GOOD NEWS FROM THE ARAB SPRING? – AT 9:36 A.M. ET: That would be a rarity. But there are political developments that may give us some hope that sanity could yet prevail when a new Egyptian government is formed. From WaPo, to be read cautiously:
CAIRO — Had Egypt’s post-revolutionary political winds held steady, Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, would have been coasting to victory in this month’s election.
Instead, he’s running an underdog campaign. The group’s prodigious political machine, which turned the once-besieged opposition movement into the dominant force in parliament early this year, has to contend with an uncharismatic candidate and a shift in public opinion as many Egyptians have soured on the venerable Islamist organization.
The Brotherhood’s political stock is plunging, analysts and ordinary Egyptians say, because its political party has backtracked on promises and accomplished little since a predominantly Islamist cadre of lawmakers was sworn in in January.
The backgrounds of the two front-runners — a former foreign minister who served under now-deposed Hosni Mubarak and a moderate Islamist who broke away from the Brotherhood — suggest that Egyptians may want a statesman who is more inclusive and less dogmatic about the role of Islam in governance than the devout politicians who control parliament.
But experts caution that it would be a mistake to dismiss Morsi’s chances outright. His rivals might be generating more enthusiasm and doing better in the polls, they say, but none has the Brotherhood’s mighty machinery or its network of allied preachers and local operatives.
COMMENT: We'll wait for the vote. But at least there's some indication that thought is occurring, which is a pretty good first step in that part of the world.
But the parliament, remember, is still controlled by the zealots. And they don't care much for America.
May 17, 2012