Of Door-Hangers and Hope in Iraq

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 07, 2005 9:01 PM

It's been a long day of traveling and I've already accomplished my No. 1 priority for every trip to California-- eating In-N-Out. I'm blogging from the hotel lobby, which has Wi-Fi and a comfy chair.

While I was in the air, the mayhem in Miami happened. I was surprised there was no notable clamp-down or police presence at LAX as a result. Malkin has an extensive round-up on the day's action.

Just now while I was reading the Miami story, I found this holy-cow, for-serious, positive story about the Iraq election process on the front page of the Post. This story spends an unprecedented 11 grafs talking about progress in Iraq before moving on to looming threats of violence. Read the whole thing. It's really great, and recommended reading for Dean and the rest of the Defeaticrats.

When the Post writes a story about Iraqi political operatives that makes them sound more like BC-'04 and Edwards kids than martyr brigades, it's hard to deny that progress has been made. This paragraph, particularly, struck me as out-of-step with the usual picture of Iraq in the media:

Instead of retail politics, candidates rely largely on less direct means of contacting voters: Most major parties now have interactive Internet sites that provide information about platforms. Several parties employ cell phone text-messaging technology that allows them to send messages to hundreds of potential supporters at once. Funding comes from dues and donations paid by members.

Interactive web sites and text-messaging? Isn't that farther along in the political technology department than we were in 1996? And, check out the last quote:

"Everyone here is excited. The mood and busyness are so much better than before when we just waited to see what would happen," said B.B. Abdul Qadir, an Iraqi Islamic Party official who said his party's goal was to win 60 seats in the 275-seat parliament. "Now we can't wait for the voting to start."

The Iraq Islamic Party is a Sunni Arab group that boycotted January's elections.

Yes, there are threats and violence and suicide bombers and pessimists in Iraq. But there are also late-night kebabs at campaign headquarters, old-fashioned negative ads, door-hangers, and hope. I'm really glad we're hearing about both from the Post.