Thursday, March 02, 2006


Dubai Port Deal Bad For Security...

...GOP political security, that is.:

On the port issue, the new poll finds that 69 percent of Americans oppose allowing the Arab-owned company called Dubai Ports World to manage commercial operations at some U.S. ports — four times as many as support the deal (17

Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to oppose the deal, however majorities of both major parties are against it. At 81 percent, Democrats overwhelmingly oppose the deal, as do 66 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans.
This, of course, helps explain why, even in a poll conducted by Fox News' Opinion Dynamics, the president's decision-making is having serious adverse affects on this party:

The port controversy, along with the situation in Iraq (fully 81 percent of
Americans think it is likely Iraq will end up in a civil war), appears to be
taking a toll on Republicans.

At the beginning of the year the Republican Party held a 13-percentage point advantage over Democrats on being the party trusted to do a better job protecting the country from terrorism. Today Republicans still have the edge, but it has dropped to 5 points.

Furthermore, by a 14-percentage point margin voters think it would be better for the country if Democrats win control of Congress in this year’s election, up from an 8-point edge in early February and 11 points in January.
In RAGGED THOTS' continuing mission to figure out exactly what "Dubai" means, we have moved from it being Arabic for "Harriet Miers" to it possibly being Arabic for "WTF?"

At this point, it looks very precariously like Dubai Ports World might be another way of saying, "1990 budget deal."

You know, the one where Republicans are put in the awkward position of having to go to the polls and conceivably defend a deal that the president of their own party has cut -- but is anathema to their own base. Now, unlike in 1990, where Bush I's deal was both bad policy and bad politics, there are legitimate arguments in favor of the ports deal (indeed, even Bill Clinton supports it).

Yet, fifty-seven percent of Republicans oppose it! So, do GOP members of Congress stick with the man who has helped them keep the majority over the last two election cycles -- in some adverse circumstances -- or do they distance themselves with him on this issue?

The problem is that a primary tactic that the White House has used in pushing back on the Dubai port deal -- aside from "all those opposed to it are bigots" (69 percent of the American public? 57 percent of Republicans? Liberals visiting, hush on this point) -- is that the president didn't know the details until just before it was announced BUT he fully supports it.

In the context of the other major controversies of this administration --
9/11, Iraq, Medicare, and Katrina -- the regular refrain that either the president or his administration didn't/couldn't have known about al Qaeda/postwar Iraq/the levees breaching/the port deal is becoming a bit too familliar.

On a case-by-case basis, such an explanation might work -- but, over and over again?

The Republican Congress had better demonstrate that it is willing to hold the president and his administration accountable on competency grounds -- if nothing else -- or that "better for the country if Democrats win control of Congress" polling number is going to increase.

The Republicans security levee may already have been breached; someone had better alert the president.

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