President Bush once famously promised us that he would be "a uniter, not a divider." If there has ever been a more egregiously unfulfilled promise in the history of American politics, I'm not aware of it. Until this week, that is, when at long last, the president did it. He brought us together. All of us.
Sean Hannity agreed with Alan Colmes. Ed Bryant agreed with Harold Ford Jr. Hillary Clinton agreed with George Pataki. Lou Dobbs agreed with Joe Scarborough. Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians were in total alignment. The religious right even agreed with leaders of the religious left.
So how did the president do it? How, at long last, did Mr. Bush bring us all together? By standing behind the single stupidest decision of his presidency (and that's saying something), namely, allowing the state-owned company, Dubai Ports World, to buy the contract to run the ports of New York, Newark, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Miami.
Why is everyone in agreement that this is foolish? Here are four reasons: Because two of the 9/11 terrorists were from Dubai; because Dubai has a history of laundering terrorist money through state-owned banks; because Dubai was one of three countries to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan; and because it now appears that the federally mandated 45-day investigation into any deal in which a foreign country is allowed to run American ports didn't happen.
And why on earth would the Bush administration approve such a deal? Here's a shocker: It appears to be a case of money and cronyism. Turns out that Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale to Dubai Ports World, was formerly chairman of CSX, a rail firm that sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for $1.15 billion in 2004.
Another connection, according to a report in the New York Daily News, is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and who was named by the president just last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.
For this administration, it's business as usual -- it's always about the connections and the cash. That, and keeping us safe from terrorists, of course.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor