Hitch vs. Galloway

It's been podcast here for posterity. I haven't gotten the chance to listen to it yet, so I don't have a lot to say about it. However, I think Galloway is a contemptable turd on the order of Tom DeLay and I would looooovvvveee to see him verbally thrashed.

For the actual argument's sake I'd much prefer someone like Jon Stewart do battle with Hitchens (who has made some of the best reasoned cases for the war in Iraq that I've read), but this will do.

But I'm quite curious to hear what y'all think, so have at it...


Andrew said...

I've read a few posts on this debate and unfortunately they seem to confirm my belief that very often people that excel at writing their ideas don't do so well at speaking them (and vice-versa). While I do think Hitchens has an extremely potent mind, he doesn’t have a very compelling persona. In contrast, Galloway is a master sophist honed from years of being engaged in years of heated parliamentary rhetoric and is utterly unburdened by principle. When you throw the hostile venue into the mix I think the odds were stacked very much in Galloway’s favor. To make things fair, I wish Galloway would have debated Ann Coulter. I think she’s equally unprincipled but absolutely brutal in a debate.

Ben said...

Well I've just heard the whole thing and have a few thoughts. First off, I wholeheartedly disagree with the posts that you refrenced. I thought Hitch performed admirably, it's just that he didn't have anyone to debate with. This article from WSJ online says it well:

"But this was no debate. A debate, by definition, requires two people to defend their convictions. Mr. Galloway has no obvious convictions, or at least none that are defensible. This is a man who is antiwar, yet supports those who fight war against us. He accuses America of supporting dictators, yet in July traveled to Syria to praise its tyrant, Bashar al-Assad. He claims to have known that Saddam massacred his own people in 1988, yet went to Baghdad six years later to "salute" the monster for his "courage" and "strength."

Nor is Mr. Galloway in any way a debater. His talent--if that's what you'd call it--is in whipping mindless crowds into furious hysteria over perceived bogeymen. There are historical precedents here, and let's just say that as the waves of Galloway outrage and anger ripped across the auditorium I half-expected his acolytes to break into a "Heil!" or two.

To take but one example. Mr. Hitchens asked Mr. Galloway and the crowd how it was possible for a man who in Syria had praised the Iraqi terrorists to come to New York and evoke Cindy Sheehan, whose son was murdered by said terrorists?

Good question.

Mr. Galloway's response was typical. He began by railing that "neo-con rot" had seeped into people's souls. He lamented that he had to put up with this "hypocrite Hitchens." He ranted that Mr. Hitchens was friends with people who owned "Tomahawk" missiles, thus allowing him to segue into a tirade about America's treatment of its Indians (I'm not making this up). And as if to show that there were no depths to which he would not proudly sink, Mr. Galloway finished his "answer" to Mr. Hitchens's question by announcing that the planes that brought down the World Trade Center were the direct result of "hatred created by the U.S." and by appealing to anti-Semites with a few risible remarks about Israel."

I found it worthwhile because it gave a forum for Hitch's logic which proved a worthy contrast to the shouters who clutter the main speakers' audio and, I'm sure, made for quite a scene on the "tele". This thing also affirmed my view of Galloway, a brutally foolish narcissist, who couldn't argue his way out of a paper bag. His ideology is nought but "sinister piffle."

Joe said...

"Galloway, a brutally foolish narcissist"

Ben! What a great phrase! That's about the worst thing I've ever heard anyone called.

Andrew said...

Ben, I think the points you and the WSJ piece made are dead on. I'm just afraid that Galloway's effective but unprinciplied style prevented Hitchens from converting more of Galloway's crowd. Perhaps no one could, but an Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh -- people equally unburdened by convictions could have left Galloway bloodied and I'd love to see that.

Andrew said...

This blew me away. John Nichols in the Capitol Times (Madison, WI's progressive paper) wrote the following editorial/love note about George Galloway. Is the progressive movement simply becoming a rebadged socialist workers party?


Americans who are familiar only with the almost always empty words - and often empty heads - of this country's political leaders can be a little shocked by George Galloway's pronouncements.

The British parliamentarian, who came of age in the brawling political landscape of his native Scotland, where a quick wit and a savage debating style are prerequisites for electoral success, does not mince words in the manner that most American pols do.