Ron Paul: The Mountain Comes to Muhammad

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 27 2012 11:25 AM

Ron Paul: The Mountain Comes to Muhammad

DETROIT -- Chris Moody traveled to the largest mosque in Michigan to find out whether any Republicans were courting Muslim votes. His answer: An Arabic flier for Ron Paul, and some fear and loathing of Paul's rivals.

Arab Republicans in the Detroit area say they are planning to announce a joint endorsement of Paul with about 150 mostly Muslim business leaders. In interviews with Yahoo News, those signing onto the pending endorsement expressed dismay with candidates like Newt Gingrich, who refers to Palestinians as an "invented people"--Arab Americans here jokingly call Gingrich "the invented candidate"--and Rick Santorum, for his hawkish stance on Iran and his stalwart defense of Israel.
"They've come out against practically every position that the Arabs in the community support," said Nasser Beydoun, the former head of American Arab Chamber of Commerce in Dearborn. "I don't think Republicans are focused on immigrants in general or Arab Americans. They're too busy catering to the fringes of the party."

Paul's focus on Detroit is a clear window into his campaign. Maximizing votes would be nice. Spreading the "message of liberty" to unmarked territory is even better.  Because you don't ramp up your popular vote by winning over Muslims in a Michigan Republican primary. In 2008, when Democrats only held a token primary (Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich appeared on the ballot, along with "uncommitted"), a whopping 0 percent of Republican voters identified as Muslims. Less than 2 percent were non-white.

Paul has an outside shot of winning the 13th district here, a nearly Republican-free zone. But the focus on Muslims and a final election day stop in a Detroit church is meant to prove something else: Paul can talk libertarianism anywhere. On the way into the event I met Keith Dixon, a 28-year old Michigander who was straightening things out by getting his high school diploma.

photo (1)

"He tells the truth, man," said Dixon. "He doesn't want to control our lives, because he understands that if you love people you'll let them be free. And he's not a puppet. The other guys are puppets, doing what Israel wants."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.