Today's Blogs

Constitution Resolution

The votes have been tallied, and the Iraqi Constitution is a go. Bloggers are discussing the potential long-term impact. They’re also commenting on George Galloway’s legal woes and reacting to reports that Vice President Cheney may have been the source of the Plame leak—without knowing that she was undercover.

Constitution resolution: Iraqi voters have approved their new constitution. While the overall vote was 78 percent in favor, the referendum still could have failed if three provinces rejected the constitution by a two-thirds vote. Only two provinces, both Sunni, defeated it by such a margin. 

Some are cautiously optimistic about the thumbs-up vote. Journalist Christopher Allbritton, reporting from Iraq on Back to Iraq 3.0, predicted Oct. 16 that the “worst-case scenario” would be just what happened: “[I]f the Sunnis come close to defeating the constitution, but fail.” Today, Allbritton says that some Sunnis are “sounding conciliatory notes” and may participate in the Dec. 15 election without major protest. However, he predicts that, absent a civil war, Iraq will face “a constantly shifting set of alliances with Sunnis generally coming out with the short end of the stick.”

Law professor Ann Althouse thinks that the Sunnis will take a more pragmatic approach to their political future. “Now, it seems, the Sunnis’ interest lies in electing members of Parliament, that is, working within the new system,” she writes. Nate of the center-right Project Nothing puts it more bluntly: “It seems the Sunnis are learning an important lesson: In a democracy, it’s pretty difficult to win popular elections when you’re the Party of Blowing Shit Up.”

Melanie from Just a Bump in the Beltway, a lefty politics/culture blog, is unimpressed with the referendum in light the 2,000th  American soldier death in Iraq. “Democracy. Whiskey. Sexy. The damn draft consititution doesn’t mean diddly,” she says.

Read more about the Iraqi Constitution. Slate readers gave suggestions for the constitution here, and Michael Young examines the effects the constitution will have on the Arab world here.

Galloway in trouble: The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has accused George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament, of perjury. Galloway, a staunch opponent of the Iraq war, testified before the Senate in May about the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.

The mainstream conservative blogs are crowing over this latest accusation. Snarksmith is especially pleased. “I wake up to this in my in-box this morning, and all around the world the clinking of champaign  glasses as prelude to the clicking of handcuffs,” he says. Author Roger L. Simon, long on the case of the oil-for-food scandal, anoints Galloway as the “reactionary blowhard who would be comical were the situation not so serious.”

Other conservatives are wary, however. They’re pointing out that last time Galloway spoke in front of the Senate, he made the politicians look foolish or, as Bill Quick put it on the pro-Iraq War Daily Pundit, “whipped them like the pack of wussies they are, with nothing more than his tongue.”

“They had better have some concrete evidence this time. The result of the first encounter was one-nil to Galloway. The Senators presented a weak case and he made mincemeat of them. Galloway was given a free platform for his propaganda and the material and publicity for a book,” warnsPub Philosopher, a British political blogger.

Galloway does have a few supporters in the blog world, even if they are lukewarm. “Now, I don’t care whether or not George Galloway took money in illegal trades with Iraq. My personal opinion is that he didn’t. Do the US Senate have the guts (or the strength of evidence) to formally charge Galloway? I doubt it or they’d have done it by now,” reasons Charles of Blowing Chunks, another British blog.

Read more about George Galloway. In September, Galloway debated with Slate contributor Christopher Hitchens, who wrote responded afterward here.

Cheney: A report in today’s New York Times says that Vice President Dick Cheney was the one who told his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, the identity of Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame. Blogger reaction is falling along partisan lines.

Some of the bloggers got into the story late last night. Dependable liberal bloggers Atrios and Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall both point out that this news makes Cheney look like he lied on Meet the Press in 2003. Rich Lowry of The Corner, the blog of the conservative stalwart National Review magazine, warned readers: “Brace yourselves–this will be lighting up Washington tomorrow.”

Prominent conservative and administration critic Andrew Sullivan is unsurprised. “The heart of the Plamegate thingy is Dick Cheney. Who believes that Scooter Libby would be engaged in an elaborate attempt to defenestrate an administration critic on WMDs in Iraq without Cheney’s knowledge and approval?”

Outside the Beltway’s right-leaning James Joyner, is skeptical about the revelation, calling it “pretty thin stuff” with the biggest problem being Libby trying to “hide a perfectly legal conversation with his boss.”

Read more about the Cheney story. Slate’s John Dickerson analyzes Libby here.