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President Bush has not vetoed a single bill in five years in office.

But, yesterday, it seemed at last he had found an issue so important it merited his first veto.


The President wanted the United Arab Emirates (or, to be technically correct, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates) to operate six U.S. Ports: in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

The problem was the Governors or New York, New Jersey and Maryland and Republicans in Congress disagreed – and when Congress started talking about bills to undo President Bush’s proposed agreement with United Arab Emirates company – the President dug in his heels and started talking about vetoes. So, at least yesterday, it looked like the President’s first veto, ever – might be to allow the United Arab Emirates to operate U.S. Ports.

Don’t that beat all.

And what I wanted to know, yesterday, was who was wired in so tight at the White House – who was lobbying for the United Arab Emirates – they got the Bush Administration to approve turning the port of New York (or part of it) over to a company owned by an Arab Emirate right now.

But, anyway, there was President Bush – yesterday – saying the deal was ‘fair’ and, by God, he’d veto anything Congress passed to stop it (and what I was waiting for him to explain was why the natural concern people would have about, in effect, a foreign government operating American ports (through it a wholly owned subsidiary) wasn’t really something we needed to worry about at all.

Well, this morning another shoe fell.

It appears, according to the newspapers, one of the people who lobbied, consulted, helped or whatever the United Arab Emirates company on this deal was former Senator Robert Dole.

What’s more, President Bush has done a partial about face. Instead of vetoing Congress bill(s) now he’s going to explain the virtue of this deal to Congress – and, in fact, his office says he never even knew about the deal before his administration approved it.

What a difference a day makes.


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