Last Sunday, slightly more than 250,000 people, the vast majority of whom would undoubtedly describe themselves as patriots, crowded into the Daytona International Speedway to watch Jimmie Johnson win the 48th running of the Great American Race. And about 35-million of their closest friends watched on NBC.
I’d be willing to bet that if we were to ask each of those folks if they would be in favor of a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates running six of the largest ports in the United States the answer would be a resounding NO.
What part of NO—uttered by the vast majority of your constituents—don’t you understand?
I have a hard time even being in the same zip code as Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, much less agreeing with them on anything, but on this subject I—and I would venture to guess most of America—agree.
The Bush administration is defending its approval of a deal to allow a company owned by the government of the UAE to purchase a British company which runs those ports.
And—from a cold, hard business calculus—they may be right.
In fact, I tend to dismiss any arguments to the contrary as mostly emotional and political.
But, once in a while, the emotional argument can and should win.
Frankly, we have little sympathy for any Muslim state no matter how friendly they are supposed to be.
The fact is that while the UAE has adopted capitalism as a way of investing the wealth we have bestowed upon them with the aid of folks who have graduated from the petroleum engineering schools in Oklahoma and Texas, many of their residents and many of their less vocal leaders would like to kill us.
Muslims in the UAE just like those in Saudi Arabia and, for that matter, Detroit, can’t seem to bring themselves to denounce—or better yet, do something about—the actions of their fellow Muslims who want to kill us and wipe the nation of Israel off the face of the earth.
Two of the 9-11 hijackers came from the UAE and some of their financial institutions participated in the money transfers which made the killing of about 3,000 Americans possible.
What the Bush administration tells us is probably true.
This is probably a similar transaction to the Japanese purchasing the Seattle Mariners and the Germans buying Chrysler. Or for that matter Ford buying Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover.
But just as a President takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution, he has an implicit obligation not to offend the sensibilities of a majority of his constituents.
For some reason—perhaps a refusal to truly understand evil—on this issue he has a tin ear.
We don’t see this as any major issue from the standpoint of safety as many of our colleagues do. If you want an example of a truly unsafe agreement to which the United States is a party, try NAFTA.
But in an age when terrorists wearing towels on their heads are releasing video tapes saying that they want to kill us all, the proper thing to do is NOT to get on our knees facing Mecca and say, "thank you sir may we have another."
President Bush should be very sensitive to that sentiment.
And if he doubts our supposition about the 250,000 NASCAR fans’ collective sentiment on this issue, we’ll be happy to conduct exit polling on March 11 right here in Las Vegas at the, get this, Daimler-Chrysler 400.