"Damn, Mark," I keep saying as I read his stuff. If there is a more insightful man than Mark Steyn writing today, I haven't run across him. Cross-cultures are no problem for him: he gets it.
Sartorially, Jordanian politics seems to be the opposite of American: in the New Hampshire primary, smooth, bespoke, Beltway types who�ve been wearing suits and wingtips since they were in second grade suddenly clamber into the old plaid and blue jeans and work boots, and start passing themselves off as stump-toothed inbred mountain men who like nothing better than a jigger of moonshine and a bunk-up with their sister. Evidently, in rural Jordan the voters are savvy enough not to fall for such pathetically obvious pandering.
Or so I thought. But when the campaign aides pressed an 8x10 glossy of their man on me and I asked them where he stood on the issues, they hadn�t a clue. In rural Jordan, a candidate runs on his Rolodex. He�s the guy with high-level contacts in Amman who can use �em to bring home the bacon, or the pork, or whatever the Muslim equivalent is. That�s the message of the suit. If the plaid in a New Hampshire primary is supposed to signal that the guy�s one of us, the Savile Row get-up in Azraq is supposed to send the opposite message: this guy�s one of them � in a suit like that, there�s no reason why you couldn�t find him sitting across the banqueting table from Queen Rania. That�s the man your tribe or village needs in Amman.