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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Kind To Bush?

I've never made a secret that Richard Cohen isn't one of my favorite columnists, but I'll give him a lot of credit this morning. His latest work, "Bush, Speaking Up Against Bigotry", was a complete and total surprise to find in the newspaper.

He not only goes against the grain of the entire left on the Ports deal, he whacks the media for their coverage of it, and praises Bush for addressing the xenophobic end of the issue.

There are times when George Bush sorely disappoints. Just when you might expect him to issue a malapropian explanation, pander to his base or simply not have a clue about what he is talking about, he does something so right, so honest and, yes, so commendable, that -- as Arthur Miller put it in "Death of a Salesman" -- "attention must be paid." Pay attention to how he has refused to indulge anti-Arab sentiment over the Dubai ports deal.
Very few columnists, even on the right, have given Bush that kind of credit on this deal. Most have spent their time trying to allay the security fears, or push the business aspect of the deal, myself included.

Usually, at that point in a column, Richard find a way to say "but", this time he doesn't.

That Bush has done this should come as no surprise. As a bigot he leaves a lot to be desired. He has refused to pander to anti-immigration forces, and shortly after Sept. 11, if you will remember, he visited Washington's Islamic Center. He reassured American Muslims and the worldwide Islamic community that
neither America nor its government were waging war on an entire people.

There are plenty of folks on the right who hate his stance on illegal immigration, and because of that no meaningful reform is going on. As for the message to Arabs/Muslims, the Arab media hasn't helped get it out, and the blogosphere (myself included), have made a joke of the fact that we would rather kill the radical end of Islam than all of it.

He also does an excellent job of pointing out something else that lots of folks have tiptoed around.

Whatever their concerns may be, whatever their fears, they would not have had them, expressed them or seen them in print had the middle name of the United Arab Emirates been something else. After all, no one goes nuts over Germany, the country where some of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists lived and attended school.

A few of us have pointed out the number of countries that money was funneled through to fund the 9/11 attacks, many in Europe, but most folks don't listen to it.

He even, in a rather sly way, takes the media to task for the Cheney shooting fiasco, and now the Ports deal.

We are in an odd era of symbolic news events. The Dick Cheney shooting was
treated as if it were of cosmic political importance..[snip]....But if the Cheney story was about everything else -- including, of course, the taciturn and slippery Cheney himself -- then this port controversy is really about security anxiety and a dislike of things and people Arab. The deal may not be perfect, but it is a long way from a Page One story.

It's not often I agree with an entire column by Mr. Cohen, but this is one of those rare occasions.
Once you read through the facts on the security arrangements, the structuring of the deal, and get past the hyperbole of "running our ports" and realize it's 'managing a few terminals', all that's left is that DPW is an Arab company. A few people are using the word foreign, but I haven't noticed any bills in congress to get the Britain, Australia, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany or Denmark kicked out of their terminal agreements.

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Blogger Uber said...

Good post, CP! Although there may be too much at stake, at least politically speaking, to expect the controversy to end any time soon.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Corie said...

Remeber right after 9/11 when the democrates got their undies in a bunch because they felt that Arabs were unfairly being targeted for searches at airports and train stations. They said is was racial profiling and was unacceptable that these innocent people should be targeted because of the actions of a few.
Now, what's the difference between that and their stance on the ports deal?

10:31 AM  
Blogger jakejacobsen said...

If by "Meaningful reform" you mean flooding the country with millions more cheap workers, then by all means let's have no meaningful reform!

Since that is the entirety of the President's plan.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Jake, my plan for meaningful reform is in the archives. Some portions mirror the president (expanded work visas), some are very different (abolishment of birthright citizenship for the children of illegals).

Corie, nothing, but they are hoping everyone forgot that they bitched about targeting middle eastern men in airports.

Uber, that's the problem. The process worked the way it should have, non-politically. Unfortunately that seems to have the politicians pissed.

6:37 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

I think I will withold judgement on this until more comes to light.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Shoprat, how do you expect to get a job in big time media if you fail to rush to judgement?

8:36 PM  

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