- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

As the Dubai ports fiasco unravels, it’s worth examining the performance of key players in the last few weeks’ debate. The senior senator from New York, Charles Schumer, has played a central role. He is the exploiter-in-chief of the Dubai acrimony and merits the first look.

Mr. Schumer has barely missed an opportunity to promote himself. On Wednesday, he hoodwinked fellow senator and Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon into making Mr. Wyden’s unrelated amendment a carry-on for Mr. Schumer’s Dubai ports grandstanding. Now, we’re with Mr. Schumer on the substance — there are serious problems with the Dubai deal — but Mr. Schumer’s move appears to have trampled all over the collegiality for which the Senate is famous. The Senate has its protocols; they are about collegiality. But Mr. Schumer either doesn’t agree or he thinks he is exempt. The Senate is buzzing about it.

The specific act was Mr. Schumer’s hiding of his real intentions while asking for floor time to attach a second-degree amendment on the ports deal to an amendment Mr. Wyden offered in conjunction with Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican. This move seems arcane, but it was highly deceptive and for that reason is considered significant by members and staffers of the Senate.

In “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” senators don’t deceive each other. Much less do they maltreat their own party members. But here was Mr. Schumer using Mr. Wyden as a pawn to grab cameras on the same day the House Appropriations Committee voted to block the Dubai deal.

As a vignette, this episode nicely captures what we’ve come to observe about Mr. Schumer. In a Congress where lawmakers regularly do just about anything to get attention, he stands out for his singular capacity for self-promotion.

This new supposed convert to national security is an embarrassment. His actions discredit people who see genuine security problems with handing ports-management contracts over to a government-owned company from Dubai.

We’re gratified to hear news yesterday that Dubai Ports World is reconsidering at least its managerial role in the ports contracts; it looks like the security concerns of this deal are starting to be addressed. No doubt Mr. Schumer will want to take credit for that, too.

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