The Dubai ports deal has me somewhat upset. Of all the things the legislature could have chosen to disagree with Bush on, they had to choose this: an issue on which he was (if inadvertently) correct.
The GOP is voting against the ports deal because they know that they need to distance themselves from Bush so as not to go down with the ship, and the Democrats are happy whenever there's a criticsm to be made; happier still when the opposition measure actually passes.
The members of the legislature have the resources to get facts; they all know that DP World is a legitimate corporation, not some kind of terrorist front. The public has an image of bearded men in turbans fashioning home made explosives and loading them onto ships. But DP World is the world's third largest ports operator. They're as motivated as any business in the US to prevent terrorist attacks, because they've invested money that they don't want to lose.
Another negative factor is that DP is controlled by the Dubai government, so it's a slight against Dubai, which is rich and westernized. The Brits go there for vacations, and it's possible to go there and conduct business without speaking any language other than English. The Middle Easterners are being led to think that the US doesn't care what they do as much as who they are.
To acknowledge the existence of Arabs amenable to the 'US way' interferes with the Arab's current status as the great heathen 'Other' who Uncle Sam must civilize — the same way that we 'civilized' the Africans, the American Indians, and the Communists. If the US public starts to think in more than one dimension, who knows what they might start thinking?
Nothing in our government stood in the way of another knee-jerk reaction in the name of 'security,' born out of irrational fear. The President's staff failed to anticipate the uproar and has not said anything much other than, "Well, we didn't really think about it, but yeah, now that we look, they're okay." This hardly inspires confidence. And then the political calculations I mentioned earlier caused the House committee to overwhelmingly shoot it down. 62 to 2 is the ratio of politicians who put expediency first to those who do not.
Discussion of port security is all well and good, and no doubt we could improve in that area, but this detour into xenophobia has helped no one.