Posted on September 19, 2011 in Countdown

Our Special Friends Can Have Whatever They Want 

Have you had enough of this idea that countries are only entitled to the land within their borders and can’t take over their neighbors’ territories? If so, you’ll be glad Michele Bachmann is here for the rescue. During last week’s Republican debate, she took a stab at President Obama’s suggestion that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations should be based on the 1967 lines by saying, “As a matter of fact, what he's done is he's said, in fact, to Israel that, they need to shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders.” Of course, how defensible Palestine would be on a substantially smaller piece of territory is probably not the sort of question Bachmann is capable of imagining, let alone seriously considering.

For Wife & Country 

On previous Countdowns, we’ve highlighted a good share of pledges, including some unsavory ones, that were signed by Presidential candidates and members of Congress. But don’t expect Jon Huntsman to sign any of those. In last week’s Republican debate, he said “I'd love to get everybody to sign a pledge to take no pledges.” He said he has a pledge to his wife, and pledges allegiance to his country, “but beyond that, no pledges,” suggesting candidates can be judged on their records and that their ability to lead should not be constrained by pledges. In short, Huntsman has this strange idea that doing what one thinks is best for one’s country is good enough, and that ideological recalcitrance & stubborn observance of absolute/black and white doctrines isn’t necessarily the best way to go about running a country. Can you imagine what our politics would be like of more people signed on to this kind of governing agility? Things just might get done. Scary stuff!

Ros-Lehtinen Gets Pushback 

Congressmen David Price (D-NC) and Peter Welch (D-VT) are pushing back on Ros-Lehtinen’s proposal to cut funding to the UN and the PA in the event that the UN supported the vote for Palestinian state membership in the organization. Besides the central emphasis on Israel’s security (which is as predictable to see in anything pertaining to Israel in the US congress as hearing “bless you” following a sneeze in a church), their “Dear Colleague” letter notes that cutting US aid to the PA would “undermine the very foundations of a future Palestinian state.” Ros-Lehtinen is not bothering with this nonsense, though; she’s busy trying to foil the “dangerous scheme” of Palestinian membership at the UN. Except, the only thing this appears to be dangerous for is the longevity of the occupation.

Wait, They Don’t Just Hate Our Freedom? 

Presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) was booed at Monday night’s CNN / Tea Party Republican debate for implying the Muslim world might be upset that Palestinians don’t get “fair treatment.” In response to a comment by Rick Santorum that 9/11 happened because “we have a civilization that is antithetical to the civilization of the jihadist,” Paul calmly remarked that, “the idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this…is simply untrue,” while the audience booed and his opponents looked visibly disturbed, even though he was clearly contextualizing – not justifying – the attacks. Look out for more crazy, kooky comments from Rep. Paul in the future… maybe he’ll accuse the Pope of being Catholic!

We’re Off to See The Colonel 

Taking a sharp turn from most Republican flak about Obama’s Libya mission, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused Obama last week of being “confused” in his handling of Libya. “This president was very indecisive and confused in Libya. He only went along for the mission in Libya because the United Nations told him to. Ronald Reagan would have melted like the wicked witch of the west before he allowed that to happen.”  Yes, if observing international law regarding international conflict isn’t a sign of confusion and a source of outrage, we don’t know what is.

To the Better Panderer Go the Spoils 

Last night, Bob Turner won the New York 9th congressional district special election, beating Democratic opponent David Weprin and shocking the Democratic Party. Both the RNC and Turner touted how their focus on Jobs and their unwavering support for Israel got them the win, though less has been said about his pandering to the anti-Muslim sentiment regarding Park 51. “New Yorkers put Washington Democrats on notice that voters are losing confidence in a President whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel,” National Republican Congressional Committee ChairmanPete Sessions (R-Texas) said in a statement. David Weprin was repeatedly criticized by Turner’s camp for his stance on Israel and on Park 51, both times because his views were lumped in with the President’s, even when in fact they diverged. The only possible upshot of this is that pandering won Turner a seat that is likely to be redistricted out of existence.

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