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Monday February 14, 2005
Two elections. Two weeks and eight time zones apart. The elections in Iraq on January 30. The election of Howard Dean in Washington, DC this weekend to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Dear Mr. Mullings:
Don't you think you should have issued a STRETCH ALERT, trying to tie the DNC election to the elections in Eye-rack?
The Association of International Election Observers
Well, now that you mention it�
Anyway � The Iraqi democratization keeps going along quite well. Official results released yesterday indicate that just under 60 percent of registered voters turned out, which is pretty close to Western election numbers; and the leading Shiite party got 47% of the vote - not a clear majority - which means they gotta deal.
The most often mentioned candidate for new Prime Minister of Iraq is the current Finance Minister who is a member of the United Iraqi Alliance, but is not a cleric.
As someone close to the situation told me yesterday: "Nobody in a turban is likely to be running Iraq."
The current Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, (whose party came in third with about 14%) has been spending time up north with the Kurdish leaders (whose slate came in second with about 25% of the vote) in an attempt to cobble together a coalition which would allow him to keep his job.
In any event, the process of putting together a government in Iraq appears to be going along the lines that President Bush envisioned: Political leaders are doing political things.
Democracy is often untidy. But it is infinitely better than the kind of elections which were run under Saddam: Neat, clean, and perpetuated a dictatorship.
Before we move back from Iraq, a word about the resignation/firing of CNN's chief news guy Eason Jordan for having suggested, in remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that journalists have been killed by coalition forces in Iraq on purpose.
Let me related this short story: About a year ago, two CNN journalists were killed in an ambush on the road between Hillah and Baghdad.
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt - the military briefer - asked for a meeting of the bureau chiefs of the major western media. At that meeting he expressed his sorrow over the murder - by terrorists - of the CNN crew and asked the bureau chiefs to take down his personal cell phone number.
He told them that if any of their reporters or crews got into trouble - any time of the day or night - to call him. "Don't worry about protocol," he said. "Get to me as quickly as you can, and we'll try to get help to your people as quickly as we can."
That meeting was never, to my knowledge, reported.
Meanwhile, back in Your Nation's Capital, the Democratic National Committee, as expected, elected former (and I believe, future) Presidential candidate Howard Dean to be its chairman.
During the recent DNC winter meeting everyone kept saying what a swell job outgoing chairman Terry McAuliffe had done running the organization because he raised so much money.
This, despite the fact that he led the party to losing the Presidential election; not gaining any ground in the US House; and moving from absolute parity to a 10-seat deficit in the US Senate.
Now that Howard Dean has taken the reins of the DNC he will have to deal with groups such as the - this is true - the Florida Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transsexual Caucus which met in Florida over the weekend; gave a standing ovation to the news that Howard had been elected and, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
"Florida's gay Democrats vowed Saturday to be puppets of their party no longer and to bring social issues to the front of their party's concerns."
Yeah. That will play reeeely well in the Red States.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Eason Jordan and Sun-Sentinel pieces; a nice Mullfoto from the balcony of the State Department building the other night, and an interesting Valentine's day photo.
"'We're liberal; we're not in the middle,' said Donnell Morris of Fort Lauderdale. 'Let's get away from that.'"
Copyright © 2005 Richard A. Galen
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