In Iraq, it is just about time to start registering voters. If the national elections scheduled for January are to be held, registration of the nation's 12 million eligible voters must begin in early November.
That, of course, is no easy task. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's optimistic estimate is that 15 of the nation's 18 provinces are sufficiently secure for elections to proceed, while Carlos Valenzuela, the U.N. man in charge of monitoring the elections, said he doubts the number is that high. The violence in the Sunni Triangle means that one of Iraq's three distinct groups may end up with little or no representation in the national assembly-to-be.
The specter that Dick Cheney wants stalking the consciousness of Americans as
they go to vote is the threat of a nuclear or chemical weapon being smuggled
into the center of an American city. He called up that image twice last night,
and he surely wants Americans to believe that if terrorists are about to set
off the big one, he will throw himself upon it and, with his imposing bulk, his
dubious numbers, his concocted realities, and the sheer weight of his alarmism,
do a far better job of absorbing the blast than the lightweight John Edwards
“They can run but they can't hide,” the great heavyweight champ Joe Louis used to say of his hapless opponents, but up until last night, George W. Bush was doing a pretty fair job of both running and hiding. Indeed, to a considerable degree, he was running ahead because Karl Rove had hidden him from any possible confrontation with critics -- and with the truth.
Election Day approaches, which means it is time for House Republicans to run fully amok. Today, the House will take up a bill by Indiana Republican Mark Souder to lift the gun controls in the District of Columbia. Souder's bill legalizes ownership of semiautomatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition. How this would increase security around the White House and the Capitol is something that Souder and Co. have neglected to explain, but no matter. The House Republican leadership knows the bill won't pass the Senate. The only reason it was even introduced was to force House Democrats -- a number of whom represent gun-loving districts -- to vote on this nonsense.
To an immigrant, Arnold Schwarzenegger told delegates at the Republican convention last month, there is no country "more welcoming than the United States of America." And most of the time, that's true.
But it wasn't true last week in Miami Beach, where the Department of Homeland Security attempted to ban a nonpartisan voter registration operation from setting up tables on the sidewalk outside a massive naturalization ceremony at that city's convention center. The DHS complained that Mi Familia Vota would be blocking the doors at the swearing-in. But last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan ruled that the right to register voters was protected by the First Amendment, though he did stipulate how much space the group's tables could take up.