Thursday, February 23, 2006

Trying To Make Some Sense Out Of The Portgate Deal

At, Neal has desperately been trying to understand the rationale behind the White House's insistence that the Portgate deal be allowed to happen:

I've tried ... tried hard ... but it's no use. I just can't understand why George Bush is so invested in this idea of turning the operations at six essential U.S. ports, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia, over to a foreign government ... and an Islamic foreign government at that.

And you know what? I can't make a lot of sense out of it either.

Since 9/11, I have been pretty much supportive of the President. Before then, I didn't much care about him, one way or the other. Since that horrible day, I have had a few differences of opinion with him. In some areas he hasn't gone far enough for my tastes and in others, he has miscalculated and/or underestimated some things. But overall, I do believe that he has done a much better job than either Gore or Kerry would have, had either one of them been elected. (With Wooden Al's reinventions and Kerry's vote for funding the troops before he voted against it act, who knows just what the hell they would have done.)

Yet, with all of the things that he has done that have been positive and all of the things that he has been able to accomplish, he now has me thoroughly confused. I, like Neal, cannot process this data appropriately enough. This does not compute. Just what are they thinking? Do they not realize that people (including many people that voted for Mr. Bush) are a little more than apprehensive about this? Do they not care that free thinking and intelligent people are feeling alternating emotions, bewilderment and anger?

Trying to analyze this is difficult. Invitations to the inner circle meetings that deal with this issue may be in high demand, but the supply is low. Very low. But as always, there are prognosticators on both sides of the aisle with some unlikely alliances (courtesy of AC at Fore Left) and bitter/vindictive members of the media that have spent a lot of time and energy, dreaming up every kind of theory imagineable; which is evidenced by the angles in which they present their coverage, always looking for an anti-Bush spin.

Take for instance
this one theory offered up by a commenter on my friend AICS's Logic Lifeline blog, who calls himself, Bill Of Rights:

I say this is straight out of the Karl Rove handbook.

The Republican-controlled Congress passes a law banning the port transfers, citing national security concerns. Bush steamrolls members of his own party to push through a wildly reckless idea and issues his first veto ever. A veto that every American rightfully thinks could threaten national security. The Republican-controlled Congress responds with a veto-override and VOILA, they head strong into the mid-term elections claiming the banner of national security champions again (despite their original disdain for the countless Democrat-sponsored measures, including the Office of Homeland Security). They tout this in the run-up and through the midterm campaigns and on into 2008. Bush could care less because he's outta there in 2008 anyways, and it'll be his gift to the Party.

As much as I would like to think that we have a modern-day Machiavelli advising the President, this doesn't make a lot of sense. Democrats are leading the charge on this, already. And I suspect many GOP are only signing on board because they see the overhwelming opposition by their constituencies. Therefore, the Dems stand to gain more.

It's apparent that many on the left just can't have a simple debate about anything, without a good Karl Rove conspiracy theory being interjected to keep their whacked out base interested in the issues. Simple facts are just not dramatic enough.

Then we have the MSM mogul
the AP and their spin on the situation:

The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.

More believable than the first, at least it makes some sense. Secret deals for intelligence have been made throughout the course of history and this Administration has no doubt made them. And I do not fault them for doing it, when our national security is at stake. But this one has more potential to backfire, than many of those in the past.

But if that isn't enough,
Fox News has their version of how things have transpired:

WASHINGTON — President Bush was unaware that a controversial deal to sell shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a United Arab Emirates-owned firm was in the works until it was approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

So, there we have it. We have a Rove plot, a secret deal, and no prior knowledge theories to chew on. Which one you choose to believe, will depend highly on what ideology you hold. MoveOn.Org cult types go for the gusto and jump on the Rove conspiracy bandwagon, left wing elitists see the secret deal as the answer, and Bush apologists are always ready with the White House didn't know, excuse.

What do I think?

I just think it's very bad idea that needs to be looked at more closely and if there is any doubt at all, it needs to be scrapped. I have heard many different arguments for and against. I believe that there is no way to guarantee upper echelons of the DP management will not become vulnerable to jihadist forces that seek information about our classified security policies and procedures that they will suddenly have access to. And that is a risk, none of us should be willing to take.

What about you?


All_I_Can_Stands said...

Another thing that makes it difficult to process is the list of people supporting and against. A few examples:

Bush / Chertoff / Rice / Rove
Tommy Franks
Rush Limbaugh is fairly neutral
Coast Gurad Admiral in charge of port security (did not catch his name)

Savage / Hannity / Hewitt / Laura Ingraham

I am sure there are other names that should be on the list that make this a real head scratcher.

Gindy said...

I don't think that it is as bad as everyone thinks. But, I am just not comfortable with it. What if it just makes us 2% more vulnerable. That is 2% too much for me. The real infuriating thing about it is how the President threatened a veto for just wanting to delay the process 45 days. Of all of the things to use your first veto on, this would have been redicules.

A.C. said...

The real infuriating thing about it is how the President threatened a veto for just wanting to delay the process 45 days.

That seemed out of sorts for the situation. Surely he had to know the average Joe was not gonna like this deal.

While I'm not as overly concerned about security as some, perhaps we can all agree on one thing--the White House communications office us apparently not being staffed anymore.

Always On Watch said...

I can't support GWB on this one. I keep remembering how Islam divides the world into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. IMO, UAE's ideology is the guiding principle when it comes to the choice.

Bush threatened the veto WAY too early. That bristling is sometimes part of his nature, but somehow I think that more is behind his quick reaction.

One thing is certain to me: this issue is going to divide, and the division will favor the Dems.