Port pourri

Apparently, the Coast Guard had issued a report questioning the homeland security implications of portions of the proposed Dubai Ports World’s acquisition of the American operations of British Peninsular and Oriental, the current operator of some ports, after which DPW will operate six twenty-one American ports. While some Republican senators, like Susan Collins of Maine, appear gung ho on having hearings to inquire as to implications of the deal, it looks like Bill Frist has been brought back to the reservation, and he favors waiting the whole 45 days of the voluntary rubber stamp sweetheart non-Congressional review that DPW proposes “submitting” to.
Meanwhile, this piece from Fox News lays out a number of the legislative proposals floating around, including those of Senators Schumer and Collins to require Congress to approve or disapprove of the deal within 30 days after the executive branch rubber stamp review. Other bills are a ludicrous bill sponsored by the ludicrous Senators Clinton and Menendez (NJ’s newest senator replacing Corzine who became governor) to ban foreign companies from operating American ports (good luck!) and yet another bill sponsored by Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to beef up security measures at ports and other sensitive locations in general.
In the meantime, the White House seems hellbent on going forward with this. This from the BBC tells us that GOP Senator Lindsey Graham also wants to hold up the ports deal.
Have you figured it out yet? Exactly. Neither Frist nor Bush is running for anything this year, so they can be downright blahse about the criticism, and insist that bid’ness is bid’ness. The other senators– both parties– are not lame ducks, and realize that the years and years of cognitive dissonance the Bush Administration has been programming us all with (Arabs = Terrorists) is coming home to roost, here and now, with this [politically insane] maneuver.
We’ll see how it goes. IMHO, the situation is radioactive. Not in the homeland security sense, as my read on this is that it probably really will make no difference one way or another in any practical sense whether this deal goes forward (and I live four blocks from a seaport, albeit not one subject to this deal)… but in the political sense… for years, Republican members of Congress have helped ensure that “the war President” made sure Democrats were unable to make a chink in the Republicans’ “we’re tough on national security” impregnable castle wall, only to see their beloved President now lower the drawbridge over the moat, open the castle gate and dismiss all of the guards for lunch… just as the GOP senators and Congress members prepare for the ’06 mid-terms.
The castle guards, it would seem, are not the only ones out to lunch…