The Obama with Jammeh and one of his wives.
The Obamas with Jammeh
and one of his wives.

By John Ruberry

The world has a new Islamic republic. On Friday Gambia’s strongman president, Yahya Jammeh, declared the impoverished west African nation that is almost completely surrounded by Senegal, a Muslim state. Other such nations are Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mauritania–none of which are well-known for freedom or prosperity.

Jammeh promises freedom of religion to the citizens of Africa’s smallest non-island nation.

Jeffrey Smith, a senior advocacy officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights told Al Jazeera that day, “Gambia is not a country of laws but is rather ruled by the whims of Yahya Jammeh.”

Jammeh seized control of Gambia in a bloodless coup in 1994 and while there have been elections since then, of course in the African tradition he has won each with resounding majorities.

What of those whims that Smith mentioned?

Jammeh detests gays. In speech given earlier this year the despot warned them, “If you do it [in Gambia] I will slit your throat,” adding, “if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”

In 2007 Jammeh announced that he had developed an herbal cure for AIDS, sometimes he even administers his crackpot treatment to the afflicted.

Freedom of the press is limited in Gambia and the nutjob’s opponents often “disappear.”

Jammeh claimed in 2010–without citing evidence–that both the first Atlantic flight and the first Eastern European flight ended in Gambia.

Despite the dictator’s eccentricities and his terrible human rights record, President Obama welcomed Jammeh and one of his wives to the White House last year.

Is Jammeh Gambia’s answer to Idi Amin?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Yesterday the net was all a flutter with the latest Des Moines Register Poll showing that my man Ted Cruz is for the first time, in the lead in Iowa by a significant margin.

The firebrand junior senator from Texas is backed by 31 percent of those likely to attend the Republican caucuses that start the presidential nomination season on Feb. 1. Trump is a distant second at 21 percent, up slightly from 19 percent in October, but below his peak of 23 percent in August.

More significant is this fact:

And there are signs Cruz may not have peaked in Iowa yet. Another 20 percent of likely caucusgoers say he’s their current second choice for president. Cruz hits 51 percent support when first- and second-choice interest is combined, again leading the field.

With Cruz’s popularity and his debate proficiency, “it’s certainly possible that he could win Iowa big — very big,” said Frank Luntz, a Nevada-based GOP focus group guru who follows the Iowa race closely.

Now as guy who endorsed Ted Cruz a couple of months ago I’m pleased by this, but as a baseball guy I know that it’s not who leads in the polls in December but who turns out on election day that matters. I’ve seen how Ted Cruz plays the game when he’s down in the polls now we’ll see how he does when he’s ahead.

I suspect he’s going to do fine for a couple of reasons.

First of all generally the thing that kills a new front runner is being attacked for the first time. Ted Cruz has spent almost his entire career being attacked, both from the left and the right the attention that comes from being attacked he’s been attacked for years.

Second of all he has been smart enough not to follow the MSM tide. When the rest of the field jumped when the MSM demanded they respond to Trump a particular way, Cruz declined.

Finally he has been playing the long game from the start as evidenced by this interview from August of this year

Of course past performance is not guarantee of future results but I think Ted is going to do just fine as long as he keeps playing his game. I think the biggest fear will be when the MSM & GOP pivot toward Donald Trump in order to stop Cruz.

Yes you read that right.

Anyways I’m going to enjoy this poll for now but I’m not going to blindly assume that it means that Cruz has a lock on the game, and I’m pleased to say, I strongly suspect neither will Ted Cruz.

That’s why I think he’s going to win.

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