Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a mere 236 miles east of Doha, Qatar, where the headquarters of Al Jazeera is located. After the sale of Al Gore’s Current TV to the Arabic news network, Al Jazeera America is expected to broadcast from New York.
Via World Atlas:
In 2006, the Dubai Ports World (DPW) controversy involved a deal – supported by then-President George W. Bush – that would allow the sale of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), a British Company, to DPW. Such a deal would have put the operation of six U.S. ports under the control of DPW. One of those ports was in New York. Ironically, while Bush supported the deal, then-Senator Barack Obama opposed it and said the following:
“Over four years after the worst terrorist attack in our history, not only are we failing to inspect 95% of the cargo that arrives at U.S. ports, but now we’re allowing our port security to be outsourced to foreign governments. Clearly, more time should have been spent investigating this deal and consulting with homeland security experts and local officials. I support my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are seeking a full review of this deal.” – Barack Obama in 2006
As news of the deal grew, so did opposition. Then Senate-Majority leader Bill Frist, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, U.S. Senator from New York Chuck Schumer (D-NY), New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and New York Governor George Pataki all expressed opposition to the deal. In fact, at one point, the prospect of legislation to halt the deal was gaining serious momentum and Bush seemed to play the Islamophobia card while talking to a gaggle of reporters on Air Force One.
Via New York Times:
“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. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, ‘We’ll treat you fairly.” ‘
Another prominent politician to express opposition to the deal was none other than the opportunistic Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton. The MSNBC link that included the following excerpt is now a dead one but the text is available elsewhere. Check this out:
Mrs Clinton’s tough stance that the deal represented an “unacceptable risk” to national security has caused UAE officials some consternation.
Regarded as the leading Democratic candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, she has used the deal – which polls show is disliked by most Americans – and the anti-Arab sentiment it sparked to attack the Bush administration on national security, an issue that has been seen as a weak point for Democrats.
Essentially, Democrats rightfully opposed the deal for the wrong reasons. Those reasons involved going after Bush. That is, unless we are to believe that the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are Islamophobes (yeah, laughable, isn’t it?).
In fact, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and other prominent liberal Democrats opposed the deal, along with Republicans like Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
When it comes to the Dubai Ports deal and the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, there is one primary difference when it comes to American political leaders; Bush received bi-partisan opposition and Gore is receiving only conservative opposition.
Taken further, none other than Senator Chuck Schumer is regarded as being the prominent politician most responsible for bringing the Dubai Ports deal to light. Had he not done so, it’s quite possible that the deal would have gone through; it didn’t.
Check out this excerpt from an NPR report:
On the Banking Committee and representing a major seaport, and he was media savvy to boot. It was Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York. Schumer’s office heard from Muldoon, from Eller & Company lawyer Michael Kreitzer, and from an Associated Press business reporter who had been talking with Muldoon and Kreitzer. In a period of four days, the AP reporter’s story ran nationwide, Schumer called for a review by the Department of Homeland Security, and he held a press conference with 9/11 families. He called on President Bush to step in. DP World hired teams of lobbyists.
In essence, Schumer started the snowball that ultimately led to the defeat of the Dubai Ports deal.
This begs what should be a very obvious question. Who on the Republican side of the aisle will raise cain over Al Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera like Schumer rightfully did with Bush’s desire to see P&O sold to Dubai Ports World?
Republicans are at a disadvantage in a couple of respects. For starters, the Republicans who opposed Bush in 2006 did so based on principle. They broke with their party because it was the right thing to do. Democrats JUST. DON’T. DO. THAT. If Al Gore wants to sell Current TV to Al Jazeera, Democrats support him because, well, he’s a Democrat.
Conversely, when George Bush wanted to allow DPW to control U.S. Ports, prominent Republicans opposed him and sided with Democrats. Conservative Republicans are far more inclined to do that when it’s the RIGHT. THING. TO. DO.
That said, who has the responsibility to be the anti-Schumer relative to Current TV’s sale to Al Jazeera?
Unfortunately for conservative Republicans, the man who has the gavel is also the man who is dis-inclined to take the role.
In short, instead of crying after being re-elected Speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) should be screaming about the Al Jazeera sale like Schumer screamed about the DPW deal…
…or he should resign.