Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, February 26, 2006

LAT Blasts Boxer On Ports

I'm beginning to like the Dubai ports deal more and more -- after all, it got the LA Times to lead off it's high-profile Sunday editorial page with a full-barrel blast at California's oh-so-junior senator, Babs Boxer.

The LAT position is interesting. While it routinely slams new development, not caring that it is attacking the state's number one business in terms of sales (that would be real estate), here the paper recognizes the importance of international trade to the state, and the importance of global management to the ports:
Memo to Boxer: 13 of the 14 container terminals at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, the biggest port complex in the U.S., are run by foreign-owned companies.
How many of those are run by Islamic countries -- even relatively enlightened ones like UAE -- the Times leaves unclear.

The Times then harkens back to the 1998 COSCO deal, when China's international trade company wanted to move from its existing LA berths to a closed naval station nearby. Clinton supported the deal, Boxer loudly supported the deal, the public hated the deal, and it died.

Now that a Republican is, however clumsily, promoting a similarly controversial dock deal, Babs is a ranting anti-internationalist. She called last week for legislation preventing any foreign firm, state-owned or not, from buying port operators, i.e., the Clinton-Menendez bill. When she found out that nearly all LA ports were foreign-operated, she "told The Times that she meant such deals should get greater scrutiny, not be banned."

Why so suddenly anti-global? It could be that things have changed since 9/11. They have, and that's why so many of us on the right were shocked by the Dubai docks deal. LAT posits a more probable explanation for Babs' behavior, however:
One possible explanation is that the Cosco deal was heavily backed by a Democratic administration, while the Dubai Ports World deal is heavily backed by a Republican administration. But that would mean Boxer is working against the interests of her state in order to score cheap political points. She would never do such a thing. Would she?