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Port Whine: Why Republicans should stop their bickering about the Dubai debacle.
Slate ^ | February 22, 2005 | John Dickerson

Posted on 02/22/2006 5:41:07 PM PST by quidnunc

Republicans, who usually have the good sense to avoid fratricide, are engaged in perhaps the most vicious intramural squabble of the Bush presidency over the deal allowing Dubai Ports World to control operations at several major U.S. seaports. The controversy ignited in an instant and has now involved virtually every prominent Republican in Washington and a bunch of Republican governors near the affected ports.

-snip-

Congressional leaders are feeling cranky and neglected. Bush is always doing stuff without telling them, and they're always grumbling he doesn't recognize that they're up for re-election this year. So, it probably feels very satisfying to push back at him for a change. And their opposition also seems like smart politics, at least superficially. …

Those political calculations may make sense for today, but in the long term, this fight will harm the GOP. Republicans can't distance themselves from Bush on security issues. He's not only the head of their party; he's the commander in chief. By pouncing on this issue so quickly and joining Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, Republican leaders send a global message: They don't trust Bush. They don't trust him enough to even wait to understand the facts of the deal. They don't trust him enough to even worry that they might have their facts wrong and wind up embarrassed.

-snip-

The squabble will also irritate the president. He's tired of congressional second-guessing—especially in a case like this where GOP leaders willfully refuse to acknowledge the complexity of global diplomacy and the value of global capitalism. You don't hear the deal's critics explaining who exactly will control port security if not Dubai Ports World. …

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS:
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1 posted on 02/22/2006 5:41:10 PM PST by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc

Minor compared to the Harriet Myers selection.


2 posted on 02/22/2006 5:42:40 PM PST by pissant
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To: quidnunc

Bush will be irritated. Second term Presidents always are when their authority starts to ebb.

In concrete terms, this deal doesn't threaten American physical security at all. But the optics are pretty bad.


3 posted on 02/22/2006 5:43:43 PM PST by Vicomte13 (La Reine est gracieuse, mais elle n'est pas gratuite.)
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To: quidnunc
"The squabble will also irritate the president. He's tired of congressional second-guessing—especially in a case like this where GOP leaders willfully refuse to acknowledge the complexity of global diplomacy and the value of global capitalism."

What arrogance. Second guessing? Isn't that the intent of our Constitution and its balance of powers principle? Bush has blown it on this one.

4 posted on 02/22/2006 5:44:53 PM PST by Cornpone (Who Dares Wins -- Defame Islam Today -- Tell the Truth About Mohammed)
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To: quidnunc

Does this mean that Republicans rubber stamp everything Bush says and does, regardless of merit?

The President is mistaken on this issue.


5 posted on 02/22/2006 5:45:24 PM PST by Clintonfatigued (Bob Taft for Impeachment)
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To: quidnunc
By pouncing on this issue so quickly and joining Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, Republican leaders send a global message: They don't trust Bush.

Thats a tough one. Frist, Schumer and Clinton versus Bush and Carter? I'm going to need a coin, I'm too confused.

6 posted on 02/22/2006 5:45:56 PM PST by King Moonracer (All your exploding-head-deities are belong to us!)
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To: Vicomte13
In concrete terms, this deal doesn't threaten American physical security at all. But the optics are pretty bad

Bingo. He let the dems set the tempo on this one. He knew that the dems have been hard up to federalize the ports. They should have seen this one coming.

7 posted on 02/22/2006 5:47:54 PM PST by bad company ("Any damned fool can write a plan. It's the execution that gets you all screwed up." - James F. Hol.)
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To: Clintonfatigued

If Dubia Worl Port doesn't take over the day to day operations, then who will?


8 posted on 02/22/2006 5:48:53 PM PST by Nasty McPhilthy (Those who beat their swords into plow shears….will plow for those who don’t.)
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To: Vicomte13

Someone should ask Bush if he would like the Arabs to take over his personal security detail - see if the Secret Service would like to turn over their weapons to the Moos - good enough for all of us, good enough for him.


