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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Conservative Fans of Mubarek, Enemies of ElBaradei

Watching the effusion of U.S. commentary on the crisis in Egypt, it’s sometimes hard to tell where various pols and pundits are coming from, and that’s particularly true of conservatives, who seem conflicted, collectively and sometimes individually, on the meaning of it all.
But some conservatives have adopted the less-than-intuitive and not very popular position of defending Mubarek, or at least attacking his enemies–most notably Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei.
To sort out the sheep from the goats, check out Justin Elliot’s slide show at Salon examining Mubarak’s most prominent American defenders. They aren’t all conservatives, but the group does include two men (Mike Huckabee and John Bolton) mulling over campaigns for the Republican nomination for president, and another who is the country’s best-known conservative voice (Rush Limbaugh).
Then take a look at Matt Yglesias’ piece for The American Prospect that explains the special disdain many U.S. conservatives have for EdBaradei thanks to his position as a weapons inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency during the buildup to the Iraq War. His team famously didn’t find evidence of nuclear weapons, because there weren’t any. As Yglesias puts it: “Many on the right can’t stand ElBaradei because he committed a cardinal sin: He was right about Iraq.”
It’s not unusual for people to bring old perceptions and grudges to the table when trying to interpret startling new developments in distant lands. But before listening to them, you should know about the ax they are about to grind.

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