“He has no political capital,” said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster. “Slowly but surely it’s been unraveling. There’s been a direct correlation between the trajectory of his approval numbers and the — I don’t want to call it disloyalty — the independence on the part of the Republicans in Congress.”
The port deal has troubled Republicans not just on the substance of the issue but also on the president’s handling of it. The White House failed to anticipate the frenzy that would be touched off by the prospect of an Arab company managing U.S. ports, and many Republicans believe that Bush exacerbated the situation with a rash veto threat.
He’s been doing shit like this the whole time, of course, but this was finally the one that made Congressional Republicans dig in their heels. Why? It’s all well and good for Al-Qaeda-enabling tyrannies to be Vital Allies in the War On Terror as long as they’re keeping their shit overseas. But putting one of those governments in charge of a portion of the United States’ own security? There’s no way anyone’s going to be able to explain that to the voters back home.