Calm and methodical in his questioning, Committee Chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Senator Norm Coleman (left) has the upper hand as studiedly hysterical anti-Bush Brit George Galloway tries to change the subject with groundless accusations against his accusers during Oil-for-Food hearings this morning and afternoon.
"I gave my heart and soul to try to save the Iraqis who were dying because of the sanctions," keens an unspeakably rude and puerile and pompous British MP George Galloway in a classic Marcusian "fiction is truth" inversion offense during Norm Coleman's Oil-for-Food Committee hearing. Rough live transcription:
I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading iraq, and I told the world that your argument for invading iraq was a big pack of lies. I turned out to be right, and you turned out to be wrong. If the world had listened to Kofi Annan . . . to Jacques Chirac . . . to me and the anti-war movement, none of this would have happened. This is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you have committed. Have a look at Halliburton . . . the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and went who knows where . . . The real sanctions were your own corporations backed by your government.
Unfortunately, little of the hearing is available to us live, as the cables -- even FOXNews -- go live only when things "heat up," giving the advantage to the Brit's hot-headed performance. His rabidly anti-Bush soundbites will be manna for the gaping media maw in the coming news cycles. Presumably that's Galloway's strategy, but we have a gut feeling the truth will out. We won the Revolutionary War fergossake. This shouldn't be so hard. Coleman gives the impression of a skilled fisherman letting a barracuda on the line wear itself out thrashing before the fisherman effortlessly reels him in. Galloway will make a lovely trophy on the wall behind Norm Coleman's desk.
Here's a little background on the dynamics of this historic encounter from the Telegram:
Room 106 of the Senate's Dirksen Building provides the setting today for a clash of two very different political cultures: the grand and slightly ponderous tradition of Capitol Hill and the more demotic, quickfire approach of the new MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
Advisers to Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican chairing today's hearing, confidently predicted that Mr Galloway was in for a surprise.
"He will be grilled as never before," said one aide. "He won't be able to turn it into some sort of circus. This is deadly serious and he will be called to account."
'Can't wait to sit back and savor it all uninterrupted later on during C-Span re-runs.
Update: This guy is smooth. In an on-the-spot post-hearing interview with CNN's Richard Roth, Galloway preps his interviewer with the proper spin :
I think the British parliamentary system won . . . I think I embarrassed Senator Norm Coleman, [but beyond that], I hope I reached a broader public with my broader case.
Roth, a bedfellow who covers the UN for CNN, is lapping it up.
Update II: Happiness is a warm InstaLanche.
Update III: Lucianne, the mother of all lanches.