US media unmoved by fiery Galloway
It's a long way - literally and figuratively - from George Galloway's hometown of Dundee to Washington DC. But the man who was kicked out of the British Labour Party because of his fierce criticism of the war in Iraq seemed at ease on Capitol Hill last week as he defended himself against allegations of financial chicanery.
Galloway's appearance in front of the US Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations was a triumph, at least in his estimation.
Back in London on Wednesday night, Galloway told a rally of supporters: “We blew them away.’' A politician rarely burdened by excessive modesty, Galloway went on to depict himself as the man the world had been waiting for.
“From the e-mails and feedback we've had from all over the world, it is true undoubtedly that there was a worldwide audience out there waiting for someone to speak the truth to power,” he said.
The reality of the matter was a bit more complex than that. Galloway's trenchant style largely kept the senators on the defensive, but the Scot was also evasive about some important issues. While the British press hailed his performance, it was seen as little more than a curious diversion by the US media.
Galloway came to Capitol Hill to respond to a report issued by the subcommittee the previous week.
Galloway spent most of his time in Washington attacking his critics.
He accused the subcommittee chairman, Republican senator Norm Coleman, of being a “pro-war, neo-con hawk, and the lickspittle of George W Bush'‘. He also told Coleman that “for a lawyer, you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice'‘.
Such combative language is rarely heard in the genteel environs of the Senate. As a result, most major US newspapers dwelt more on the MP's belligerence than on the fundamental questions he sought to raise.
The New York Times, in an article headlined, ‘British Lawmaker Scolds Senators On Iraq', noted that Galloway was “a flamboyant orator and skilled debater'‘, adding that “his aggressive posture and tone seemed to flummox'‘ the head of the subcommittee.
The Los Angeles Times focused on Galloway's use of “harsh language that shook up the hearing room'‘, while the Washington Post referred to him “dispensing with the deference traditionally reserved for Senate leaders'‘.
For most of the media, though, Galloway's testimony was only a passing storm - it seemed to have been almost forgotten within 48 hours.