Saved By Revolt

Friday, March 10th, 2006 12:16 pm by Neal

Saved By Revolt is the title of today’s opinion piece by John Podhoretz in the New York Post. Podhoretz makes a convincing argument that the remainder of the President’s second-term has been salvaged by the relentless oppostion to the UAE Ports Deal from the same conservative supporters who helped scuttle the President’s last big blunder — the nomination of the unqualified Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Podhoretz writes

Just as with his last serious political miscalculation, Bush has actually been saved by the very forces in his own governing coalition that are opposing him.

When the president foolishly nominated the clearly unqualified Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, conservative intellectuals and pundits were so relentlessly negative that they forced him to withdraw Miers’ name and appoint Samuel Alito in her place. That move simultaneously helped reenergize and calm a key part of the Bush coalition.

Republicans in Congress did Bush an even bigger favor. The president may have been right on the economic and foreign-policy merits of allowing the government-owned Dubai Ports World to manage stevedore operations inside the United States. But he was clearly wrong when it came not only to the politics of the deal, but also to its symbolic significance in the midst of the War on Terror.

So true. As we’ve said before, this deal didn’t pass the smell test — it defied common sense (that is so lacking in Washington and, apparently, Rush Limbaugh’s studio). And, this is good news for Bush because it re-affirms the fact that most Americans (you know, the “racist Islamaphobes” who opposed this deal) are still engaged in the War on Islamic Terrorism.

More important, the public reaction to the ports deal indicates that the American people are still very much committed to the War on Terror. They understand that Arab nations of the Persian Gulf cannot be and should not be deemed reliable colleagues in our struggle against militant, extremist Islam.

I have no doubt that Dubai has given us some assistance in pursuing al Qaeda. But it is still a cowardly emirate that will not do or say anything publicly to advance the fight against bin Ladenism, and while it may not be an enemy, it is neither a friend nor an ally.

It is wrong to ascribe popular feeling against the deal to isolationism. The American people can’t make sense out of which side Dubai is on, and they don’t think it should be that hard a call. They believe in the fight, and their continued support for it is the best news the embattled Bush presidency could have.

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