Over at Instapundit I found a rather long quote from Jim Geraghty:
Welcome to Post-Tipping Point politics. There is no upside to doing the right thing – which is to emphasize, as one blogger put it, that there is a difference between Dubai and Damascus. There is tremendous political upside to doing the wrong thing, boldly declaring, “I don’t care what the Muslim world thinks, I’m not allowing any Arab country running ports here in America! I don’t care how much President Bush claims these guys are our allies, I don’t trust them, and I’m not going to hand them the keys to the vital entries to our country!”
And more and more, I think Glenn Reynolds had it right; the entire Tipping Point phenomenon can be summed up as action and reaction. The Bush Administration’s reaction to the cartoon riots was comparably milquetoast. The violence and threats committed over the cartoons shocked, frightened and really, really angered Americans. They want somebody to smack the Muslim world back onto its heels and set them straight: “It doesn’t matter how offensive a cartoon is, you’re not allowed to riot, burn down embassies and kill people over it.”
Considering the fact that not even a conservative paper like the Indianapolis Star here in the Midwest would so much as print the cartoons I am not so sure I agree with this sentiment. I do think people are sick of hearing about the Middle East and Muslims and riots and all the rest but I don't really think the American people expected the President of the United States to get out there and start lecturing a mob. Not when we have 130,000 men and women in uniform in Iraq.
I was disgusted the barbaric reaction to the cartoons, most westerners were I think, but these constant references to tipping points remind me of the constant references to civil war in Iraq. They never really seem to come to fruition. The sentiment here seems to be that if Bush had somehow been sterner with the Arab world and threatened them or lectured them or done a better job of laying down the law...then the American public would have felt more comfortable when the media started scaremongering the issue of the Dubai deal. I doubt that, in fact it might have made it worse. In truth I think most Americans wish the cartoons had never been published at all.
I learned something long ago, it is a waste of time to argue with crazy people and a mob is not rational. Besides, Bush made it plain that the US stood with Denmark as we should. Was there ever any doubt about that? It seems Bush is either accused of declaring war on Islam or catering to it, whichever works for whatever critic.
Geraghty also feels the ports deal is doomed because public sentiment as reflected in polls is running high against it, while at the same time it seems to me the issue is fading from the scene somewhat.
I do not know if the port deal is dead or not, or if the poll numbers reflect what people will feel once they learn more. But I do think it would be wrong to kill the deal just because the UAE is an Arab state. The truth is we need all the friends we can get, even if we do not always approve of them.