For five years now, the Bush administration has played the terror and fear card for all that it's worth. Practically anything and everything the administration does is justified as part of the so-called "war on terror;" any critics of administration policies are decried as weak on security and possibly traitorous. The security issue has been the administration's strength; it's earned Bush support from many quarters of the populace who would otherwise be opposed to his disastrous economic and social policies. As long as Bush remained strong on security, all of his ill-conceived foreign interventions, his attempts to restrict the people's civil liberties, his class-busting tax and economic policies, and even his monomaniacal strivings for an all-powerful imperial presidency got pretty much overlooked by a frightened populace.
But no more.
This week, Bush showed his true colors by stridently supporting a deal to turn control of key U.S. ports to a company from the United Arab Emirates -- the same country that financed the 9/11 attacks and has been a haven for terrorists of all stripes. Even Bush's most dyed-in-the-wool supporters were taken aback by the brazen abandonment of U.S. security in favor of what is quite obviously a financial windfall for some members of the Bush administration. Bush's craven support of this deal -- even threatening to veto any attempt to block the deal, when he hasn't yet used a single veto in his six years in office -- speaks to the power of money over all other issues in the Bush administration. It's not really about security, or terrorism, or fighting the Islamist evil-doers; it's about the all-mighty dollar, and about Bush being able to do whatever the hell he wants to do, everyone else (including his former supporters) be damned.
At the very least, Bush's support of the UAE port deal bespeaks a political tone deafness (as pointed out by several members of Bush's own party); at its worst, it's selling out American security for financial benefit. Even worse, Bush seems to think that his actions -- no matter how extreme or politically illogical -- should be strictly obeyed, no questions asked. It's Bush as the power-mad dictator, finally going over the edge in a way that astounds and confounds even his supporters. By insisting on approval of the UAE deal, Bush's actions contradict all the fear-mongering he's instilled in his red-state base; how does he jibe his support of Arab-run port security with his NASCAR-dad supporters' fear of all things Arabic?
It's actually quite humorous to listen to Bush's remaining toadies try to wiggle their way around this one. There are still a few right-wing shouting radio heads that are contorting themselves to all end in an attempt to justify Bush's support for the deal. It's really funny to listen to Rush and Sean and their fellow travelers accuse Democrats (and Republicans) opposed to the deal of prejudice against Arabs, especially when they're the same bloviators who inspired that prejudice among their listeners. It's equally amusing to hear them play down the deal as not at all important to national security, when prior to this every little thing that popped up was played as a major security issue. You can't have it both ways, guys; your hypocrisy is evident even to your red-state listeners.
There are so many crimes Bush has committed against America that this one actually seems minor; it's ironic that the symbolism of the thing elevates it to a level that could be politically fatal to the administration. A new day is dawning over America -- the public is finally waking up and realizing that the emperor has no clothes.
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.