i am too busy to do this but i can't resist
i keep thinking about how bush really lowered expectations about this iraq vote. last week he kept pounding away at the idea that just having a vote in iraq counted as a success. and the media basically bought into it. you gotta hand it to them. the members of the bush administration, for all their substantive faults, are really good salesmen.
so after days of gushing coverage of the iraqi vote, we are finally getting some preliminary results (i.e. what the iraqis were really saying with their vote). in the voting districts where results have been publicized, interim prime minister ayad allawi got only 18% of the vote. allawi, you might recall, was appointed by the american military and, according to the iraqi interim authorities' polling, was never very popular with the iraqi people. that didn't stop bush from slamming kerry when he brought up these facts during the campaign. now that "freedom loving" iraqis get a voice, it seems that they were more on kerry's side after all.
it's also worth noting that allawi was the only major candidate who publicly stated before the vote that he was in favor of keeping u.s. forces in iraq. if these preliminary results hold up when the final count is released, it could be seen as a rejection of the american occupation by iraqi voters. (which is consistent with dahr jamail's experience when he spoke to iraqis on election day)
the results reported today are still very preliminary and only come from voting districts in the shi'a south and parts of baghdad. but allawi himself is a shi'a, and the kurds and sunni arabs are even less likely to vote for him. given the system of proportional representation, allawi will probably be able to weasel his way into the parliament (something that would probably never happen if he had to win a majority in a geographic district, like the system we have for electing members of congress). but it may be a real stretch to present him as some kind of face of a democratic iraq after this.