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Is Landrieu more interested in union or port security?

The issue about whether the Port of New Orleans’ operations and those of five others should be run by a United Arab Emirates (essentially government-owned) company raises some interesting points (cogent and informed arguments concerning which may be found, here, here, and here). Why Sen. Mary Landrieu has so stridently come out against the deal at first borders on the baffling, if not insipid.

Democrat Landrieu appears to be against the deal because it would give a state with past dealings with the terror network monetary (but not necessarily operational) control over the company that runs operations (hiring, but not security) of these ports, raising a legitimate security question. She appears to have made up her mind almost instantly on the deal, as opposed to her Republican co-resident Sen. David Vitter who has said he has an open mind on the subject and wants Congressional vetting of the clearance granted in order for the transaction to close by Pres. George W. Bush.

What’s strikingly odd about Landrieu’s knee-jerk reaction is that in past, almost identical situations, we heard nary a peep out of her in opposition. In 1997, she stayed silent as controversy raged about the impending transfer of operation of the Panama Canal to a Chinese holding company with close ties to its communist government. A year later, again she did not voice any opposition to a proposed lease of Long Beach, CA port facilities to a company owned by the Chinese military.

Like all but four senators, Landrieu voted for the conference version of the latter bill which allowed Congress to stop the transaction, but her only remarks on the floor during debate of its Senate companion were not about national security concerns but instead about supporting union interests. And here perhaps lies one key to her unrepentant opposition: a takeover by a Dubai firm may be able to ratchet down union control of longshoremen’s jobs (see here the hysteria this caused in the minds of Australia’s similar union).

Landrieu’s opposition now as opposed to then also probably has to do with the fact that fellow Democrat Pres. Bill Clinton then had proposed allowing the Chinese communist takeovers to go through – as opposed to Republican Bush making the offer, the man she threatened to punch. Still, her surface hypocrisy on the issue probably is driven by her underlying desire to back unions instead of lower prices to consumers that could result if transfers of operations such as these could reduce the roughly $60,000 annual average wage made by a longshoreman, with many now making over $100,000.

And while some argue that unions must be kept at these ports to improve security, it’s interesting to note that the union whose members actually do the security inspections of cargo has come out against the deal. Since these are agents of the U.S. government, they would not be affected by any move to freeing up labor markets, just the private concerns that move cargo.

Landrieu knows who butters her electoral bread – special interests, not the public, and in this light her preference on this issue doesn’t appear so surprising after all. She doesn’t want to review the facts before making a decision, because her sudden public concern about foreign control of U.S. ports masks her ongoing private concern about continuing to transfer consumers’ dollars into the pockets of her fat and happy union allies, with the bonus of taking some shots against the president.


wst... said...

now you're hitting below the belt in attacking senator landrieu for her opposition to this so called port deal. plenty of other republicans, democrats and any citizen with a lick of common sense is against this deal. rep bobby jindal said this morning on the moon griffon program that he is against it too.

so this is just a cheap shot on your part going after sen landrieu for her stance in this port matter.

Anonymous said...

what cheap shot on the "blond bimbo". She does nothing for the citizens of this state but everything for her own benefit. Go back and reread Dr. Sadow's article and just maybe you'll be educated....but I doubt it.