Roger L. Simon

Election Blogging

Ten minutes until the opening of the polls… I am watching Fox News where Geraldo has been up since before dawn in Baghdad covering the election. Rivera gets a lot of bad press, but the man has guts and he has a heart. In the old days he was considered a liberal… and he still is in my book. It’s his critics who have gone the other way. I’m glad to have him as my guide to Iraq this morning (night here in LA) because I know that democracy is more important to him than party poltics, as it should be for all of us. I’m exceited. More to come.

CNN has Amanpour, a woman who makes my stomach turn. They have crews set up in front of polling places in Baghdad and Najaf. It would seem that the violence would start early in order to discourage voting. But so far nothing.

7:10 (Iraq time) – watching IRaqi interim pres Ghazi Al-Yawar voting inside the Green Zone. Who could blamed him?

7:12 – Back on Fox… showing people voting in Baghdad and somewhere else… so far no violence… fingers crossed.

7:15 – Sunni officials voting early to show the Sunnis that they should vote. Good idea.

7:17 – Scary moment on Fox with Tony Snow talking to correspondent in Baghdad interrupted by a loud noise — it was US helicopters. What an incredilbe world we now live in – everything so far yet so close.

7:20 – Fox is reporting random gunifre. Doesn’t seem like much. I find this election more exciting than our own. IT’s the risk factor, I guess.

7:21 – I know everyone will, but feel free to join in. This is a group project. No single person could keep up with these events. You will see things I don’t and understand things I don’t.

7:23 – Is this going to be an historic day in world history. It’s quite possible, isn’t it?

7:24 – Fantastic view from drone of “insurgents” running for their lives. Smart psyop.

7:25 – Just had this strange thought that the arrest of Zarqawi will be announced today. Wishful thinking?

7:30 – Oops. Live coverage seems to be diminshing. We now have to listen to Jane Arraf. Not for me, thank you.

7:35 – Iraqis have 111 choices in their election. I’ve never had to deal with that many candidates, except for the California Recall Election. Now there’s a thought – Arnold for Prime Minister of Iraq. That would take care of those “insurgents.” And maybe the Iraqis have more liberal laws about aliens running.

7:36 – one out of three candidates must be a woman. Not bad.

7:40 – Looks like no violence but few voters so far. Of course it’s very early.

7:42 – continued images of an empty polling place in Baghdad (on Fox) juxtaposed with commentary bu more liberal Arabs advocating democracy. What about the people? Walid Phares is enthusiastic, however.

7:47 – Strange to see Clinton suddenly appear on HEadline News, walking about Davos. Evidently he admitted his error in Rwanda – could have saved two or three hundred thousand lives. Yes, he could have. Bush stepped up in IRaq. Times have changes.

7:43 Tony Snow talks about sudden pro-democracy shift by the NYT. It’s about time. Let’s hope it’s permanent.

7;45 – There are currently 675 people on this site, so I guess I should continue, although things are a little slow. Now Snow is having a discussion of Ted Kennedy’s ultra-reactionary demand for a pullout from Iraq only days before the election.

7:53 – Adam Schiff, Democratic Congressman from Glendale, CA, is being very forthright in his support of the elction.

7:55 – Judging from the uptown dress of the voters, Fox looks to have it’s camera at the Beverly Hills of Beghdad polling station. I don’t blame them, but too bad they didn’t have the guts to set up in the middle of working class Iraq (well, maybe not Sadr City).

8:02 – Now I finally understand… what we have been looking at is the so-called Copnvention Center, not a normal polling place. More people were even coming in and out of a polling place in Sard City. (running out of battery – will be off line for about three minutes)

8:07 – Some asshole on CNN has just announced that this is the “nightmare scenario” because some polling place in Baquba isn’t open yet. This character… don’t know his name… seemed almost smug that something was going wrong.

8:11 – Great day for the Kurds. They deserve it!

8:13 – It’s amazing that CNN still uses Brent Sadler for its coverage. Doesn’t he miss his buddy Saddam?

8:15 – Fox is not as good as CNN at location coverage. Murdoch doesn’t seem to care. Too bad. This leaves a real hole in American television journalism. Maybe the blogosphere will fill it some day.

8:22 – Everyone is saying this vote is far from perfect, but what is a perfecdt vote anyway? I have no idea.

