Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Senate asked to behave like adults, yet Boxer, Kerry, and Dorgan just don't seem to measure up to such high standards

The frenzy on the Dubai ports deal has been settling down for most of us who were originally disturbed by the thought of an Arab company managing 6 of our ports. First, DP World generously offered the extra 45 day examination period to help assuage the fears of Senators, both Democrat and Republican. Now DP World's CEO came to Washington to further that effort.

The head of DP World yesterday sought to assure senators that his Dubai-based company's takeover of terminal operations at six U.S. ports would pose no threat and would even enhance U.S. security.

"We are not 'acquiring' or 'taking over' U.S. ports, as some people claimed," Edward H. Bilkey, chief operating officer of the company, told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee yesterday. "We are very concerned with the security of the U.S. and actually are a great partner with them."

[...] Mr. Bilkey said his company followed every necessary step in getting the deal cleared, agreed to additional security commitments, and will be "active participants" in several U.S. security and anti-terrorism port programs. He stressed that the U.S. still will control the security of the ports.

And as more and more respeted officials and experts came forward in favor of the deal, many pundits, bloggers, and even Senators started to rethink their position.

[...] "As we learn more of the facts, I think we can see more of the justification here," said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican and member of the commerce panel.

"It is a very complex issue, and we need to act like adults," said Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican. [ed. HAH! Not bloody likely with Kerry and Boxer around. Too bad Kennedy's been asleep here; he'd be fun]

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, initially had been critical of the deal, but he backed off some yesterday, saying he has more information now and had been privately briefed by administration officials.

Reason, logic, common sense... basic thought processes. For the counterpoint to common sense, we turn to the Democrats...

[...] "These port operators are intricately involved in port security," Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, told him. "I think this whole deal is fraught with danger, and I'm going to oppose" it.

"I think this proposal is nuts," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat.

[...] Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said the boycott "is inconsistent with everything we believe in as Americans."

Well at at least they put together complete sentences... But unfortunately they bring to light the underlying security fears most of America shares. The White House is going to have to get out and really push this one.

[...] A House Republican aide put it more bluntly, saying that House Republican leaders will be watching to see how well the White House can sell the deal to the American people and to what extent the administration allows Congress to participate in the review process.

The US isn't sold yet on this one by a long shot Dubya, so get crackin'.