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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Saving The Ports Deal|
As I wrote a couple of days ago, I am still ambivalent on the merits of the operational buyout of six U.S. ports by the U.A.E-based Dubai Ports World.
But it is becoming increasingly clear that holding on to this deal is political suicide.
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. . . .
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 percent).
The whole thing with the ports is that this is an issue that has an explanation, and it can even be a persuasive explanation--but it takes too long to make the evening news, so most Americans will tune it out. That renders the perception significantly more important than the reality; and right now, the perception is very damaging to the President and the GOP in general.
About the only way I can see this turning around is if early next week the administration were able to announce the capture or confirmed killing of Usama bin Laden by a special forces team from the United Arab Emirates. In fact, it seems obvious that some sort of "enhanced cooperation" should be required of the U.A.E. for this to go through; but even at that, public perception of the U.A.E. isn't likely to change without a dramatic public contribution to the War on Terror.
If such a contribution is unlikely or impossible, the administration would be wise to nix this deal and make it go away ASAP.
Call it Harriet Myers, Redux. Find the "Sam Alito" solution, and double-quick.
Mind you, this may still be the wrong thing to do--DPW may, indeed, be the company best able to do this in the real world. But, sadly, the politically expedient thing to do probably trumps that at this point.