Posted on August 23, 2011 in Countdown

Not THAT Fight; the Other Fight!

When Politico ran a story under the headline "Hill fight simmers over Palestinian statehood vote," it gave the impression that this was a fight between Hill supporters and opponents of Palestinians’ bid for UN recognition. As it turned out, it was a story about how everyone on the Hill is opposed to the bid, but how they were going to fight anyway to prove who was more vehemently opposed to it than the other (courtesy of American politics). Cantor and other Republicans want to paint the President and the Democrats as weak on Israel in order to get an edge among some constituencies in 2012, and the Democrat are pressing to leave no opening to be outdone in meaningless (indeed harmful) gesturing on Israel. Lost in the mix is Palestine’s right for recognition and self-determination. Sigh! You should join Yalla Change so we can include a bigger contingent of voices of reason on the Hill in the next fight.

Beck Trashes the GOP

When the House Ethics Committee barred members of Congress from attending Glenn Beck’s nutty rally in Jerusalem (wouldn’t that make for a nice official title?), Beck was furious with John Boehner and the Republican party, launching a highly entertaining tirade which began with: “Speaker Boehner, you should be ashamed of yourself. The Republican Party should be ashamed of themselves [sic].” This tirade followed an interview Beck did with Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh who expressed dismay at losing this opportunity to “go over there and do some fact-finding and learn.” That’s an interesting take, since Beck himself billed this not as a fact-finding mission, but as an opportunity “to display loyalty, courage and love [and] stand up for Israel and the Jewish people.”  More from Beck’s response to the news: “You politicians in Washington sicken me.” So, maybe it’s just as well they aren’t going?

We Love Allen West

At this point, we should probably give a permanent space on Countdown to Allen West, the ever-entertaining Tea Party Congressman from Florida. Last week, not only did West refer to himself as “the modern-day Harriet Tubman” for leading African-Americans away from the “Democratic plantation,” but he also penned what the Miami Times referred to as “the dumbest thing ever written on Congressional stationary.” When asked to distance himself from radical Islamophobes in his inner circle, West responded with a lovely one-word response. Check it out for yourself.

Arizona Looks Into the White House

Remember Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Back in July, he settled a claim of racial profiling, paying Julian and Julio Mora $200,000 after a federal judge found that officers of the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Department violated the 4th Amendment by stopping and detaining them in February 2009. Lesson clearly not learned, Joe’s back in the news, testing the limits of his authority.  He’s announced that he’s agreed to investigate the validity of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate. Confirming his one-hour meeting with Arizona Tea Partiers who gathered a whopping 242 signatures requesting the investigation, Arpaio says he’ll “look at the evidence these people have assembled and examine whether it is within my jurisdiction to investigate the document's authenticity.”  I’m pretty sure we can answer that jurisdiction question right now…

Keeping Crazy Fresh 

Herman Cain entertains a great deal of silly notions, and unfortunately they don’t relate to the amount of pepperoni on a large pizza anymore. The man is a promotional genius, knowing exactly how to stay prominent in the news cycle (and we’re totally falling for it right now) by making more absurd statements and keeping crazy fresh. After crusading against “creeping Shariah” got a little stale, Cain sought to diversify his silly attention-grabbing ideas, suggesting President Obama be impeached for considering a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. “It would be a great thing to do," Cain told the National Organization for Marriage, adding, "I think it is a breach of presidential duty bordering on treason.” Hmmm, now if only we could embed reasonableness as a requirement into the US Constitution, we would find Cain guilty of treason every other day.

Jerry Springer and Park 51

Republican Bob Turner has brought the ugly into the race for Anthony Weiner’s NY-9 congressional seat. In a campaign ad titled “Send a Message,” Turner attacks his opponent, Democrat David Weprin, for not joining in the Islamophobic rhetoric around Park 51 (the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”). It’s sensationalism at its best, given that the special election is being held on September 13 —just two days after the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We wondered where Turner learned his tactics… then we read his bio. Turns out he was CEO of Multimedia Entertainment — the group that brought you Jerry Springer and Sally Jesse Raphael. We are wondering if the ad might just push an already rancorous political fray into the next level; one similar to where requests for reasonable mediation come in the form of "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" An interesting side-note — the seat is likely to be eliminated by congressional redistricting. What a shame… all that posturing, just going to waste.

Best Uses for a Towel

Do you use it to wipe up your opponent, or to throw into the ring? John Huntsman seems to be of two minds about this. On ABC This Week, the former Ambassador and Utah Governor said that Michele Bachmann’s promise of “below $2 a gallon” gas prices was “pander[ing] to a particular group” and “simply not founded in reality.”  But the fact that Huntsman thinks Bachmann’s not living “in the real world” wouldn’t prevent him from serving as her Vice President, according to his interview with Piers Morgan on Monday. “If you love this country you serve her. If you’re in a position to serve this country…I’d be the first person to sign up.” But when Piers asked “Can you ever imagine running, as a running mate, to Mitt Romney,” Huntsman replied “No, no I can’t imagine it at all.” Apparently public service has its limits.

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