Yet More on the Dubai Port Fiasco

YET MORE ON THE DUBAI PORT FIASCO….Jim Geraghty, who now believes that the Dubai port deal is A-OK, gets today’s award for the most unintentionally hilarious defense of the blogosphere’s handling of the story. The problem, he says, is that we trusted the mainstream media:

I?m generally a big fan of the New York Post, but the way this story [link here] arranges the facts appears to be some pretty blatant scaremongering.

Reactionary scaremongering? From the New York Post? Say it ain’t so!

Elsewhere, Michael Tomasky, who makes an unsettling reference to settling “this Kevin Drum business,” suggests that we look to congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, an expert on port security, for advice on how to think about all this. As it turns out, Nadler doesn’t actually have much to say about it, but he does say this:

The Bush Administration has a highly troubling record of handing contracts and lucrative positions to individuals on the basis of personal friendship ? not the public interest. Given the President?s cozy relationship with the governments of oil-rich nations, I think it?s only natural for alarm bells to be going off. We need time for Congress to take a hard look at this proposal.

Truer words were never spoken. And given the Republican Party’s five-year effort to caricature liberals as panty-waisted Osama lovers for doing nothing more than holding positions startlingly similar to Bush’s on the Dubai port deal, we would need to be veritable saints not to get a frisson of pleasure from holding their feet to the fire over this. It’s time for the modern GOP to get a taste of its own dog food.

Still, unlike the NSA wiretap issue, it doesn’t appear (so far) that there was any actual foul play in the Dubai deal. The DPW acquisition was approved through the usual channels, Congress isn’t normally involved in oversight on these things, and the Exon-Florio provision requires not that the DPW deal undergo a 45-day investigation, but that the investigation be completed within 45 days (although the actual requirements in this case are a little hazy, I admit).

At the same time, it’s not exactly nonsensical to have a few qualms about a state-owned Arab company taking over operations at half a dozen big U.S. ports, and you’d think someone in the administration would have been smart enough to figure this out. As Nadler says, slowing down and having Congress take a closer look at the Dubai deal makes sense, even if my hopes for anything other than multiple hours of camera-hogging bluster are pretty minimal. Doing things in daylight is usually for the best, so let’s get everything out in the open and see what happens.

UPDATE: More on the Exon-Florio provision here.