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  • Ayoon Wa Azan (The Best of the Existing Candidates)
    Tue, 03 January 2012
    Jihad el-Khazen

    Today, the state of Iowa will be the scene of the first caucuses for the selection of the Republican candidate who will go on to run in the presidential elections against Barack Obama. Public opinion polls show that Ron Paul, a physician and Texas Congressman, is ahead of the other candidates. Only a few weeks ago, Newt Gingrich was in the lead, and before that, it was the now resurgent Mitt Romney, and a few months earlier, it was Rick Perry in the lead.

    Ron Paul is an extremely controversial candidate. I stated in the past that I preferred him over the other Republican presidential candidates, but that I did not expect him to get very far. For one thing, he is an outspoken opponent of America’s wars, especially the war in Iraq. He is also a Libertarian - not to be confused by the Arab reader with Liberal. In the American political lexicon, a Libertarian seeks less interference by the federal government in state affairs, while being opposed to U.S. imperial ambitions.

    Frankly, from an Arab – and Muslim – perspective, I believe that Obama would be a better president for us in his second term than in his first term. But if a Republican is to ultimately beat him, then Ron Paul is the best of the existing candidates in the race for the White House, although I doubt very much that he will win the Republican nomination. Indeed, Ron Paul does not represent Republican ideology, which now exclusively reflects the alliance between the military and industrial complexes – ergo, the Party supports further wars overseas.

    Then there is Israel, its lobby and the Likudniks of America, who betray their country every day by placing the interests of Israel ahead of American interests. In truth, the surge Paul has enjoyed in the polls has invited a frenzied campaign against the anti-war frontrunner, who was too readily accused of anti-Semitism. The newspapers thus published letters they attributed to him dating back to the late eighties, letters inveighing against African Americans, in particular the civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King, and against Israel and the Lobby.

    But perhaps a more authoritative reference on this congressman’s ideas can be found in his book “Liberty Defined”, wherein he states that the Palestinians are subjected to apartheid conditions (racial segregation) at the hands of Israel. Ron Paul also mentions in his book that newspapers in Israel itself are willing to discuss this issue openly, while it is essentially never permitted in the United States. He also attacked the Lobby (AIPAC), over which he seems to prefer the moderate Jewish lobby group J Street, the Peace Now group, and the American Council for Judaism, which is opposed to Zionism and the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

    If Ron Paul emerges victorious in Iowa, the biggest winner would be Mitt Romney, who came behind Gingrich last month before the latter’s scandals caught up with him and took him once again to the back row. Gingrich’s rivals had found an abundance of juicy material in his personal and political past, and subsequently waged multi-million dollar ad campaigns that ultimately convinced a majority of the state’s population that he is, as we all know him to be, an immoral warmonger and professional charlatan. His fecklessness is such that he thought that his ticket into the Iowa caucuses was guaranteed, and hence forgot to gather enough votes to support his candidacy. As a result, he was out of the official competition, as his name was not on the candidates’ list.

    Mitt Romney remains the candidate of the Republican leadership today. He dubbed Ron Paul a danger to U.S. national security, while websites affiliated to the Lobby said that he was specifically a threat to the security of Israel, meaning that he is opposed to wars in which Americans are killed in the service of Israel.

    This day will have hardly been over when we shall learn whether Ron Paul has won a victory that I had not thought possible only a month ago. But a closer look at his campaign reveals a number of contradictions: While he is the oldest of the Republican contenders (76 years), the supporters of his campaign are the youngest. Thus, we saw hundreds of students flocking from other states to support him (They were ordered by Paul’s campaign leadership to shave, shower and avoid displaying tattoos on their bodies and so forth, so as not to alienate voters).

    In any case, Iowa alone cannot decide the candidate of any party. There are other primaries and caucuses this month, in Wyoming, New Hampshire and Michigan. Most importantly, there is Super Tuesday, which will fall on the sixth of March when primaries will be held across 19 states by both the Republican and Democratic parties, in addition to three Democratic primaries and two Republican primaries only. The Republican Party will then announce the name of its candidate at the party’s national convention on August 27 in Tampa, Florida.

    I want that candidate to be the Texas congressman Ron Paul, but I do not expect it to happen.

    [email protected]

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