and fast, you’ll hear
five of the scariest words you will ever hear.

“House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.”

Well, either that or “Thomas Lindaman isn’t wearing pants.”

Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.

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