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Political suicide


WITHIN the space of 48 hours Saddam Hussein and his self-appointed arch-enemy George Bush were dealt death sentences of two different kinds – Bush is politically dead while Saddam will likely soon be a dead ex-president as he was sentenced to death.

Today the Searchlight looks at editorial opinions around the world.

• United States

The New York Times editorial headlined: “The Democratic House” said there could be only one explanation for the “crazy-quilt combination of victories” around the country that gave the Democrats control of the House of Representatives last night: an angry shout of repudiation of the Bush White House and the abysmal way the Republican majority has run Congress.{{more}}

“It was a satisfying expression of the basic democratic principle of accountability. A government that performs badly is supposed to be punished by the electorate. And this government has performed badly on so many counts,” it said adding that it was a negative victory for the Democrats who were riding on the wave of public anger about Republicans.

• Britain

Across the Atlantic in the country of Bush’s closest ally, Britain’s oldest daily, The Times, said it was a paradigm shift result that will change Capitol Hill.

“For the first time in a decade the US Republican Party wakes up … nursing the bitter taste of defeat after a dramatic night of Democratic triumph that redrew the map of American politics. The unpopularity of President Bush, anger at the faltering war in Iraq and disgust at the proliferating scandals that have engulfed the Republican Party in the last two years combined to produce a veritable earthquake that will have far-reaching implications for US policy and politics,” The Times wrote, adding that life in even a half-controlled Congress will be difficult for the president.

“Even Republicans were acknowledging last night that American voters had sent a clear signal that they want a change in direction. The Iraq war dominated the campaign in much of the country and exit polls left no doubt that voters want to see changes.”

• Middle East

In the Arab world, Al Jazeera – the Arab world’s version of CNN that Bush bombed more than once – said that “Bush’s sins are back to haunt him” and that the results of the mid-term poll are a sign of things to come for the 2008 presidential elections.

“The political world that President Bush inhabited for the last six years – the one he ruled, has just come to an end. After his party’s disgraceful defeat in the US Congressional mid-term elections, President George W. Bush, who labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea together as an “axis of evil” nearly five years ago, is likely to face mounting pressure from his policy critics who say the three countries he targeted have instead become an “axis of failure” born of his and the Republicans’ mistakes.”

• Cuba

Radio Rebelde and most of the Cuban media reported with glee the loss for the Republicans with Prensa Latina calling it, among other things, “Revenge for Latinos.”

Granma the Communist Party newspaper called it an “historic victory for the democrats who now have in their hands the keys to approve laws that President Bush wants to impose to carry forward his policies from the occupation of Iraq to tax cuts, health and immigration reform.”

The Juventud Rebelde newspaper – organ of the Young Communist League – said that the results of the vote are not the most important factor though they serve to make clear the antiwar sentiments of the people. The newspaper also reported that in Wisconsin and Berkely the question has arisen of whether this could lead to the impeachment of Bush.

• Australia

The Australian headlined: “It was theirs to lose, and lose it they did” saying Republicans can console themselves in the knowledge that mid-term elections are always bad for the party in the White House.

“While the coalition war effort in Iraq has become enmeshed with that country’s bloody sectarian struggle, the ongoing threat of terrorism and the importance of national security should have given the GOP a natural advantage in the polls. Likewise, a strong US economy should have garnered further votes for the Republicans. Yet Republicans lost up to 36 seats in the House of Representatives to Democratic candidates … But since taking control of Congress in 1994, the Republican leadership has cut itself loose from the intellectual moorings that led to its previous success, and in this sense deserved to lose.”