Lots of people are saying it's racist to oppose the UAE port deal.
The president says killing the deal sends a terrible message to a partner in the War on Terror.
I say, no, it's not racist. We don't have "Islamophobia" going on here. Europe certainly does, but we don't.
What people who object to this deal are saying is: Yes, we like our Arab friends. Yes, we want them to think they can come here to invest. Yes, we appreciate their help in the War on Terror. But some things are off the table.
They can't have the contract to guard the borders. They can't have the contract to run the TSA. They can't have the contract to guard Fort Knox.
Why would we let the British run the ports but not the UAE? Well, we don't like the British deal much anyway, and the Brits are about where we draw the line.
What about the government of China running a major terminal at Long Beach harbor in California? Don't like that either, and when we finish with this conversation I'm going to go check on when that can be cancelled, too.
Look, the Muslim world will not allow a non-Muslim to enter the city of Mecca. People understand some things are off limits.
I know there are people a lot smarter than me looking at the security measures taken here and they are saying this is OK, the UAE passes muster.
I say, OK, if you want to take that position fine. But I still think a huge number of Americans hate this deal and won't be talked into it.
I have thought for a long time that Republicans could survive various factors that weigh against them in November: the war, the president's approval rating, Dick Cheney's approval rating, the Abramoff scandal — whatever. But I think this is the one that really hurts because it lets Democrats run to the right of Republicans on national security.
This time large numbers of conservative Americans — Bush voters — don't think the Democrats are being foolish objecting to this deal. This isn't the NSA wiretapping controversy in which Dems looked dumb arguing for constitutional rights for terrorists.
This is different. And if the Republicans lose the House in the fall I think they will look back to these few days and say, "That's what did it."
The administration can put lipstick on this if they want to, and many Bush supporters may rally to the president. But for lots of other Bush supporters this deal will remain just plain dumb.
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