Wednesday, February 22, 2006


"Bring It On"

On the ports deal, as The Post says in its lead editorial, George W. Bush has become, "At last: A uniter, not a divider."

Sure enough, the paper shares its shock that the President would use his first veto on any legislation blocking a Dubai-owned firm from taking management of six U.S. ports -- with the
New York Times editorial page and the New York Daily News editorial page! Talk about hitting the trifecta!

Bush has previously threatened a "first veto" on such other definably "conservative" principles as not fiddling with the Medicare prescription drug benefit -- or re-visiting the too-generous transportation bill.

Of the many disturbing aspects to this decision, perhaps the most is how much the administration's response truly does mirror that of its initial reaction to the Harriet Miers nomination: Ignore the substance of your critics concerns and
imply they are elitist/racist/sexist:

"And the message is, it's okay for a British company, but a Middle Eastern company -- maybe we ought not to deal the same way. It's a mixed message."

Oh, right. Right after 9/11. Muslims and Arabs in the United States were treated exactly the same as British Episcopalians.

Talk about a mixed message!

Amazing. But then again, maybe not so much.

Secondly, it is fascinating how much this administration -- given its concern over the public good and national security --
makes use of the word "private" to block any criticism that its actions should have some sort of congressional or media review:

First of all, this is a private transaction. But it -- according to law, the government is required to make sure this transaction does not, in any way, jeopardize the security f the country. And so people responsible in our government have reviewed this transaction.
First and foremost, it was a "private" transaction.

Last week, in his Fox News interview, Vice President Dick Cheney explained his decision not to notify the media until some 14 hours
after the accidental shootingof Harry Whittington, and even then, only with one local news outlet: "I thought that was the right call...I still do. I still think that the accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me.... I was there on a private weekend with friends on a private ranch."

It was a "private" weekend on a "private" ranch. Thus, information involving the very PUBLIC vice president of the United States was filtered out some 14 hours later -- by the ranch owner.

The right of the American public to know about a shooting involving a public servant doesn't enter the equation.

However, when critics raise the point that the privacy rights of American citizens could be infringed -- by the administration intentionally ignoring the FISA courts to approve wiretapping -- "national security" trumps everything!

So, the lesson appears to be: Default to "privacy" when it comes to an economic deal and an accident involving the vice president -- but push privacy concerns aside when it deals with the rights of Americans at large.

Something doesn't add up.

Oh, of course! The president didn't really
"know" about the deal until it was completed -- though that didn't stop him from making his pre-emptive declaration to the media aboard Air Force One on Tuesday.

It's never a good thing when a White House has to resort to the, "The president was "out of the loop" when this decision was made -- yet had no problem threatening his first veto in defending it.

Oh well, if the president wants to go down this road...bring it on.

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