9 posted on 02/22/2006 5:49:56 PM PST by Luker
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To: quidnunc

it is positively amazing to read the belligerant rants of all the FReepers who have suddenly jumped in the bed of the "one whose name must not be mentioned". After all the Whitewater crap, there they are, in her bed doing only God knows what.

I hope they don't catch something. I hope that if they do it isn't contagious.


10 posted on 02/22/2006 5:50:46 PM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. Slay Pinch)
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To: Vicomte13
In concrete terms, this deal doesn't threaten American physical security at all.

I would agree with you if Dubai Ports World was a private company. But I think Neal Boortz has it right this time that the United States has never been attacked by a private company.

11 posted on 02/22/2006 5:50:58 PM PST by Ben Mugged (labor unions are socialism's shock troops)
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To: Nasty McPhilthy

There is no way that Dubia Worl Port is the only company which can do this. What's so unreasonable about an American company performing this function?


12 posted on 02/22/2006 5:52:57 PM PST by Clintonfatigued (Bob Taft for Impeachment)
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To: Clintonfatigued

Please, didn't you get the memo; you must be assimulated. The Republican party will no longer tolerate any opinion that is contrary to that of his Highness George W Bush.


13 posted on 02/22/2006 5:54:33 PM PST by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: Nasty McPhilthy
"If Dubia Worl Port doesn't take over the day to day operations, then who will?" ****
14 posted on 02/22/2006 5:54:41 PM PST by kiriath_jearim
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To: quidnunc
>>>>Republicans can't distance themselves from Bush on security issues.

Wrong! Republicans have distanced themselves from PresBush on this issue and rightfully so. On this issue Bush is deadwrong.

15 posted on 02/22/2006 5:54:57 PM PST by Reagan Man (Secure our borders;punish employers who hire illegals;stop all welfare to illegals)
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To: quidnunc

Basically at the end of the day the argument comes down to this by the anti port people. NO Arabs Period- Dont LIke Muslims there crazy-

I have seen people all day on these threads say "hey the more I learned the more comfortable I was with this"

The President has the gosh darn common sense to know the Forign policy disaster if he renigged on this deal because there "arab". Folks the world moved on. the arabs own alot including a bit of our national debt. We have a future engagement with Iran in our future. I really cant expect UAE to put their people in danger and all those pretty new buildings as well as their ports To IRanian missiles if we treat them like a common prositiute. LOng term and Short term because the Dems and Republicans have made this a "race" issue and "religion" issue the President will have to veto it. IN fact in some tiny way the anti arab and anti Islamic rants have forced him to do that since the whole world is watching.


16 posted on 02/22/2006 5:55:25 PM PST by bayourant
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To: King Moonracer
Thats a tough one. Frist, Schumer and Clinton versus Bush and Carter? I'm going to need a coin, I'm too confused.

New York Times against it, Wall St. Journal for it. ;)

17 posted on 02/22/2006 5:57:01 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (Dubai-u's fault--The Port Non-Issue is Hillary's Sistah Soulja moment)
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To: ARCADIA
Please, didn't you get the memo; you must be assimulated. The Republican party will no longer tolerate any opinion that is contrary to that of his Highness George W Bush.

Yeah, because obviously NO Republican is against this, NO Republican commentators...and ONLY 95% of FR.

Please, be against the deal if you like but spare us the victim pose when you all are the ones following the MSM herd on this one.

18 posted on 02/22/2006 5:58:53 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (Dubai-u's fault--The Port Non-Issue is Hillary's Sistah Soulja moment)
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To: quidnunc
The politicos, pundits and the MSM are spouting off opinions, not based on fact or knowledge of the deal in question, and in the bigger picture, shipping operations, port operations, port and cargo security. Second, they know little or nothing about the company in question, other than the location of its headquarters.

They would be surprised to learn that the company in question works and has a longstanding relationship with Israeli shipping interests and handles a good portion of their operations. Second, the company is the front line cargo transit operator for our military in the region, that is responsible for cargo and supplies heading to and from our troops in the field. The UAE has served as both an operation center and is complete with air facilities, port facilities and numerous mini bases from which our military operates command and control functions and work integrally with our intelligence units located there. They supply minor repairs, fuel and supplies for our naval assets in the region and other support functions, water, mail, sewage, lightering, harbor services,etc.

