12/23/2004: Gem o'the day:
Bush did have a clear answer for one thing, in response to a question he wasn't asked. (Two things, if you include his clear admission that he won't be attending the Rose Bowl to watch his home-state Texas Longhorns.) During his introductory statement, Bush explained that Iraq will have "a fully democratic constitutional government" within a year, if the people of Iraq ratify the constitution that will be drafted by the government elected in January. Many observers have worried that the Sunnis in Iraq won't see the new constitution as legitimate (or "fully democratic") if they can't participate in the January elections. Bush dismissed those concerns: "More than 80 parties and coalitions have been formed, and more 7,000 candidates have registered for the elections."
You go to the polls with the democracy you have, not the democracy that you might wish or want to have, but the test of an "energetic" democracy isn't the number of political parties and candidates it fields for each election. That's the same logic the administration used to defend its unimpressive coalition for the Iraq invasion. OK, there aren't any Arab countries, and a lot of important Europeans are missing, but hey, look at the raw numbers! So what if we don't have the Sunnis (the French and Germans)? We have 7,000 other candidates (Costa Rica, Estonia, and don't forget Poland). It's an election of the willing. Or perhaps the able.
Len on 12.23.04 @ 10:15 AM CST