Skip to comments.All Bush's Fault? (So far it is the pundits who are doing the backtracking, not the President.)
Posted on 02/23/2006 6:13:09 PM PST by new yorker 77
The conventional wisdom on the Dubai Ports World deal seems to have shifted in the last 24 hours. In the blogosphere the focus has jumped from its initial target -- the agreement itself -- to a new and familiar one: President Bush. For instance, Glenn Reynolds has decided:
I don't think there's any real security issue here, but I think the Bush Administration needs to launch a full-bore effort to explain what's actually going on, something that they still haven't really mounted...
I will admit that my knee jerked on hearing this story, and that I should have waited to learn more before offering an opinion. In my defense, I'll note that I gathered more information and changed my mind. Still, mea culpa.
But (and this is a separate point from the merits of the decision, or of my take thereon) it wasn't just me -- there were an awful lot of knees jerking on this decision, and the White House, or somebody, should have foreseen that. That doesn't get me off the hook, of course, but it doesn't reflect well on them, either.
James Lileks retreats somewhat as well:
The Bush administration may well be in the right, but they have handled this poorly the remarks about vetoing any Congressional efforts to block the sale may have been aimed at Congress, but they splashed right in the face of the voters. The crafty response would have been to acknowledge the worries, assure a complete and total review and disclosure, and let the facts speak for themselves.
Meanwhile Tim Cavanaugh offers examples of some points he thinks Bush should have made. Like Reynolds, he says the DPW deal "doesn't involve port security, and if opponents think there's a security risk they haven't provided any evidence for that." But according to Cavanaugh, Bush is in trouble because he was caught flat-footed and unprepared to argue such straightforward points. He asks:
Who could get out of this fix?
I'll tell you who: NAFTA-era Bill Clinton, that's who! Explaining stuff like this is what Bill Clinton lived for. Just think back to that Clintonian love of factoids, that congenial explanation of the benefits that you, the listener, will directly receive, that enthusiastic drive to get you to share the president's love of policy minutiae. Clinton was great at this stuff because, whatever else he was, he was a man of the people. He understood (as Bush does) the benefit of a barrier-free market that might leave, say, Dubai Ports World providing services to American harbors. And he knew that populist panics are stupid and almost always wrong. But unlike Bush, he realized that populist panics come from deep within people's hearts, and that you have to respect that.
Critics have raised some serious concerns over the DPW deal, and it is clear that Bush made a mistake by brushing off these concerns. To be sure, there is a strong opposition that will not be won over so easily on the merits of the agreement (see Malkin, Hewitt, Huffington). So far, though, it is the pundits who are doing the backtracking, not the President.
Posted by Nick Nordseth on February 23, 2006 04:45 PM
All I know is this issue has taken over FR much in the same way that the Schiavo saga did--with the same strong emotions too-candid posts. Also, my local talk radio host is completely married to the anti-port philosophy and has become unpalatable. Usually I listen in the mornings as I'm getting ready for the day but now I can't stand to listen to the rants. The anti-port faction seems to advance "it doesn't feel right" as its main argument.
Even Limbaugh said today that the deal doesn't bother him. He didn't exactly backtrack. He was remaining noncommital until the picture became more clear.
Conduct the extended 45-day review as mandated by law and most of the opposition will live with the final decision.
But there is no need to rush through this deal next week.
At least we know we can trust the media....
I agree the President needs to hold a prime time speech and explain how ports work and how security isnt going to change. Maybe he could have someone from DHS or Customs also give a speech.
It didn't. A lot of conservatives - whose objections still haven't all been addressed (see COSCO above) - went off like Roman candles and the Dems played it as they play all politics these days - if it's anti-Bush it gets the front page, accurate or not. In short, a political mess.
Could Bush personally have addressed it better? It isn't really his job. Could his staff have better prepared him? Absolutely.
Rush has been saying that all week. He has been for this from the start. Compare what he said on Monday to what Hannity and Levin said. You can tell Rush was for this from the start but did not know how to articulate it until later in the week.
What's funny to me is how many supporters of the president were supporting this before any of the facts even came out, and ardently so.
I'm against it and that's not gonna change. I just don't trust muslims to that extent, any of them!
Why? Because their own Koran says that they should take over the world and eradicate all religion except for Islam. I didn't write it! I didn't run out and marry a pre-teen girl. I didn't commit terrorism against all things non-muslim. And I didn't write a book that spews hatred primarily against Christians and Jews but generally speaking against all people non-muslim. I'm just reading it!
You might get me to trust an apostate muslim. Otherwise, as long as they lay claim to Islam, I'm "keeping at least one eye on them."
I wonder how Michelle Malkin feels about being on the same side as huffington.
I fully support this deal. Has President Bush proven nothing to us over these last 5 years? Are we so fickle as to turn on him after all he's done, in the face of opposition?
He also didn't get swept up with the bait the way some others did. Throughout the week he calming looked at and explored the issue, not taking a quick stand and spending the week trying to defend his stand.
Read this transcript once it's posted, it may tip you...
Robert Kaplan on the Ports Deal
by Hugh Hewitt
February 23, 2006 05:19 PM PST
Just had author Robert Kaplan on the program, and in 12 minutes he did more to answer questions on the Port deal than all of the Administration spokespeople to date. Radioblogger.com will have the transcript up later, and network bookers should be waiting for Kaplan to land to get him on the Sunday shows. He knows Dubai and the Emirates. Very well indeed.
I wonder how Rush feels being on the same side as Jimmy Carter?
Probably no different then Hannity in being on the same side as Schumer, Hillary, Patty Murray, etc...
In other words, Glenn is saying, I may have been wrong - but the WH was worse.
Good grief! These juveniles are amazing!! LOL!
These people are MORE reasonable and understanding than our congressmen are! omg!
Arab #1 "Hey Akmed those Americans are gonna slow down your port deal whats up with that?"
Arab #2 "Ahhh Abu don't sweat it those Americans are just a tad bit racist, don't worry I have faith in them they will get over it in a few days"
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