These port related functions provided to our military in particular the Navy are provided by this company. They work closely with them and are a important link in the logistic operations in the region.

Last, terminal operators and cargo handlers, are not responsible for port security, cargo security, cargo inspections and other security related procedures, operations. Ultimately these functions fall on the Port Authority, Port Police, USDA, Customs Service, INS and the U.S.C.G.
19 posted on 02/22/2006 5:59:13 PM PST by FFIGHTER (Character Matters!)
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To: quidnunc
Republican leaders send a global message: They don't trust Bush.

Cool, I don't trust the doubletalking, backstabbing little weasel either.
Heck, he's already responsible for sinking us over $2 Trillion deeper in debt.

20 posted on 02/22/2006 6:00:01 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: quidnunc

Why no advice for Democrats who feel the same way? Are they that irrelevant to politics now?


21 posted on 02/22/2006 6:01:09 PM PST by Democratshavenobrains
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To: bayourant
Good post. I was one who was kneejerk against it until I read FACTS instead of the heated rhetoric of the MSM, which has been SO hard on Bush for NOT being hard on the terrorists.

No one seems to be able to answer why they're against it other than "Arabs caused 9-11!"

I'd love there to be a thread here on FR from which the rest of us voluntarily don't post, and only those with experience in this field post back and forth. I know it won't happen but it would be cool to see only those who actually know what they're talking about talk about this.

22 posted on 02/22/2006 6:01:58 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (Dubai-u's fault--The Port Non-Issue is Hillary's Sistah Soulja moment)
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To: quidnunc

It shows why the Republicans with a majority in congress have accomplished exactly nothing. They are so busy managing their image instead of the nation's business. If the democrats had any leadership they would be running rings around this bunch of wimps.


23 posted on 02/22/2006 6:02:25 PM PST by Steamburg (Pretenders everywhere)
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To: Vicomte13

I've reconsidered. I'm on your side now.


24 posted on 02/22/2006 6:03:23 PM PST by Ben Mugged (labor unions are socialism's shock troops)
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To: Clintonfatigued
What's so unreasonable about an American company performing this function?

The functionality of the company is not the issue here. American companies operate a number of port terminals all over the place. Maher Terminal in Port Newark (New Jersey), for example, is a private company that has a reputation as one of the best terminal operators in New York harbor.

The problem is that an independent terminal operator like Maher is in no position to pony up $6.8 billion to buy a major global corporate player like P&O Ports. And none of these global shipping conglomerates with terminal operations and maritime vessels all over the world are American-owned, because historically the nature of the global shipping business made it impossible for these companies to locate their headquarters in the U.S. due to our anti-trust laws.

25 posted on 02/22/2006 6:03:29 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: bayourant
The President has the gosh darn common sense to know the Forign policy disaster if he renigged on this deal because there "arab".

In case you have fogotten Islam - the "religion of peace" - is the enemy. If you have a problem with that concept, just pack your bags, go there, and a nice member of that religion will volunteer to take your head off.
26 posted on 02/22/2006 6:03:32 PM PST by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: Clintonfatigued

Why didn't an American company submitt a proposal to manage them then?


27 posted on 02/22/2006 6:04:40 PM PST by Nasty McPhilthy (Those who beat their swords into plow shears….will plow for those who don’t.)
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: Alberta's Child
The problem is that an independent terminal operator like Maher is in no position to pony up $6.8 billion to buy a major global corporate player like P&O Ports.

$6.8 billion? We piss that off in an afternoon. Lets buy out P&Os US contract and offer the management for bid to several US companies.
29 posted on 02/22/2006 6:07:51 PM PST by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: quidnunc
They don't trust Bush. They don't trust him enough to even wait to understand the facts of the deal. They don't trust him enough to even worry that they might have their facts wrong and wind up embarrassed.

Clearly conservatives do not trust Dubya. It was painfully obvious when they skewered Miers. Those who didn't betray Dubya then will probably blast him now so they can prove their independence.

Dubya is the Rodney Dangerfield of Presidents. He don't get no respect. How twisted must one's mindset be to think Dubya wants to leave a legacy of unsafe American ports? His speeches and battles to take down Afghanistan and Iraq all just a cynical ploy to reward his arab oil buddies.

