Posted on January 24, 2012 in Countdown

Countdown Vol. 10, No. 32


The Romney/Gingrich Battle Heats Up

After it turned out that Romney hadn’t won Iowa, and after Newt won South Carolina big (with a 13 point lead), the whole “Romney is the inevitable nominee” narrative has been seriously undermined. So in last night’s debate, Romney came out swinging at Gingrich, describing him as a failed leader who resigned in “disgrace” from his House Speakership. Gingrich was noticeably flustered by Romney’s onslaught, but did not shy away from returning fire, saying Romney “can’t tell the truth” (you can watch a portion of their heated exchange here). On a related note, Gingrich had taken jabs during the South Carolina debates at Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns immediately, so Romney took away that talking point in Florida by releasing them yesterday, thereby revealing that his tax rate was even lower than the low 15% he speculated earlier. Meanwhile, Santorum went after the media’s treatment of the Republican contest as a “two-man race,” and Ron Paul continued to discourage needless wars (boring).

RNC Endorses One-State Solution

Remember Jim Marshall? He was a football player with the Minnesota Vikings, who in 1964 became famous for making a 66-yard dash in the wrong direction, scoring an illusory “touchdown” against his own team before throwing the ball in the air in celebration. Well, the RNC just pulled a Jim Marshall on the “Israel Team.” They just passed a resolution “recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.” These geniuses at the RNC think they just did Israel a favor by whitewashing the illegality of its occupation of the Palestinian territories, but failed to notice that they just endorsed the maximalist position of the most ardent supporters of Palestinian rights: the one-state solution with equal rights for Palestinians. The Republicans’ friends on the Israeli right must be mortified! And where do Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich stand on this very question? Read our more thorough blog entry.

If Only Santorum Had Had a McCain Moment

During the last presidential election cycle, a woman in the audience of a political rally told John McCain that she couldn’t trust Obama because he was an “Arab,” and McCain repudiated her by pointing out that Obama was in fact a “decent family man.” One can be humored by the woman’s stupidity and bigotry, but should probably be outraged by McCain’s use of “decent” as an antonym for “Arab.” Well, Santorum had an even worse moment. As highlighted by Think Progress, a bigoted woman in a Santorum forum (rhyme not intended) told him that Obama “is an avowed Muslim [and…] has no legal right to be calling himself President.” How did Santorum respond? By saying “I’m doing my best to get him out.” We never thought we’d say this, but at least McCain had the decency, however terribly executed, to try to repudiate his crazy supporter’s remarks. Welcome, once again, to the 2012 election.

Did He Really Say "Take Out" Obama?

If this title were a pun, it would be a rather distasteful one. But this, friends, is no pun. Andrew Adler, the Publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, wrote in his paper that one of the ways Israel could counter Iran’s nuclear ambitions is to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States' policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies." Yup, in this political climate, “crazy” was bound to come out and play. Slightly more worrisome than holding this attitude is the comfort that expressing it to one’s readers would probably go over well. Mr. Adler has resigned over this column, but let’s hope he didn’t infect too many minds with such ideas which, on top of being despicable, are actually based on the completely absurd talking point that Obama has somehow compromised Israel’s security.

Don't Mobilize, Just Wage Sign War

You don’t see this too often, but Rick Santorum supporters and Ron Paul supporters clashed in the most amusing fashion: sign wars. At a Santorum rally in Florida, Paul supporters held up Paul signs, and Santorum supporters tried to block the Paul signs with their own Santorum signs, triggering arguments. Think adults are fundamentally different from children? Think again… Of course, this energy could instead have been invested in mobilizing constituents to vote for a candidate, but it is election season, so we don’t really have time for rational thinking. I guess we’ll just have to see who won the sign war by looking at the Florida Primary results next week.

The State of the Union

President Obama tells us about the state of our union tonight. Are you excited? If you’re not coming to watch the speech at AAI’s offices with a couple of dozen emerging Arab American leaders, then you better be watching it next to your computer (or smartphone) so we can tweet about it together. We know drinking games will be tempting, but try to take it easy on those so your tweets are more retweetable Tweet at us at @AAIUSA, and don’t forget the #SOTU hash-tag. Oh, and be sure to stay tuned for the Republican response. This year’s will be delivered by none other than Arab American Governor Mitch Daniels.

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