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“Mr. President, are you nuts?”

Posted at That giant sucking sound you hear is one really big mob of congressional Republicans evacuating their side of the aisle en masse and galloping over to agree with their left-coast colleagues as fast as they possibly can that the summary selloff of U.S. port operations to Dubai is your basic bad idea. Why, this whole heretofore sorrowfully rent nation has suddenly just come together as one. The day you’ve got Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton and Denny Hastert and Harry Reid voicing exactly the same concerns practically word for word is the day it can be said that President Bush truly is a uniter and not a divider.

And now Bush declares he will veto any legislative move to block the deal – the first veto of his presidency. Thus he sets the stage for as bitter a showdown with Capitol Hill, friends and foes alike, as yet we have seen. Forget Terry Schiavo and Sam Alito. This won’t be pretty.

So we’ve got most of the world’s shipping experts informing us that United Arab Emirates-owned DP World is a reputable outfit. Well, maybe so. We’ve got Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assuring us that the national security is in no way compromised. Well, maybe so. And we’ve got Secretary of State Rice insisting that it’s good to do business with DP World, realpolitik-wise. And maybe so.

But we’d like a lot more convincing. We’d like at least the appearance that there has been a thorough review of this thing, as opposed to the fast-tracked rubber-stamping that very much seems to have been the case. We’d like to hear some reasonable argument made as to precisely why handing off our ports to the UAE makes sense.

And for sure we’d like it a lot better if the principal pointman the White House dispatched to reassure us all that this port deal has been vetted and cleared at the highest levels of government were somebody other than the very same homeland security chief Michael Chertoff who a week or so ago publicly confessed that he had no idea how to track a truckload of portable toilets from one state to the next.

Let’s have some straight answers, Mr. President. Convince us the White House has some glimmer of a clue what it’s doing here. Kindly explain why this is not total insanity.


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