The political ineptitude that the Bush Administration has displayed in handling the sale of six ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, recalls its bungled Harriet Miers nomination. Then, as now, President Bush made a decision that makes everyone ask: What was he thinking? The decision has managed to anger conservatives as much as the Angry Left. The only person who Bush seems to have won over is Jimmy Carter.
Just as with the Miers nomination, Bush is digging himself a deeper hole, even threatening to veto any Congressional move to block the deal. Here’s a president who has never vetoed a bill. He signed the campaign finance bill into law, even though he said he thought it was unconstitutional and he has signed every budget bill, even with spending growing at an alarming rate.
With the Miers nomination, Bush’s supporters were asked to trust that she would be a reliable conservative. Now they are being asked to trust that the sale of the ports won’t compromise national security.
As the conservative backlash grew over the Miers nomination, the Bush team attributed it to sexism.
Today, Bush accused his critics of racism:
“I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company.”
About a year ago, I wrote a column arguing that domestic security could be a winning issue for Democrats. Bush has just handed them a surefire way to exploit that issue.