Ten months after vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in a desperate act of protest against poverty and government repression which spurred the Arab Spring uprisings, Tunisians are flocking to the polls to cast a vote to install the first democratic government in their nation’s history. By all accounts, the turnout is large, but the voting is taking place peacefully. Tunisians are dipping their fingers in blue ink to mark the fact that they casted a ballot.
Having been run for decades by French-inspired secularism, Tunisia is expected to usher in a government that embraces a Turkish-inspired Islamic-led democracy. Rached Ghannouchi, the head of the favored Islamic Ennahda party, is pictured below (top left) waving a blue-dyed finger after casting his vote. “I have never thought that I would actually stand in a long line to elect the party I like. I am really grateful for this unique opportunity and long to see more progress,” said one Tunisian school supervisor.
GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) opposed President Obama’s decision to take part in NATO’s air campaign in Libya. Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace reminded Bachmann that last May, she had said his policy in Libya was foolish and “a disaster in the making” and wondered if Bachmann wanted to revisit that claim now that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi is dead and his opponents now leading in Tripoli. The Minnesota congresswoman wouldn’t budge however, saying that if she was president, Qaddafi would still be in power:
WALLACE: If President Bachmann had been in charged, wouldn’t Muammar Qaddafi still be in power?
BACHMANN: Well he may be but I stand by that decision I think it was wrong for the United States to go into Libya. Look where we’re at today, remember again, Barack Obama said we were going into Libya for humanitarian purposes. It wasn’t humanitarian purposes it was regime change and what’s the result? We don’t know who the next leaders will be…it could be a radical element. It could be the Muslim Brotherhood. It could be elements affiliated with al Qaeda. We don’t know yet who that regime will be. But worse we’ve seen the MANPADS go missing and those shoulder fired rockets that are very dangerous that could fit in the trunk of a car. … This is a very bad decision and it’s created more instability in the region, not less.
WALLACE: Are you suggesting that we would be better off with Qaddafi’s dictatorship still in effect?
BACHMANN: The world certainly is better off without Qaddafi. … But consider what the cost will be. … We knew who the devil was that was running, we don’t know the next one.
Watch the clip:
The United States spent just over $1 billion on the war in Libya and not one American life was lost. Now, Qaddafi is dead and the National Transitional Council is positioning the country toward a democracy. Despite NATO’s successes in Libya and validation of the president’s policy as a result, Republicans for the past two days have beenstruggling to find a way to attack Obama on Libya. The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel unknowingly summed up right-wing criticism of Obama this week, saying “it could have been a better” victory.
Referring to the Republicans’ confusing attacks this week, ABC’s Jake Tapper said today on This Week, “The Republicans need to come up with a more coherent criticism against the president.”