Wednesday :: Feb 22, 2006

Now Bush Says He Didn't Know About Port Deal Until After It Was Approved

by Steve

Who the hell is running this place?

Can someone explain several things to me about the UAE state-owned corporate takeover of the management of several key East/Gulf coast ports that for some reason George W. Bush is determined to risk his first veto should that pesky Congress dare to provide a check and balance on executive decisions?

1. Why does Bush want this deal to go through so badly?

2. Does the Carlyle Group have business dealings with the UAE that are helped by this deal?

3. If John Snow’s CSX sold a part of its operations to this same company awhile back, then why did he have any involvement at all in expediting a review of this deal through the foreign investment committee?

4. How long will it be before the media notices that some of the Republicans who blocked Democratic efforts to improve port security these last several years are the same ones now complaining about this deal?

And best of all, if Bush is so steadfast that Congress should butt out of questioning this deal, simply because he, Emperor Bush says so, then why is he now backing away from it by saying he didn’t know about it until it had been cleared by his underlings? Is this his way to show he had no influence on this deal (see Number 2 above), or does he think it is better to look disengaged from what his administration is doing so that he can obtain some needed separation when Congress and his own party leadership on Capitol Hill tell him they will oppose him on this?

Of course, the real issue here, as David Sirota tells us, is that money, global trade, and pleasing their Middle Eastern masters have always mattered more to this administration than national security.

But was this really a fight Bush wanted at this time, when it appeared he was about to tone down the rhetoric and possibly win the NSA battle over the coming weeks? And when Bush tries to tell Congress not to worry, that everyone in the administration has looked at this deal very carefully, I guess that doesn’t include both him and Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom didn’t know about it or have lied about not being briefed on it. And if Bush and Rumsfeld weren’t involved in reviewing the front end of this deal, and it was left to Snow, who already had done business with this company in the private sector, why shouldn’t Congress now be concerned about the administration’s due diligence in approving this deal?

Would anyone have guessed that something like this would derail them for critical weeks running up to the midterms, with so many inside the party fighting them on it? (Who the hell is paying attention today to Bush talking about switchgrass or anything else for that matter?) Look, some of this is about racism, and you know what? After 9/11, I plead guilty to being more concerned and yes, more discriminatory about Middle Easterners than I was before. So sue me.

But for Bush and others who say stupidly that no one questioned the foreign management of these ports by the British, I would remind Mr. “My Pet Goat” that of the 19 murderers on 9/11, more of them were from the UAE (2) than from Great Britain (0). And the UAE isn’t exactly clean when it comes to Al Qaeda or the Taliban. So please stop denigrating the justified opposition to this deal. Years of pissing on Congress, devaluing American jobs, Persian Gulf special treatment, pay-to-play policymaking, and paying lip service to port and homeland security is what is feeding this problem for Bush. And if he doesn’t find a way to get his own party to back down on this quickly, this will be Katrina all over again.

Trust me, this is not the position the GOP wants to be in heading into the midterms. I suspect that Bush himself now understands that siding with Dubai over Main Street is not smart either.

Update: As Duckman notes, there's this now:

While House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed any connection between the deal and David Sanborn of Virginia, a former senior DP World executive whom the White House appointed last month to be the new administrator of the Maritime Administration of the Transportation Department. Sanborn worked as DP World’s director of operations for Europe and Latin America.
“My understanding is that he has assured us that he was not involved in the negotiations to purchase this British company,” McClellan added.
“In terms of David Sanborn, he was nominated to run the Maritime Administration because of his experience and expertise,” the spokesman said. Sanborn is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He is an operations professional.

Yup, there's only so many maritime professionals around anyway who just came from a company that he will now be overseeing to some degree, so why should anyone question this administration's motives?

Update #2: Note how the DCCC has deftly turned Karl Rove's boast about the difference between Republicans and Democrats on national security after 9/11 on its head.

Image courtesy of
Hat tip to and ThinkProgress as well

Steve :: 8:03 AM :: Comments (51) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!