January 30, 2005


Insurgent Attacks in Baghdad and Elsewhere Kill at Least 24 (DEXTER FILKINS and JOHN F. BURNS, 1/30/05, NY Times)

After a slow start, voters turned out in very large numbers in Baghdad today, packing polling places and creating a party atmosphere in the streets as Iraqis here and nationwide turned out to cast ballots in the country's first free elections in 50 years.

American officials were showing confidence that today was going to be a big success, despite attacks in Baghdad and other parts of the country that took at least two dozen lives. The Interior Ministry said 36 people had been killed in attacks, Agence France-Presse reported.

But the violence did not seem to have deterred most Iraqis. In Baghdad, Basra in the South, the holy Shiite city of Najaf and even the restive Northern city of Mosul, Iraqi civilians crowded the polling sites, navigating their way through tight security and sometimes proudly displaying the deep blue ink stain on their fingers that confirmed they had voted.

The chairman of the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, Fareed Ayar, said as many as 8 million people turned out to vote, or between 55 percent and 60 percent of those registered to cast ballots. If 8 million turns out to be the final figure, that would represent 57 percent of voters.

This would be the same Iraq that those Democrat Senators just spent a week pointing out is entirely a product of Bush policy that they opposed? Nice timing Senator Bayh...

Less moderate Bayh (ROBERT NOVAK, January 30, 2005, Chicago SUN-TIMES)

Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, feared by Republicans as a dangerously moderate presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2008, surprised colleagues by joining 12 left-of-center senators in voting against confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state.

In declaring his opposition to Rice's confirmation, Bayh told the Senate on Tuesday: ''I believe she has been a principal architect of policy errors that have tragically undermined our prospects for success in this endeavor [the military operation in Iraq].'' Bayh's statement follows support for Bush's Iraq policy during his re-election campaign last year.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 30, 2005 5:58 PM

The Times' headline for the story that it captioned is among the more outrageous actions by that newspaper.

Posted by: George at January 30, 2005 8:47 PM

Filkins and Burns are too good for the Times.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2005 8:55 PM

Bayh as a presidential candidate will not win his home state of Indiana. See john Edwards.

Posted by: sam at January 30, 2005 10:33 PM

Bayh appears to be trying to pull off some sort of Clintonesque triangulation, though unlike Hillary, he's trying to shift to the left instead of to the right, presumably because he thinks that's where the 2008 primary voters will be. The problem is Byah does not have an unswervingly loyal core of true-believers like Hillary does, who are willing to take her seemingly sudden policy shifts with a wink and a nod, because they know she's still on their side.

Unless he goes full tilt towards the left in more votes, Evan won't eliminate his fears among the Democrats' core that he's a closet conservative. But if he does do that, he ends up with some Kerry-like problems with flip-flopping. and if he tries to do a balancing act in the party's middle, the way Edwards did, he can't even hope to get the VP nomination unless he repudiates his stance on abortion.

Posted by: John at January 30, 2005 10:53 PM

"feared by Republicans as a dangerously moderate presidential candidate for the Democrats is 2008..." Feared??? Dangerously moderate???

Evan Bayh for President of the Breck-boy Club.

Posted by: Phil at January 31, 2005 9:48 AM

Bayh may be ambitious but his judgment is lacking. He decided to take his stance against the Administration on the confirmation of a Black woman, with prodigious experience, to be Secretary of State. Has he opposed spending on the Iraq war? No. Did he oppose the Iraq war when Bush first proposed it? No. On the eve of the greatest breakthrough by American policy in the Islamic World since Sadat went to Jerusalem, Bayh decides to oppose one of the key people responsible, someone who is a 'two-fer' besides.

If he were any dumber, you'd have to water him. Presidential timber? NO WAY! Although he is about a dumb as a tree.

Posted by: Bart at January 31, 2005 2:18 PM