Wednesday, February 22, 2006

PORTS REBELLION ROUNDUP Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), The Daily News and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) don't agree on much. But they're united in refusing to take "trust us" for an answer from the White House when it comes to port security.

You heard it here first: Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall.

Josh Marshall has some thoughts. The New York Times weighs in here:

The Bush administration has followed a disturbing pattern in its approach to the war on terror. It has been perpetually willing to sacrifice individual rights in favor of security. But it has been loath to do the same thing when it comes to business interests. It has not imposed reasonable safety requirements on chemical plants, one of the nation's greatest points of vulnerability, or on the transport of toxic materials. The ports deal is another decision that has made the corporations involved happy, and has made ordinary Americans worry about whether they are being adequately protected.
UPDATE: From today's press briefing:
Q Scott, top Republicans turned on the administration faster than Nancy Pelosi. What do you make of that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you have to ask people their reason for opposing this transaction. It's up to them to explain their reason for it. The President does not think we should be holding this company to a different standard from the British company that currently manages these terminals.

Q Politically, your own party turned on this White House aggressively--

MR. McCLELLAN: I wouldn't look at it that way. You're looking at it in the political context. The President is not looking at it in the political context. I understand and appreciate you looking at it in that context, but the President is looking at this as what I said it is--this was the right principle, and it's the right policy.

Q Scott, it sounds like the President has lost control of the party on the Hill. It sounds like they're campaigning against George Bush.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't think that's accurate. You're talking about this specific issue? This specific issue--let's clarify that--no, I think--the President just came back from a House Republican conference just a short time ago, and they talked about important national security priorities, and they talked about the tools we're using to protect the American people like the terrorist surveillance program. And at the end of that comment--end of those remarks, he received a standing ovation. So I think there is strong, united support for the policies that we are putting in place and that we are pursuing to make America more prosperous and to make America safer.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.