Last week, I skewered Democrat opportunists who have turned into tough-sounding profiling advocates to exploit the White House ports debacle.
Today, I must express bottomless disgust with those on the Right who have turned into mush-mouthed race-card players to shift blame away from President Bush for his miserable mishandling of the situation.
It's one thing for feckless grievance-mongers on the Left to accuse Americans genuinely concerned about national security of Islamophobia. It's quite another for the Right to sink to such a level in accusing all good-faith critics of demagoguery. Reasonable people can disagree on the process pitfalls and security implications of the deal. But the elite Right has simply lost its marbles:
Here's GOP strategist and Muslim voter outreach architect Grover Norquist in the Los Angeles Times dismissing critics of the deal: "The only whiners left by next week will be the registered bigots."
Conservative commentator Larry Kudlow: "This whole brouhaha surrounding the Bush administration's green-light to a United Arab Emirates company slated to manage six major U.S. ports has nothing to do with protecting homeland security. Allow me to give it its proper name: Islamophobia."
New York Times columnist David Brooks: "This Dubai port deal has unleashed a kind of collective mania we haven't seen in decades. First seized by the radio hatemonger Michael Savage, it's been embraced by reactionaries of left and right, exploited by Empire State panderers, and enabled by a bipartisan horde of politicians who don't have the guts to stand in front of a xenophobic tsunami."
The UAE is our "friend," we are told, and to question that assertion, we are scolded, is to engage in reckless prejudice and life-threatening insult. Yes, well, some friends are more equal than others. To instinctively trust a longtime, stalwart Western democracy more than an Arab newcomer with a mixed record on combating terror, international crime and Islamic extremism is not "Islamophobia." It's self-preservationism in a time of war.
We are at war, aren't we?
President Bush himself is ultimately responsible for encouraging the race-card players, thanks to his stunning comment that "those who are questioning" the deal need to "step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company."
Yes, there are countless homegrown terrorists across England, where Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., the maritime company purchased by state-owned Dubai Ports World, operates. So what? So, now, a peaceful Western democracy that is infiltrated against its will by al Qaeda is on the same plane as an Arab federation whose ruling emiratis ran interference for Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11, which continued to be a logistical hub for al Qaeda for years after, which refuses to recognize the existence of Israel, bans our textbooks as "racist" because they point out Syria's state sponsorship of terrorism, and is boycotting Denmark over the Mohammed Cartoons?
Now, all the proselytizers who tell us to collect the dots and connect the dots want us to throw them all away lest we give offense?
Yes, the UAE has taken steps to cooperate in the War on Terror after the Sept. 11 attacks. Give them a pat on the back. But don't tell me that their actions over the past four years elevate them to the same level of partnership and trustworthiness as Great Britain.
Perhaps Bush should consult with his own Justice Department, which understood the need for heightened scrutiny of Middle Eastern illegal aliens in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, and instituted temporary targeted fingerprinting and registration policies for Middle Eastern tourists, businessmen and students.
Perhaps he should ask his own Border Patrol, which is on heightened alert for illegal Middle Eastern border-crossers.
Perhaps he should ask his own FBI, which is zeroing in on mosques and Muslim charities instead of Lutheran churches and the March of Dimes in the domestic War on Terror.
(But don't bother asking Transportation Department Norm Mineta anything -- well, other than "Why the heck are you still here, Normie?")
The sad lesson of Portgate: Scream "racism" loud enough, and people will blame the messengers and back down. By the Bush standard, we who put American security above Arab sensitivity are all bigots now.