May 15, 2005


Gorgeous in the lions' den (ALEX MASSIE IN WASHINGTON AND JEREMY WATSON, 5/15/05, Scotland on Sunday)

HE WILL not be saluting his indefatigability. When George Galloway arrives in Washington DC tomorrow for his date with Norm Coleman the British MP is unlikely to repeat his famous greeting to Saddam Hussein. Instead, the sense of hostility will be mutual as the controversial Scottish politician fights for his reputation on his biggest stage yet.

Coleman is the Republican chairman of the US Senate's sub-committee investigating the Iraqi Oil-For-Food scandal and which last week accused Galloway, the newly-elected member for Bethnal Green and Bow, of profiting from illegal oil contracts.

Galloway vehemently denies the claims and in typically robust style declared he would fly to the US to confront the senators on their own turf. The American media can hardly wait. It’s not often a foreign politician strays into the Senate bearpit, where presidents have been humbled. What makes it pure theatre is that Galloway has volunteered to be skewered by the 13-man committee, live on TV.

Coleman, who said he would have a chair and a microphone waiting for him, is also licking his lips. The ambitious Minnesotan knows this is his big chance to heighten his profile as he goes for an even bigger target - the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. The understated grandeur of Room 562 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill could be where his reputation as a fearless investigator is cemented.

But Galloway also seems convinced that he will have his day if not in court, then before the world’s press, to finally clear his name of the allegations that have dogged him ever since Saddam’s regime fell two years ago. It is a gamble which he likens to Daniel entering the Lions’ Den with, he hopes, a similar outcome, but it is also an opportunity for his detractors to prove his guilt.

Mr. Coleman sees the same path before him that Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Estes Kefauver took.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2005 9:22 AM

At the very least he should be placed under house arrest, or shipped off to Gitmo with the rest of the terrorists.

Posted by: bart at May 15, 2005 11:18 AM

It is a bit of a stretch to put Kefauver on this list.

Galloway probably has no idea what he is getting into.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 15, 2005 12:42 PM

We're inviting a mendacious foreigner onto our territory and we already know he holds nothing sacred. What exactly is he going to swear on, or by?

The Bible? God? America???

He'll perjure himself just for the sheer enjoyment of mocking us.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 15, 2005 2:13 PM

Let's not forget the hearings in which Ollie North was supposed to implicate Reagan and lead to impeachement, and how they turned out.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 15, 2005 4:04 PM

It will indeed be quite a show.

Better keep a bucket within reach, though.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 15, 2005 4:36 PM

Maybe someone will throw a pie in his face...

Posted by: Just John at May 15, 2005 5:53 PM


Kefauver knocked a sitting president out of the race. Only Eugene McCarthy has done as well in recent years.

Posted by: oj at May 15, 2005 6:07 PM

Let's hope he actually is skewered ...

There will be a lot of Trots and Marxists over here cheering him on, and a lot of sane folks hoping he gets his comeuppance.

Will it be live on the internet? CPAN? I'd love to watch this.



Posted by: Alastair at May 15, 2005 6:41 PM

I got a portrait of Ben Franklin that says Galloway don't show up.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at May 15, 2005 9:35 PM

You all underestimate Brits - left or right.

They don't do wussy "State of the Union" addresses with wussy "reponses." They don't adhere to fake "comity".

Blair, Thatcher, and their detractors use(d) the Parliament to badger, bully, and boo what they see as stupidity and are far more versed in the "heated exchange" than any American "spinmeister."

Though I'm 100% in Coleman's corner, look for Galloway to work this to a draw on the screen.

Ben Franklin says Galloway covers the spread.

Posted by: BB at May 16, 2005 1:40 AM
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