8:18 – Wouldn’t it be interesting if the level of violence for the day is low, really low? What will the media say? Probably, as AManpour already hinted, that the country was under the equivalent of martial law. Therefore it’s meaningless. But it’s not.

8:24 – I feel bad for the Iraqis being photoraphed and televised as they vote. Not just because of the obvious risk, but because of the general feeling of exposure. I wouldn’t like to be filmed voting, particularly, and I’ve been doing it for thirty-five years.

8:28 – First violent incident reported on Fox. Hard to know if it’s anything.

8:30 – Since this election, at least in America, is a cable news event, how ab out Zocor and Viagra for each Iraqi who votes (now you’re getting punchy, Simon).

8:33 – One polling place hit by mortars. Still no word on casualties.

8:38 – Seems like the “Insurgents” are making some noise. The suicide bomber was stopped at a checkpoint. Good. But will the people come out to vote?

8:41 – Discussion of corrupt police who will set bombs at polling stations from the inside. Sounds like LA in the Forties… well, maybe not. The issue at this early point, it seems to me, is that if there is a relatively low level of violence but the people still do not vote, what does that mean? There are many ways to spin that and I’m sure we will see all of them.

8:45 – It’s weird watching an election when you really have to no horse in the race (no candidate). You’re only hoping a lot of people will vote and that they will be safe.

8:50 – Looks like a real line to vote in Sadr City. (Not as long as the one I saw today in front of NBC in Burbank waiting to be on some reality show, but long enough.)

8:55 – The idea that anyone is still interested in Jesse Jackson’s opinion about anything amazes me.

9:00 – Frankly, I miss Geraldo. He is still the best guide for this event.

9:o1 – Yes! Geraldo back from a jammed polling place. He’s inspired. It’s the BErlin Wall and the Civil Rights era… I want to believe you Geraldo. I want to believe! Now he’s calling it Rocky.

9:02 – Geraldo admits he is only at one community (Western outskirts of Baghdad) so doesn’t speak for all of Iraq… but what I like about this man is he wants the world to be a good place. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it, but in our media it is unfortunately a rare thing. Way to go, guy. All your exs will now excuse you.

9:05 – Now it’s the nefarious Chelabi, the man who is supposedly guilty of so many things but never actually gets convicted of anyting… well, once in Jordan, I guess… and now here he is apparently headed for the Iraqi Assembly. Fascinating. He and Geraldo seem to love each other. Two rascals. But loveable today, neverthless.

9:10 – Another suicide bomber. A couple of police were killed with the psychopath who did this. Sad. Still, doesn’t seem like very much is happening. Early turnout is supposedly heavy.

9:12 – Now that the NYT is waking up (a little) I wonder if Europe will follow. I think it’s possible.

9:16 – Watching the line of Kurds voting makes you cry.

9:21 – I know it sounds corny, but those of us in the blogosphere–readers, writers, commenters–who supported our government’s actions in Iraq and suffered the opprobrium of friends and family, were called warmongers and chickenhawks, this is a time to celebrate. This is what we wer fighting for in the war of opinion. It’s not much, especially compared to our brave troops, but it something.

9;30 – Mrs. Francke, the Iraqi Un Ambassador, is filled with optimism. Let’s hope. Meanwhile, on CNN, the Iraqis are drowning out Jane Arraf. Good for them.

9:35 – Some reactionary bozo on CNN is complaining that one suicide bomber got through this morning. What a drip.

9:40 – Mubarak is getting dissed on Fox. He deserves it. IRaq gets democracy. Why not Egypt? Time to eliminate hypocrisy from foreign policy. We’re on the way.

9:43 – There is an appalling Baghdad correspondernt on CNN who seems almost desperate for things to go wrong, but they’re not. He keeps going on and on about the danger.

9:54 – Of course, this is also a great day for Paul Wolfowitz. It vindicates him.

9:55 – Susan Estrich is a tone deaf reactionary. WHat kind of bullshit is she talking right now about we didn’t go to Iraq to bring democracy. Speak for yourself Susan. IF you expect people like me to ever go back to the Democratic Party, wise up. You sound stupid and out of it.

10:00 – Okay, I’m signing off now. I’m going to need a good night sleep to be able to listen all the spin doctors turn a victory for democracy into some kind of partisan nonsense. I salute you all. And I salute the Iraq people. Thanks for joining me. I hope I’m around for more nights like this.