Friday, March 10, 2006

Bush Gets A Break, Courtesy of the UAE

Very rarely do potentially ugly showdowns end so cleanly. DP World said that it would back out of the deal that would turn over to it control of operations at the major East Coast and Gulf ports.

Now the discussion turns to the aftermath. Threats like this, (H.T. Drudge) to pull American contracts with the UAE are the kinds of things that get said in the heat of frustration and anger. But the statement that they may not be so helpful in the war on terror in the future makes one think that perhaps the death of the deal is not that bad a thing. A real friend doesn't need stroking to participate in an effort to undercut international terrorist activity. And we don't want someone like that with a foot in our ports.

But that digression aside, the President was spared an unholy showdown with Congress which would possibly have resulted in the issuing of his first veto and the likely overriding of it in a year when the President and Congress very badly need to appear united. But all of this talk of Republican disunity will soon be forgotten. The DPW deal will not be diffused for November. The Dems won't be able to use it effectively. And tantrums thrown by the likes of Trent Lott, whose first show of any strength was this little fit at his own president, despite having let Tom Daschle walk all over him for years when he was one of the weakest Majority Leaders on record, and the show of force by outgoing Majority Leader Bill Frist who I am certain needed a framing stud taped to his spine to prevent him from reverting to jelly, are all for naught. Republicans really do crave unity and find such unfortunate disagreements on detail issues such as this to be remarkably uncomfortable.

So now, it is time to repair relations. Doing so won't be too hard. The president signed off on a reauthorization of the Patriot Act yesterday--a major victory for him. The next step is making the tax reductions permanent. They have proven to increase economic activity, thereby increasing the Treasury's take, but they are set to expire, because some in Washington feel weird about Americans keeping more of the money they earn. Bush will win on this one also. What legislator wants to get caught raising people's taxes in an election year? Couple that with a leaner budget that meets more of America's and less of Washington's prerogatives, and Bush and the Republicans can take to the voters a 2006 full of nationally popular and beneficial legislative successes. Keeping you safer, helping you keep your money, and keeping down silly spending.

The Democrats hope to get a win on national security by prohibiting foreign proprietary involvement in ports, etc., but when we had to fight them on the Patriot Act, listening in on terrorist communications, profiling by demographics, and failing to kowtow to terrorists' excruciating intolerance at Guantanamo Bay, any such bill will appear to most voters as the transparent political canard that it is.

But I somehow doubt that the Dems will let the DPW deal go, irrespective of the fact that it is a dead issue. One would hope, for their sake, that they would have learned that trying to resurrect issues whose damage value is gone actually does real harm to them. Dwelling on the irrelevant makes the dweller similarly out of touch. We can only hope that they keep up the rhetoric into the fall.

We can also only hope that the Administration appropriately blunts it.

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