They're not going for it.
Congressman, is Bush a drunk or in the
pay of the Arabs or both?
Doubts Back Home Fuel G.O.P. Worries Over Ports Deal
By CARL HULSE and SCOTT SHANE
Published: March 2, 2006
WASHINGTON, March 1 — Senator Jon Kyl, a staunch supporter of President Bush who faces a potentially difficult re-election fight this year, is hearing a lot from constituents in Arizona about the plan to allow a Dubai company to operate shipping terminals at Eastern ports. Most think the deal should be stopped.
"It is almost all critical to dubious," Mr. Kyl said, referring to public opinion at home. "If I have to disagree with the Bush administration, I will."
The port deal has exploded out of nowhere to become a major bone of contention in an election year that had not lacked driving issues.
It is not clear what kind of staying power the deal has as an issue, but for now Republicans have little choice but to acknowledge the objections they are hearing from voters, distancing themselves from Mr. Bush on national security heading toward the midterm elections.
"I traveled my state last week, and I got it at every stop from people," said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama. "It is sort of symbolic. We don't want our nuclear power industry run by a state that might be hostile to us. The average citizen believes that maintaining American control of our ports is important."
New revelations about Dubai have made it difficult for the White House and its allies on the issue to turn down the political heat, despite the agreement to undertake a 45-day review of the potential security risks from the deal.
The latest twist is a document produced by Al Qaeda in 2002 in which the group claims, without offering any supporting evidence, to have infiltrated the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part.
But lawmakers and senior aides say those nuances are hard to convey to voters who focus on the idea of a Middle Eastern country with past links to terrorism handling cargo at already vulnerable entry points.
Many Republicans doubt that Mr. Bush will be able to contain the opposition, and Democrats agree, pointing to the unusual amount of bipartisan backing for legislative proposals that would give Congress the final say on the deal.
This is killing Bush and his GOP allies.
posted by Steve @ 1:13:00 AM