Or perhaps conservatives just think Dubya is stupid.

I don't know if I want to call myself a conservative if the definition is just "cynic"...I'm a optimistic Reagan Republican.

30 posted on 02/22/2006 6:09:27 PM PST by Once-Ler (The rat 06 election platform will be a promise to impeach the President if they win.)
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To: Luker

Poor analogy. All security operations at the ports, such as they are, will be unaffected by the turnover.

It is possible, however, that the discussion could lead to needed improvements.


31 posted on 02/22/2006 6:10:32 PM PST by Nasty McPhilthy (Those who beat their swords into plow shears….will plow for those who don’t.)
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To: ARCADIA; All

Listen I know enough about History to know the true religion of Peace has not been stellar either-That is Christianity. What amazes me is this yall have given in. Given in to that idiot bin Laden. Bin LAden wanted to created this war of civilizations. Its quite a shame. A few thousand muslims protesting and a few riots sent all yall over into a bigoted rage. In contrast , most of the guys I have talked to with the Louisiana National Guard that actually saw death and God knows what else are all on the same page. Democracy in Iraq can work. They meant everyday muslims and they found out they were not possessed by the Devil. Quite a shame a bunch of KIds age 19 to 24 now men really have more sense than most here. Well folks I am not giving in. Viva Freedom.


32 posted on 02/22/2006 6:11:31 PM PST by bayourant
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To: FFIGHTER

I think the information you provide here in a couple of paragraphs is more helpful in 'selling' this to the American people than the rhetorical shuffling coming out of the Bush administration. I think the world of "W", but the defense of the WH position on this has been, 'we looked at it, it's ok.' So, why can't they do what you do and try to bring some perspective to the situation? I don't think it helps anyone to go off the deep end and freak out about the decision but it sure would be helpful to have more info. We all know what happens when info is missing,,,it gets filled in from various places and then the problem just gets bigger and takes on a life of it's own. I think we are watching that happen here.


33 posted on 02/22/2006 6:12:10 PM PST by austinaero
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To: Luker

"see if the Secret Service would like to turn over their weapons to the Moos - good enough for all of us, good enough for him"

Non-sequitur.
Port security is handled by the Coast Guard and various port security agencies: the government.
And the loading and unloading is operated by American stevedores in the stevedores union. There will be no Arabs having anything to do with security. Some Arab owner somewhere will get a cash flow from this US company, because he owns it. He'll have no power to direct anything regarding security, because that's governmental, or about who unloads ships, because that's unionized.
There is no security issue here at all, when you drill down.
It just looks bad, because "port" and "Arab" are in the same sentence. But actually, there won't be any Arabs near any ports.


34 posted on 02/22/2006 6:13:30 PM PST by Vicomte13 (La Reine est gracieuse, mais elle n'est pas gratuite.)
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To: austinaero

It amazes me, that instead of providing facts and outlining them to the pundits, politicos and the MSM, they stick their collective heads in the sand and ignore the problem, instead of taking the offense and putting it to rest.


35 posted on 02/22/2006 6:15:34 PM PST by FFIGHTER (Character Matters!)
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To: austinaero

It amazes me, that instead of providing facts and outlining them to the pundits, politicos and the MSM, they stick their collective heads in the sand and ignore the problem, instead of taking the offense and putting it to rest.


36 posted on 02/22/2006 6:15:44 PM PST by FFIGHTER (Character Matters!)
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To: Ben Mugged
I would agree with you if Dubai Ports World was a private company. But I think Neal Boortz has it right this time that the United States has never been attacked by a private company.

If Dubai Ports World has lost the bid to the only other company bidding, Singapore government-owned PSA, would we even be having this discussion? It's only because the company is owned by the United ARAB Emirates. Nevermind that the UAE is one of our allies in the war on terror, people are letting fear and prejudice overcome reason.

37 posted on 02/22/2006 6:16:46 PM PST by Elyse
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To: Ben Mugged

Private company ? Isn't Al-Qaeda a private organization ?


