Friday, September 16, 2005

Post-Mortemizing The Rumble

Well I never got around to doing my full write up of the debate, just filled in some odds and ends. But here are two excellent articles on the Hitch-Galloway grapple that do it for me. So I don't have to now.

Alex Massie writing in National Review. And Roger Kimball writing in the NYSun.

Like Tiger Hawk, I believe that Kimball seriously undercounts Hitchens support - and I also think there were Bush supporters in the audience. Heh - me, for one. And of course the other Liberal Hawks. I was sitting at the back of the orchestra, and saw exactly who was cheering and when. Some of them may have been more restrained, as Hitchens urged his supporters. And some of them may have pretended to be neutral journalists. In fact the BBC radio guy sitting next to me politely applauded Hitch but not Galloway as far as I can recall. Of course, in Britain, journalists don't have to delude themselves into believing they have deluded others that they are neutral.

On the other hand, I was not restrained. And both Pamela and Judith almost got kicked out for their enthusiastic Hitchen's support. Though of course the ushers were all screaming, hootin' Galloway supportin' leftists. So I doubt they threatened to expel any of the people on the left.

And, yes, oddly enough, I definitely saw some people cheering at various points for both speakers.

My assessment, and that of the Liberal Hawks, as noted also at Kesher Talk, was more in line with Massie's figures, who specifies 30%. That may be right. Or it may have been even a tiny bit more than that.

James Panero, writing at Armavirumque includes a link to Britain's channel 4 report, which is only somewhat biased towards Galloway in terms of the cutting of the video. Parero has additional links as well.

Here's a write-up at the Independent, whose author, David Usborne, oozes quite a dollop of condescension as a privileged insider. But at least his assessment of the figures seems accurate to me.

And Harry asks an all important question:
Its interesting that in the many column inches devoted to the debate (I think all the broadsheets have run something) little is made of the fact that the recognised and celebrated leader of Britain's anti-war movement is now openly and proudly supporting and indeed admiring those who are slaughtering innocent Iraqis every day in their self-declared struggle against democracy and self-rule for the Iraqi people.

Is this not worthy of some consideration in the media? After all, here is a man who large chunks of the media have built up as an "outspoken critic of the war", a "maverick" and "colourful character" to be turned to for opinion and soundbites on the issue of Iraq now freely admitting what his critics have charged for years - he is not anti-war but simply on the other side.

Will we hear of any discomfort or disassociation from those, pacifists or mainstream anti-war people, who marched behind Galloway and applauded him on the big Feb 15 demonstration? Will those who were duped into believing Galloway was speaking for them now come out and say he no longer does?
I think many of the anti-war left are too embarrassed to want to be held to the sticking point. They're content to live with the contradicitions of their opinions because they know that "they, personally, don't go that far." So they refuse to examine the ultimate end of their position. It's too wrenching to do the reductio ad absurdum upon themselves.

Here's the C-Span schedule of the debate.

Update: And the Telegraph chimes in late with a column that repeats many of the prize one-liners in the debate.

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