On June 14, 2005 Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, while criticizing the treatment of prisoners at the US facility in Guantanamo, compared our Americans serving there to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime – Pol Pot or others – that had no concern for human beings.”
White House spokesman Scott McClellan called Durbin’s remarks a “real disservice to our men and women in uniform who adhere to high standards and uphold our values and our laws.” Senator John McCain, a prisoner of the Vietnam War, said “I think that Senator Durbin owes the Senate an apology — I don’t know if censure would be in order — but an apology, because it does a great disservice to men and women who suffered in the gulag and in Pol Pot’s ‘killing fields.”
By Wednesday, June 22, just eight days after his poorly chosen remarks, Durbin offered a tearful apology on the Senate floor as he sought to quell a torrent of criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Those idiotic remarks in 2005 were my first exposure to Durbin. Since then I’ve kept my eyes on him. I wasn’t impressed with Durbin, but his recent actions as a vocal opponent of Dubai Ports World, while ignoring the prosperity of his constituents and thousands of American workers, has so infuriated me that I’ve been motivated to establish my annual “Political Idiot of the Year Award”, with Durbin as it’s first recipient.
My reasons for supporting Dubai Ports World were carefully outlined in my February 26, 2006 blog titled “Dubai Company Should Run US Ports.” That article appears at: http://www.donsalyards.com/Archive%20File/Feb%2026%2006.htm
Durbin, like the other Arab Phobes in Washington, gave faulty and emotional arguments that eventually led Dubai Ports World to announce this week that they have forgone their investment to manage six US ports. Durbin and his cronies celebrated. So what makes Durbin more of an idiot that the rest of these Washington politicians?
Unlike other politicians in Washington, Durbin’s constituency in Illinois consists of the world headquarters of this country’s largest Aircraft Manufacturer, Boeing. When Boeing manufactures an aircraft thousands of jobs are created in the United States. These jobs are not only created in Boeing’s main assembly sites in Long Beach, California, St. Louis, Missouri, and the cities of Renton and Everett Washington, they are created in thousands of small firms that supply parts for Boeing aircraft. Furthermore, these are good paying jobs that inject billions of dollars of expenditures and payroll into the US economy. Boeing directly employs around 160,000 people. At least four times that number of US workers owe their livelihood to Boeing by supplying the parts the company requires.
So, you might ask, where are you going with this, Salyards? Why is Durbin an Idiot? The answer is simple. The US Senator who is supposed to represent the interests of Boeing and its thousands of US workers has acted like a “cartoon protester” leading other politicians to sling insults at the citizens of Dubai and it’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Sheikh is now wondering why the United States, a country that he has long admired and supported in the war on terrorism, has insulted him.
Unlike most heads of state, who act solely in a political capacity, Al Maktoum actually owns Dubai’s Emirates Airlines, which recently awarded Boeing a $9.7 billion order to buy 42 Boeing 777 Dreamliners. In addition, Emirates had already booked with Boeing an additional $27 billion worth of aircraft orders in the past few years, choosing Boeing over Europe’s Airbus Industries, Boeing’s only competitor.
Those orders from Emirates, the Arab world’s largest airline, would have kept Boeing workers and employees in parts supply houses all over the Unites States working overtime.
Over the last two weeks Dick Durbin, the honorable Senator from Illinois, had to make a decision. On the one hand, political grandstanding against Dubai Ports World would make him look like a national security hero, while at the same time discrediting his political enemy, President Bush. On the other hand, that same grandstanding would likely cost the US economy thousands of jobs due to cancellation of contracts by Emirates Airlines.
Political Grandstanding vs. Thousands of U.S. Jobs? No problem for Dick Durbin, my Political Idiot of the Year!