38 posted on 02/22/2006 6:16:52 PM PST by Sam the Sham (A conservative party tough on illegal immigration could carry California in 2008)
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To: Vicomte13
But actually, there won't be any Arabs near any ports.

Is that part of the contract? I must have missed that paragraph.
39 posted on 02/22/2006 6:18:01 PM PST by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: Once-Ler

He is leaving a legacy of unsafe borders. He did as Governor of Texas and he is doing so as President.

Bush is a WSJ globalist at heart. And if the GOP fawningly goes along with this we could very well be out of power for a generation.


40 posted on 02/22/2006 6:18:39 PM PST by Sam the Sham (A conservative party tough on illegal immigration could carry California in 2008)
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To: Baynative
I agree with most of Galen's conclusions, but disagree with this:

This port deal is not a national security issue. It is an issue of this administration having a continuing problem with understanding how these things will play in the public’s mind and not taking steps to set the stage so these things don’t come as a shock and are presented in their worst possible light.

Who can possibly predict what tangent the mad-dog Democrats are liable to to start baying off on next?

There's no way congresscreatures can be thoroughly briefed on everything the federal government.

41 posted on 02/22/2006 6:19:30 PM PST by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: Luker

Excellent point!!!!!!!!!!!!


42 posted on 02/22/2006 6:21:02 PM PST by Conservative Goddess (Politiae legibus, non leges politiis, adaptandae)
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To: quidnunc
Key points to me.

Congressional leaders are feeling cranky and neglected. Bush is always doing stuff without telling them, and they're always grumbling he doesn't recognize that they're up for re-election this year. So, it probably feels very satisfying to push back at him for a change......

Spoiled Children.

Republicans also pay no price for such flouting of the president, because Bush's approval ratings are so low. In fact, some believe that running from Bush may be the key to their 2006 electoral survival or 2008 presidential hopes.

Those political calculations may make sense for today, but in the long term, this fight will harm the GOP. Republicans can't distance themselves from Bush on security issues. He's not only the head of their party; he's the commander in chief. By pouncing on this issue so quickly and joining Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, Republican leaders send a global message: They don't trust Bush. They don't trust him enough to even wait to understand the facts of the deal. They don't trust him enough to even worry that they might have their facts wrong and wind up embarrassed.

Bingo.

Maybe Republicans have valid reasons for not trusting Bush, but it's foolish for them to think they can separate their fortunes from his on this issue. When Republican-leaning voters go to bed at night, they don't find comfort in the fact that Bill Frist is protecting them. They pin their hopes on George Bush. If Bush is weakened, they're not likely to be comforted by the fact that Bill Frist is still at the helm of the Senate defending the homeland.

Dead on.

Divorce Bush on national security and voters will vote Democrat. Why? Because they have faith in G.W.B. to protect them from the terrorists. At least far more faith then they do Democrats. They have no faith in the weak kneed other Republicans on the Hill. Substract the President from the equasion and this House of Majority falls. The Republican Party cannot credibly run on strength of national security when they write terrorist protection provisions, recomend withdrawal in '06, and bow down before the Democrats/MSm on daily basis.

The squabble will also irritate the president. He's tired of congressional second-guessing—especially in a case like this where GOP leaders willfully refuse to acknowledge the complexity of global diplomacy and the value of global capitalism. You don't hear the deal's critics explaining who exactly will control port security if not Dubai Ports World. (And why are there not more pro-market conservative commentators pointing out that in the global war on terror we must embrace countries like the United Arab Emirates in the interest of winning hearts and minds in the Middle East?)

Good points.

But that's what Republicans always accuse Democrats of doing—playing identity politics when they don't agree with your policies. Bush didn't like it very much when, after the administration's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, Democrats charged that he didn't like blacks. Why does he hint at the same kind of thing now?

Given Karl Rove's interview with hannity, it sounds as though some pols on the Hill are making prejudiced statements about arabs. I wager this is where the President became convinced it's all anti-Arabic sentiment behind this. he's wrong to suggest it's all because of that sentiment, much of the resistance is not arising from bigots. But apparently he's in close contact with some folks on the Hill distorting his opinion on this manner. I suppose in retrospect this is where he got the idea resistance to Miers was sexist in nature. My response is that the prez needs to get away from D.C. more. The pols aren't quite representatives of the characters of their districts. Well, some are but most aren't.

