The tagline from a new ad by Wichita-area Congressman Todd Tiahrt is “The safety of American ports must never be sold off to a foreign bidder.” It ends a spot that seems aimed at distancing himself from the White House over the Dubai ports deal.
The entire enterprise is bizarre, not least because Tiahrt is as much a rubber stamp as anyone else. Better than that, though, is that “There is probably no other critical infrastructure—besides port security—in the U.S., where so much of it is in foreign hands,” according to Stephen E. Flynn, the Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former White House security adviser.
Earlier this year, Dubai based DPW won a bid for a British company that had been managing ports. It beat out a bid by a company from Singapore. The debate was never about foreign ownership (though that would be a worthwhile discussion). Instead, the issue was whether the Bush administration had followed a law which required a formal investigation before the assets could be sold.
The interesting part of the Tiahrt ad is, as the Wichita Eagle’s blog notes, “Bush must really be radioactive if a long-term congressman from a red state who is facing a little-known opponent feels the need to separate himself from Bush.” The opponent is Garth McGinn, a systems engineer from Bel Aire, KS.