Democracy or Bushocracy?
Faced with strong opposition on the proposed deal to sell shipping operations of six major U.S. seaports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, Bush threatened to use his veto against any congressional legislation aimed at stopping the deal. In doing so, Bush made three tactical mistakes that may hurt him and the Republican Party:
- Undermining the US democracy and downplaying its citizens' worries: By refusing to open a debate on the port issue and not offering any kind of solutions aimed at understanding and solving the issues that have been raised, Bush is telling the American people that his decision, even if not publicly explained, is more important that their concerns. In a situation where preeminent leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties disagree with this decision, a veto would be an autocratic act.
- Giving strong ammunition to his adversaries: Bush has often been criticized by his opponents of not being knowledgeable on some core issues and pushing his own agenda at the expenses of national interests. The fact that the White House announced that Bush was not aware of this critical deal until it was approved by his administration and that Bush is putting all his weight behind this unpopular and misunderstood decision is obviously going to play in favor of his detractors.
- Weakening the Republican Party: By making a decision that is perceived as a threat to National Security, Bush is taking away one of the key strengths of the Republicans. When faced with criticism related to their perceived weaknesses (e.g. the Iraq war), the Republican Party has always been using the fact that they represent the safest choice for America as the party that can guarantee that National Security will be at the top of the agenda. They may have a more difficult time making such an argument moving forward.