The politic thing for a president with a dismal approval rating (about 40 percent) would have been to join with the critics, get ahead of the anti-Arab wave and announce that he, too, was concerned about the deal, which was the fault, now that he thought about it, of pointy-headed bureaucrats, Democrats and the occasional atheist. Instead, the White House stuck to its guns, ordering a symbolic retreat -- more study -- but continuing to back the deal.
That Bush has done this should come as no surprise. As a bigot he leaves a lot to be desired. He has refused to pander to anti-immigration forces, and shortly after Sept. 11, if you will remember, he visited Washington's Islamic Center. He reassured American Muslims and the worldwide Islamic community that neither America nor its government were waging war on an entire people.
"The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said back then -- and he has since repeated this message over and over again. That very year -- in November 2001 -- Bush invited 52 Muslim diplomats to a traditional Iftar dinner, breaking the daily Ramadan fast, and he has occasionally cited purported racism as the reason some people doubt the Muslim world will, as Bush so fervently wishes, make progress toward democracy. They think people whose skin is "a different color than white" are incapable of self-government, he has said.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Defending Bush on the Ports Deal
Richard Cohen emerges as another unlikely Bush defender over the UAE ports deal. (His Post colleague David Ignatius and the New York Times' Nick Kristof have also written columns this week taking a similar stance.) I cut out the article and highlighted the following few paragraphs to show to Muslim friends: