Posted on September 17, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby

On Thursday's edition of Viewpoint with James Zogby: Josh Kraushaar, executive editor of The Hotline, the National Journal; Laith Kubba, senior director for the Middle East and North Africa program at the National Endowment for Democracy; Congressman Keith Ellison, second term Democrat from the state of Minnesota and first Muslim elected to Congress.

Josh Kraushaar, Executive Editor of The Hotline, the National Journal, discussed some key primary election results and gave analysis of the political landscape in the US leading up to the November elections. Kraushaar commented on contests in Delaware, Florida, Kentucky and Nevada, among others, citing the key issues in each. On the senate race in Delaware, in which primary results saw Christine O’Donnell, an individual with little-to-no political experience win over incumbent Mike Castle, Kraushaar said, “There is a sense that anyone can be a senator. The people that have been in control in Washington no matter which party have been the leading the country astray. Why not have this nobody?” Kraushaar’s comments highlight the overwhelming anti-incumbent mood sweeping the country.

 

Laith Kubba, senior director for the Middle East and North Africa program at the National Endowment for Democracy, discussed the current situation in Iraq post withdrawal of US combat troops from the country. “Let me tell you what the fundamentals are”, said Kubba, “Number one is the Iraq army is much stronger. It's a fact. And number two is you do not need the U.S. army to fight Al Qaeda.” Kubba iterated that there is bound to be violence in Iraq, and that at times the US may need to assist because of its superior capabilities. Kubba described two types of violence, one, which he said does not make headlines, what her terms “political violence”- the silencing of certain political voices. The second, more known violence, is what he attributed to Al Qaeda: “a car bomb going on in some public place”, he said, describing a car bomb as “a hopeless move from them (Al Qaeda) to try to find some air in a country that is very, very slowly putting itself together.”

 

Congressman Keith Ellison, second term Democrat from the state of Minnesota and first Muslim elected to Congress, discussed the uproar of Anti-Muslim sentiment in the US in recent months since the announcement of the proposed Islamic Cultural center in lower Manhattan. “People like Palin and Gingrich and others…whipping up hatred in order to gain a political advantage. The truth is it's not over yet.” In regards to Pastor Terry Jones, the man in Gainsville, Florida who threatened to carry out “National Burn a Qur’an Day”, Ellison said: “The one thing that Terry Jones did for America is to see -- is to reveal how bad things can get.” On a final note, Ellison stated: “We're going to put our best foot forward, trying to bring people to each other rather than being against each other.”

At the end of the show, Jim, having the first opportunity on air to do so, paid tribute to Ron Walters who passed away last Friday. Of Walters Jim said: “I got to learn him and know from him. As close as we got in 1984, in 1988 we got closer because he was the senior foreign policy advisor for the Jackson campaign. His insights and understanding of American politics and of African-American history were absolutely breathtaking. And what I learned from him I will never forget.”

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