Hussein Shobokshi
Asharq Alawsat (Opinion)
January 9, 2012 - 1:00am

It appears that US President Barack Obama is on his way to being re-elected. There are many positive indicators working strongly in his favour. There he is fulfilling his pledge and withdrawing "militarily" from Iraqi territories, reducing his military presence in Afghanistan, and re-structuring the US defense budget as a kind of economic belt-tightening measure which is required in practical terms to meet the problem of the budget deficit. In addition to that, there is a marked improvement in the performance of the top industrial companies, especially the principal automotive sector about which the saying went: "as the sun shines in Detroit, then the sun will shine in Washington", an emphasis on the status of the old traditional car industry center in Detroit. There is also a clear and continuous improvement in unemployment levels. But the more important reason is the clear deterioration and weakness of his rivals from the Republican Party and their lack of wide popular acceptance to make it enough for them to defeat the sitting President.

The primary elections in the State of Iowa witnessed the closest electoral result in its history, with the former governor of the State of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, clinching the result in the late hours, after they counted the votes of the constituencies carefully to find that the difference was only 14 votes against the other Republican candidate, Rick Santorum from the State of Pennsylvania. The third position was taken by Ron Paul, the controversial figure who enjoys wide acceptance among college youths (even though he is the oldest candidate). Coming fourth was the former spokesman for Congress, Newt Gingrich, and after him the Governor of the State of Texas, Rick Perry, and then Michelle Buchmann from the State of Minnesota.

They all exerted their utmost efforts to win over the social conservative current, the religious Christian current that enjoys impressive influence, and the business sector, but no one managed to break the 25 percent barrier of the voters, which is a very modest percentage that does not indicate the ability of anyone winning over all voters to form a bloc capable of defeating Barack Obama--the sole objective on which all the candidates without exception concurred. But they also were in agreement on absolute support for Israel and its being the friend and ally that should be backed without limits and without ceiling, even though the United States is going through its worst economic crisis in its contemporary history which has forced it to curtail spending and to slice the budgets in all sectors. Excepted from these cuts was the military, financial and economic aid for Israel. Actually, the influential Israeli lobby marketed new "objectives" to the US Administration to stress that Israel today was threatened by an Arab world that is boiling and acting irresponsibly by electing extremists and hardliners to rule and bringing elected governments whose objective is war on Israel and who refuse to recognize it. This naturally was presented as a very suitable pretext for absorbing billions of US dollars at the expense of the tax-paying citizen who is moaning under the burden of cuts in education spending, unstable medicine and health services, and negative effects on the infrastructure.

Perhaps the most important thing that Ron Paul dared to do in his electoral campaign, and likewise Rick Perry, was their saying that the aid given to Israel by the United States should be "reviewed". Naturally they provoked attacks and campaigns of derision which turned them into undesirable candidates.


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