Dubai-ous Distinction

Is President Bush simply mentally exhausted?

The idea that the rigors of the job were finally beginning to take its toll on Bush crossed many minds after he made the inexplicable decision to nominate Harriet Miers as Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement on the US Supreme Court. Now, with his similarly illogical decision to allow a company based in the United Arab Emirates to run six major US ports, we are forced to address the question again.

How else does one explain Bush’s petulance yesterday, when he insisted that concerns about Dubai Ports World’s operation of the ports were wildly exaggerated? How else does one explain his stubbornness in the face of legitimate questions about the wisdom of this deal (which we now learn he did not know about in advance)? How else does one explain his suggestion that bigotry motivates those who question this arrangement?

Americans who believe that our ports should not be operated by a company based in a country that’s one of al-Qaeda’s favorite haunts are not prejudiced, reactionary, or irrational. They are simply concerned about American security — a concern that Bush is supposed to share.

Why is Bush so tone-deaf to the outrage within his own party — outrage that bears similarities to the conservative response to his appointment of the unquestionably unqualified Miers? Why is Bush not willing to concede that maybe his Republican critics have a point?

Despite his assurances that this deal poses no threat to national security, Americans have a right to be skeptical about any arrangement involving an entity based in a country with a history of terrorist infiltration. And President Bush has no right to blow off these concerns as so much irrational intolerance.

So why is Bush doing just that?

Does he no longer care?

Is he simply too exhausted to care?

Is he just doing what he thinks is expedient, even when it’s manifestly erroneous?

Have the bastards finally ground him down?