The Imperial Congress

Thursday, March 09, 2006
RealClearPolitics has an interesting oped from the Opinion Journal, Congress is Acting Like the "Imperial" Branch.

Let's hope that the next time some Beltway potentate bemoans the "Imperial Presidency," everyone starts hooting with laughter. What we're watching this week is the Lilliputians on Capitol Hill tying down a Bush Administration that increasingly looks like Gulliver.

Over in the House, Republicans are preparing to block the Dubai port management investment as a political sacrifice to Democratic criticism. This even before the new 45-day review requested by the company is even two weeks old. Let's hope the world's investors conclude that this is a craven, one-time political surrender, rather than the start of an attempt to politicize every foreign investment in America that can be linked to "national security." If it's the latter, we're all in for some heavy economic weather, and Republicans won't believe how low their approval ratings can go.

At least this rout can be attributed to GOP panic in the face of lousy poll numbers and a company owned by Arabs. Less explicable is this week's White House mugging by Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee over warrantless wiretaps of al Qaeda by the National Security Agency. On this one, Republicans were winning, the polls showed public support, and everyone outside the fever swamps had dropped their "impeachment" fantasies.

Nonetheless, a couple of GOP Senators forced the White House into conceding more Congressional oversight of wartime intelligence programs. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska vowed to join Democrats in voting for a full-scale Senate probe of the NSA wiretaps unless President Gulliver bent to their wishes. Such a vote would have humiliated their Chairman, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, at a minimum. But it would also have risked exposing intelligence sources and methods in a way that could have made the wiretap program less effective, if not entirely worthless.

Not only are they wading into the arena of National Security where their power should be limited, Congress undermining the Commander in Chief in a time of war.

This entire incident with Dubai ports has also raised another issue, are we going to enter a phase of protectionism and xenophobia? Some people say that after the cartoon riots America had enough of Muslims. Maybe there is truth to that, but I also believe that is exactly what the rioters had in mind. They do not want to see alliances between the US and Arab nations and now they know that all they have to do to make us turn our back on all of Islam is riot. Just burn flags, trash embassies and the American Congress will walk away in disgust. And the fanatics will do it, after all, what the hell else do they have to do?


CF said...

Actually, I think on Dubai the WH poor communications is on full display. And Congress (on both sides) behaved like feckless fools.

I believe the "deal" will be what Ledeen suggested the first day of the flap:The management will be handled by a US subsidiary divorced from oversight by the Dubai owners.

Now, let's see if Congress will demand the same thing of those terminals manged by the Chinese and Saudis.

terrye said...


I have wondered, just what could the WH have done differently?

I am not saying the Bushies are smooth [obviously they are not] but it seems to me that no matter how they do or do not handle things, the end result is the same.

I know I will never feel comfortable with certain bloggers again and will probably never visit their sites because it seemed to me that a sort of mindless bigotry was just barely beneath the surface here.

And it seemed Congress was worse. So what do they do about the Saudis, the Chinese, the Danes and Singapore?

CF said...

I just heard that days into this, Congress was unable to get a fact sheet out to them.

Tomorrow the WH communications office (along with the personnel office which also is curl your hair dreadful) should be "restructured".

Syl said...

Imperial Congress, indeed.

I'm more annoyed at the REPs in congress than Bush. They've shown they can be just as stupid on national security issues as the DEMs. Congress makes our laws so we must depend on them to know what they're doing and to have the knowledge required to do it.

All the information needed for this deal is out there. They only had to look. But, nooooo, the REPs pulled the DEM trick of playing to the ignorance of the electorate.

The REPs can't depend on Bush for everything, they have some responsibility on their own and they blew it.

So this became simple Arab and muslim bashing and so obviously so. And that in itself will harm us internationally.

Terrye---I'm a bit appalled, as you are, at certain bloggers and their hysterics over this. Two of them I doubt I'll ever visit again.

Sheesh. Rantburg commenters were more discerning about this deal than LGF and Michelle. That's got to mean something.

terrye said...


Maybe they will fire some people, but if Dennis the peasant could get together a considerable amount of information on this, then the Republicans in Congress with all their assets could damn well do the same.

That moron Lewis was still bitching and moaning about keeping ports in American hands as if he thought P&O was American instead of British. Freaking idiot.