If anyone was wondering where Fox News gets its talking points, Duncan Hunter’s performance on Tuesday’s Washington Journal was a masterpiece that probably provided a jumping off place for Fox pundits all day long and perhaps into forever land. A California Republican and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Hunter is a determined foe of the Dubai World Ports deal. Claiming “good guy” status for the president he excused him for just being too darn busy to take in every detail of such things as the Dubai matter – – what with the war, his travels and the national economy occupying so much of his time.
However, during the telecast, Representative Hunter managed to say that President Clinton had written the Emir to promote job-seeking former staffer Joe Lockhart and to suggest as well that Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards were lobbying in favor of the Dubai World Ports takeover, repeating this twice in a remarkably short space of time. At one point a caller asked, in the light of legislation Hunter supports regarding foreign port management, what about other countries’ involvement in US port management, e.g. China. To this Hunter replied that he and his committee had thwarted a plan by the Chinese to operate a West Coast naval base during, surprise, surprise, the Clinton administration, completely ignoring the fact that China does indeed operate some US ports at the present time.
Conveniently left un-remarked were the myriad of Bush and Bush administration connections to the Arab Emirates – – everything from the Carlyle Group to Treasury Secretary Snow to brother Neil’s educational-testing venture, financed in part by supporters in the Emirates. Neil, you may recall, sat on the Board of the Silverado Savings and Loan enterprise while it was descending into the largest of the savings and loan debacles during his father’s presidency. And if the Clinton presidential library was gifted with $500,000 from the Emirates as some on the right have noted, the Bush presidential library received a cool million as most on the right never mention.
And when asked about his friend Duke Cunningham Hunter launched into a long anthem praising Cunningham’s war record – – how many MIGs he had shot down, his bravery, his service and patriotism. He did allow as how Cunningham had broken the law and was being punished for his transgressions, but that he was nonetheless a friend and a war hero. That is all well and good and will probably be more talked about on Fox and around the right-wing circuit than the man’s incredible sellout to companies doing business with the United States government in exchange for some real estate and other items of personal wealth. Funny how certain war records seem to carry more weight than others in the minds of some.
In any case, the Hunter monologue provides insight into how partisans can manipulate information so that a political slant begins to color the discussion of issues that are in fact of broad national concern and should better be left bi-partisan in nature, or at the very least not twisted to suggest that the other party is more suspect than yours, especially when that is patently untrue.
The ports matter is just another example of the Bush administration’s tendency to treat everything as a commercial venture, that thing that seems most important to them. The fact that this time even the party faithful are jumping ship means that every once in a while national security and pressure from constituents can form a wedge wide and forceful enough to overwhelm even a stubborn president determined to have his way about everything.

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