During his brief visit to Iraq, Barack Obama has been greeted by busloads of Iraqi cameramen vying for shots of his arrivals and departures at meetings with government officials.
But on government-sponsored Al Iraqiya television Monday, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee received second billing to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's departure for Europe. Only Al Hurra, the U.S.-sponsored channel, led with the story.
The situation has been similar on the streets of Baghdad, where Obama's visit has been duly noted but is not the No. 1 thing on people's minds.Iraqis tend to be jaundiced about American politics and skeptical that the differences between the presidential candidates have anything to do with them.
"If either McCain or Obama visits Iraq, it would be for campaign purposes, and therefore at this point in time it won't have any effect on the situation in Iraq," said Khalil Ibrahim, 34, a perfume shop owner.
The above is from Said Rifai and Saif Rasheed's "Among Iraqis, Obama is not Topic No. 1" (Los Angeles Times). Barack's doing staged photo-ops and the bulk of the press is refusing to do anything but say ga-ga as they drool.
Which is one reason why the New York Times' refusal to run John McCain's submitted column is so embarrassing. Kate Phillips writes an idiotic dithering where she attempts to justify her employers. Earn that bonus, Kate! Nowhere in it does she grasp that the paper should be running any column by any presidential candidate (that's Barack, McCain, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader) or that the rejection of the column is a rejection of McCain's campaign style by the paper (which has never been as high-road as Kate wants people to believe -- apparently, we're not only supposed to forget Bob Herbert's foaming at the mouth throughout the Democratic primaries but also the work of William Safire among others). If you missed it -- and apparently the whole world did -- yesterday the New York Times got outed by a major publication (newspaper) on their giddy-love for Barack and their belief (in 2006) that he would be the next president (a belief they shared with others in the press, which is how they got outed). It wasn't a good day for the McCain story to break. Before some drive-by yet again falsey accuses me of supporting McCain (I'm not voting for either Barack or McCain), I'll say hunt for it yourself -- but here's a clue, the reporter just a won an award recently.
(And don't e-mail: "They endorsed Hillary in the primary!" They had to. She is the state senator and NYT is not done with its plans for physical expansion. Shortly after endorsing her, you may remember, they began trashing her in their editorials. It's called having it both ways and hoping Hillary has a short memory.)
In the meantime, you can ask yourself why these less-than-cermonial trips (so much less than what Barack sneered at when speaking of Hillary) are being greeted by supposedly intelligent people who sneered at the same stunts by the Bully Boy for the last seven years? (Answer: Because there are no standards and no grown ups, just a lot of little whining brats looking for a father figure.) Strike up Rice and Lloyd Weber!
Now I don't like to spoil a wonderful story
But the news from Rome isn't quite as good
She hasn't gone down like we thought she would
Italy's unconvinced by Argentine glory
They equate Peron with Mussolini
Can't think why
What people should be thinking is why a first-term US senator who has already racked up a lousy voting record (missed votes) is now off playing Gidget Goes To Europe and the MidEast. In this installment of the Gidget movie franchise, Barack's a "stew" and doing a quick series of stop-overs. And people treat it as if news. The backlash will probably be Americans asking, "Why the hell isn't he competing for my vote instead of going on a world tour?"
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Said Rifai and Saif Rasheed
the los angeles times
the new york times