Sen. John McCain may be the only politician who might come out a winner from the port storm. He played the politics well, critiquing the deal but urging caution and prudence. That might help moderate his occasional reputation as a hothead.

As one that doesn't like McCain nor trust him, I'm forced to agree. He was among the only ones to while suggest further review, as well also slam folks for not having more faith in the President given his record on the WOT.

43 posted on 02/22/2006 6:25:49 PM PST by Soul Seeker (Mr. President: It is now time to turn over the money changers' tables.)
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To: Once-Ler
Clearly conservatives do not trust Dubya. It was painfully obvious when they skewered Miers. Those who didn't betray Dubya then will probably blast him now so they can prove their independence.

Oh, cease with this nonsense.

The difference between then and now is that conservatives had solid arguments against her confirmation while the administration was reliant on arguments that she was a woman and a friend as qualification for the job. In this instance, it is the opposite. Most folks arguing against the sale are not arguing fact and reason, only emotion. While arguments in favor seem to be winning converts as more facts emerge.

I opposed Miers and didn't do so to gain independence. I'm not sold on this port deal, but I'm leaning more to the administration's side currently. certainly I've done my fair share of denouncing the hysterics at least.

The one part of your post of any merit is that is is absurd to think the president is selling our security to terrorists intentionally. Folks advancing that lunacy have departed reality.

44 posted on 02/22/2006 6:32:47 PM PST by Soul Seeker (Mr. President: It is now time to turn over the money changers' tables.)
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To: ARCADIA

What? The Arabs are going to ship in rafts of people and be allowed to break the union contract?

Owners of unionized businesses in America are not in command of who gets to do the work. The unions are. Think the unions are just going to let Arabs come in, put them out of work, and start sabotaging the US?
Not going to happen.
Think anybody down in those ports is going to trust any Arab to do anything?
Again, not going to happen.


45 posted on 02/22/2006 6:33:27 PM PST by Vicomte13 (La Reine est gracieuse, mais elle n'est pas gratuite.)
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To: FFIGHTER
They would be surprised to learn that the company in question works and has a longstanding relationship with Israeli shipping interests and handles a good portion of their operations.

That is the single most important fact I've heard stated. The administration should advance this immediately. It would be hard for anyone to believe Israeli's are willfully turning their security interests over to folks that are plotting their massacre.

46 posted on 02/22/2006 6:35:30 PM PST by Soul Seeker (Mr. President: It is now time to turn over the money changers' tables.)
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To: Soul Seeker
One of Israel's largest trading partners are the Palestinians. In addition to the largest source of outside labor.
47 posted on 02/22/2006 6:37:30 PM PST by FFIGHTER (Character Matters!)
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To: FFIGHTER

Thank you for printing some facts conveniently omitted by the MSM. One big fiasco after another and why oh why do the republicans panic BEFORE they know the facts!!!


48 posted on 02/22/2006 6:39:29 PM PST by katiedidit1
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To: Sam the Sham
He is leaving a legacy of unsafe borders. He did as Governor of Texas and he is doing so as President.

Our borders have been a problem for a longtime. Some of the problem will subside when the Congress passes a guest-worker program.

Bush is a WSJ globalist at heart. And if the GOP fawningly goes along with this we could very well be out of power for a generation.

They called Reagan a free-trading globalist who cozied up to Gorbachev. Yet we are still a free nation.

The luddite conspiracy fringe is always certain the world will switch directions and start revolving their way tomorrow.

49 posted on 02/22/2006 6:39:29 PM PST by Once-Ler (The rat 06 election platform will be a promise to impeach the President if they win.)
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To: Once-Ler
Our borders have been a problem for a longtime. Some of the problem will subside when the Congress passes a guest-worker program.

Anyone who wants a guest worker program really wants no border security at all. Anyone who wants a guest worker program is perfectly willing to turn America into one big Nuevo Laredo so they can have cheap labor.

The security of America is worth more than the corporate bottom line.

50 posted on 02/22/2006 6:42:39 PM PST by Sam the Sham (A conservative party tough on illegal immigration could carry California in 2008)
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