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Beware the Ay-rabs

By Michael J. Smith on Monday February 20, 2006 07:55 PM

Predictably enough, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton (joined by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey) have been raising the alarm about the acquisition, by a firm in Dubai, of an English firm (the storied P&O; how are the mighty fallen). P&O has been for some time under contract to manage commercial operations at several US seaports.

Apparently the thinking is that those wild-eyed radicals who throng the boardrooms of the United Arab Emirates will be staffing US port operations with dedicated "terrorists."

Anybody remember Abscam? No? Too long ago, too parochial, perhaps.

Anyway, the Chicken Little clucking and feather-fluffing of the Hill and the Upchuck et al. isn't surprising. It's important to keep the American corporate world from forming any more ties with, well, pardon the expression, Arabs. Jeez, the State Department is bad enough -- all those brainwashed bowtie twits who made the effort and learned the language and fell in love with the people who speak it. But these people who just want to make a buck are even worse, really -- if you don't watch 'em like a hawk, they'll be reclining in a tent, smoking a hookah, and swearing blood-brothership with some Emir. Can't have that!

What's slightly surprising in this story is that the point man seems to be Pete King, a Republican congressman from NY's third district, in Nassau County, Long Island. Ole Pete is bucking his President in objecting to this Dubai deal.

Indeed, Pete has distinguished himself recently by a vein of Arab-bashing that would be right at home in Commentary magazine. Long Island's Newsday reports:

Rep. Peter King said Wednesday he continues to believe that 85 percent of the mosques in the United States have "extremist leadership," and that while most Muslims are "loyal Americans," they are reluctant to come forward to cooperate with law enforcement when they hear anti-American rhetoric or plots.

King (R-Seaford) said Wednesday he based his belief on extensive conversations he has had with law enforcement officials, both in New York and Washington, D.C.. He said the issue crystallized for him in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001. At a community "solidarity" meeting at Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, Dr. Faroque Kahn of the Islamic Center criticized America's foreign policy toward Arab and Palestinian communities, prompting some Jewish attendees to walk out.

I suspect King has a pass from the leadership to take this insubordinate line because his district is the last remnant of a once-proud Repuplican hegemony on the Island. Hanging onto it is important -- so important that Pete has carte blanche. He's allowed to do whatever it takes -- even if he has to be as coarse, and bigoted, and hysterical as -- well, as a Democrat.

Comments (4)

J. Alva Scruggs:

I'm not so certain that bigotry and opportunistic terror tub thumping explain it all. I think it's also pique about a friend of the Bush family getting lucrative openings and influence in port cities. The Dems consider the big cities their turf. They need to retain some seats to be at all useful in their game.


This sounds reasonable. Everything in politics is overdetermined -- there are at least six perfectly adequate reasons for anything that happens.

That said, turf is supremely important -- part of the unwritten concordat between the "parties." If the Dems are really worried about their last scraps being taken away, perhaps it's because the pseudo-political charade has become so hollow that they're only needed as a purely formal or notional party -- why should they have any turf at all, other than a ballot line and access to the odd talk show?

J. Alva Scruggs:

One of the reasons I support the defeated donkey plan(s) laid out here is to put the charade itself under pressure. I get some feelings of dread about it -- what will they all do when the adversarial kabuki show and myth of legitimacy can't be sustained? But I don't see any other way at this time. At some point, the fakery has to collapse, right? The big looming worry is that I may be falling for something I've criticized in others: that verifiable truth about a political situation makes a real difference.


JAS -- You have every reason to feel anxious -- don't we all? I don't at all mean to make light of it. Who's to know whether any step in the dark might not land us in deeper shit than we're already in?

But then on the other hand it's pretty clear where things are going if they go on as they are. We're headed for the deep shit anyway -- I have to think that almost anything we could do to gum up the works would be constructive.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Monday February 20, 2006 07:55 PM.

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