You’d never know it from listening to the lamestream media this weekend, but Iraqis went to the polls in nationwide provincial elections. Turnout was strong, and there was not a single major act of violence.
The early returns show a repudiation of the Islamist and other religious parties which had been in large part dominated by Iran. Secular parties, and in particular, the party of the current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, appear to have gained position. This is a huge step toward a secular, stable representative democracy in Iraq.
"I just voted and I’m very happy," said one Iraqi man.
"I want the political leaders to listen to us. I think this will begin the change," said another.
"A great day," said yet another.
The BBC reported that there was "a holiday atmosphere" among voters walking to the polling places.
A female Baghdad medical student said, "People here are so excited by the feeling that their vote can make a difference."
Exhilaration over voting? Excitement? A holiday atmosphere?
The media, invested for years in the narrative that Iraq was a failure, only begrudgingly reported any of this, and made sure to counter it with erroneous reports about light turnout and confusing voting procedures.
Iraq had more effective and efficient candidate selection than we did.
Exhibit A: the Illinois Senate seat.
Exhibit B: the New York Senate seat.
Exhibit C: the Minnesota Senate seat (pending).
Exhibit D: ACORN, anyone?
We should have Iraqi election monitors watching us during our next elections. They ran a better show than we did.
Most disgracefully, our new president — a man who would run over his grandmother to get in front of a camera — could only manage a lame written statement "congratulating" the Iraqi people on holding elections. He’s got no problem holding press conferences about such pressing issues as the choice of White House puppy. But a presser on the landmark Iraq elections? Why, that’s a bridge too far.
President Bush stuck with Iraq. Against all political pressure and advice to the contrary, he went ahead with the surge and allowed the generals and the troops the latitude to see the engagement to victory. In the process, he liberated 28 million people from tyranny’s grip and gave them a shot at freedom.
Something tells me there was a "holiday atmosphere" at the former president’s Texas home this weekend.
Bush was right. Again.