Friday, July 29, 2005

Hooray for Window Dressing


In "Mubarak Starts Bid for 5th Term Like a Western Politician," Michael Slackman covers the kick-off of Hosni Mubarak's reelection campaign. It's noteworthy that the Egyptian ruler seems to be taking a page out of James Carville:

There he was, a man who ran for re-election three times without ever having to face an opponent, announcing from a stage in his old high school that he would seek a fifth term. Mr. Mubarak gave a speech that tracked as if it had been written by a political strategist: it sought to humanize the candidate with references to his youth, laid out the accomplishments of his tenure, spelled out the challenges ahead and tried to use adversity - in this case recent terror attacks - as reason to stay the course and not change leaders.

While Slackman and everyone else seem to predict a stacked deck and a Mubarak victory, even over the Ghad Party, I'm happy to see Mubarak playing Western-style defense, and make no mistake that that's what this is.

U.S. and Egyptian domestic pressure have forced Mubarak to at least start looking like a democrat even in the face of domestic unrest and recent terror attacks. More importantly, Mubarak has not been able to simply hand off power to his semi-competent son Jamal as he wanted. I'm already looking forward to the next election in Egypt, when Mubarak almost certainly won't run and where the competition for office is likely to be just that.

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