Jonathan Chait

The Solution To the Crisis In Egypt

By

Hosni Mubarak is hated in Egypt, but reluctant to give up power. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is desperate for a credible presidential candidate. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yes: Mubarak should cut a deal to step down as president of Egypt, take exile in the United States where he'll be granted citizenship, and immediately jump into the Republican primary field.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes. The GOP field is torn between candidates with executive experience but no foreign policy experience (i.e., governors like Mitt Romney or Mitch Daniels) and candidates with foreign policy experience but no executive experience. Mubarak has both!

You want a candidate who's tough on Islamists? The other Republicans can talk all they want about doubling Gitmo, but only Mubarak has imprisoned and tortured Islamists. You can't possibly get to the right of him on this issue. And he's extremely pro-Israel.

Of course, any Republican nominee must be rock-solid on the all-important issue of taxes. Allow me to quote from the Heritage Foundation:

Egypt has below-average personal income and corporate tax rates. The top individual and corporate income tax rates are 20 percent. A special tax of 40.55 percent remains in effect for oil, gas, and exploration companies. Other taxes include a property tax and general sales tax (GST) that functions as a value-added tax (VAT). In the most recent year, overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 15.4 percent.

15.4%! If applied to the U.S., that would be cutting the tax burden in half. Again, Mubarak would outflank the entire field.

The biggest threshold issue for Mubarak would be creating a gut-level connection with Republican voters. here his opportunity is to bond with them over shared hatred for the liberal media. Some of his opponents can say they voted to defund public broadcasting. Mubarak can say he has had the liberal media arrested and taken to the secret police. He'll make Sarah Palin look like Bill Keller.

Granted, my plan would run into some obstacles. Mubarak might initially have trouble mastering things like eating corn dogs at a state fair in Iowa. He would also have to learn to compete with his opponents for votes, rather than smashing them with the iron fist of his security apparatus. But Republicans above all are going to want a candidate who can stand up to Barack Obama. He's already done it by refusing Obama's pleas to step down. He knows how to make Obama look weak. I say get the man on a plane to Des Moines and a talk show on Fox News. Egypt gets rid of a despised tyrant, Mubarak gets a face-saving exit, and the GOP gets a highly qualified standard-bearer. Win-win-win.

Loading Related Articles...
Article Tools
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Show all 18 comments

You must be a subscriber to post comments. Subscribe today.