Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Man Overboard

It looks like President Bush has sailed into some heavy weather in the port-management issue. Now he has Republican leaders from the House and Senate objecting to the deal and threatening legislation to block it. The president’s response has been his own threat — to veto any legislation to that effect. Neener neener.

I think this brouhaha could be the point where another wheel comes off the wagon. It’s got something for everyone. The objections are coming from all sides — from the left because of the backroom way the deal was put together, and from the right who just don’t trust the A-rabs. In between you have the real concerns about outsourcing, labor, and, as this New York Times editorial points out, the double standard that the administration applies to individual rights as compared to those of corporations. On top of all of this is the simple fact that the administration did something without consulting members of Congress and presented it as a done deal with the president insulted that they would have the temerity not to trust him to do what’s right.

Having been bitten several times before by this — warrantless wiretapping and the Miers nomination leap to mind — you would think that Congress would have learned by now that the Bush administration views them as an annoyance rather than a co-equal partner in governing, and that any behavior by the legislative branch other than complete sycophancy is considered to be treasonous. In quashing the congressional inquiry into the warrantless wiretapping, Karl Rove put out the word that any Republican who goes against the White House will be cut off at the knees in their run for re-election, and who says he was speaking only metaphorically?

But this may be one battle that the White House could lose. Congress is already gearing up for the midterm elections and they are seeing the president as a liability and the whiff of the lame duck is becoming a stench. They are out to save their own skins now, and if that means they have to throw the president overboard to win, they will.