Update: Mubarak, as you’ve surely heard, has ceded control to the Egyptian armed forces. The scene in Cairo and Alexandria is not to be missed:
Wave after wave of incensed protesters arrives at Tahrir square for “Farewell Friday” as demonstrations spill into the sidestreets and toward Cairo’s Presidential Palace. But at least one person was presumably unsurprised by Mubarak’s aggressively underwhelming address last night: Former Pentagon director for Egypt and North Africa Matthew Axelrod told Gwen Ifill on Tuesday to expect this more-or-less exactly:
I think what’s happening right now is, the regime is bringing out incremental concessions, and they’re trying to see whether or not these incremental concessions will be enough.
And, so far, they haven’t been. So it’s a back-and-forth between the protesters and the regime.
And fellow panelist Shibley Telhami contends the division between Mubarak’s regime and the Egyptian military is not what it’s perceived to be:
Mr. Suleiman himself comes out of the military. He’s considered one of them. And the defense minister has been the defense minister and one of the most influential men in Egypt for the past 20 years, just been promoted to deputy prime minister — and the prime minister who was appointed also from the military. The president himself is out of the military.
So, this is the anchor of the regime. They’re protecting their interests. So people see them as the regime vs. the military. The military is part and parcel of this regime.
Nonetheless, protesters continue to call on the increasingly visible army to remove Mubarak from power. How much longer will the military, seemingly hedging its bets with vague language and promises of protection to both the regime and its protesters, be able to avoid coming down clearly on one side or the other? It may be that its entrenched top brass is at odds with the bulk of the soldiers, who are, it’s worth remembering, conscripted.
- In a rare display of Democratic tendencies, Governor Cuomo announced he will push the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage this spring.
- Despite last year’s Christine O’Donnel and Sharron Angle debacles, the Tea Party hasn’t yet learned how to choose its battles. I’d like as much as anybody to see Snowe primaried away, but this dream overlooks how hospitable Maine is to independent candidates. In the best-case scenario (from a conservative perspective), they’ll succeed in creating a moderate Senator who isn’t beholden to Republican leadership. Either that, or they accelerate the steady blueing of the Pine Tree State.
- Donald Trump really doesn’t want to run for President, you understand, but the world just refuses to give him any other choice. How a man who couldn’t keep luxury apartment complexes in the black during the height of the housing bubble intends to balance the budget is as yet unclear.
- But the Donald is being overshadowed in his usual role as New York’s greatest scourge. Apparently just figuratively sucking out our communities’ lifeblood isn’t enough to distinguish yourself at CPAC.
Salon’s Gene Lyons looks at the symbolism of Reagan’s 100th birthday, and, in particular, this truly remarkable exchange between Rush Limbaugh and liberal blogger Mike Stark:
STARK: I’m calling because… Well, first of all, I’m a liberal, and I seriously don’t understand this, uh, Reagan idolatry on behalf of conservatives… I’ll give you my reasons. Instead of privatizing Social Security, he raised taxes. We’re all paying higher taxes today out of our paychecks every single week because he decided to save Social Security. He –
RUSH: Wait, wait. Hold it. I need to go…
RUSH: Wait. Jeez.
STARK: The Greenspan Commission. He signed it into law, and it raised taxes on Social Security.
RUSH: What…? Wait, you’re talking about Reagan or Clinton?
And it gets better.
- Lest you thought American elections couldn’t be further corrupted, it seems that last November was just practice for the Koch brothers.
- And those of you rooting for the End of Days to greet us late next year needn’t be too distraught if it doesn’t come to pass; Russian scientists assure as that the universe has a back-up plan.