Posted on December 21, 2011 in Countdown
If you’re not playing “the final countdown” in the background, you should be, because it’s the final Countdown (of the year). Don’t worry, we’ll be back after the Holidays, but you gotta hear the stories closing this year out:
Obama vs. Boehner:
So the Democrats and the Republicans are fighting over taxes, and (shockingly) they’re stuck in stalemate... again. This one is slightly funnier than your average partisan stalemate because both sides actually agree here: neither wants to see payroll taxes go up, cuts be made to Medicare fees, or a lapse in jobless benefits. So what’s the problem? The House (controlled by Republicans) killed a Senate measure (controlled by Democrats) that would extend the tax cuts, Medicare fees and jobless benefits for another two months, in favor of a plan that would extend them for a whole year coupled with spending cuts that the Democrats oppose. If they don’t sort out their differences by January 1st, payroll taxes will go up on some 160 million Americans, doctors will have to pick up the discrepancy in the Medicare cuts, and some 2 million unemployed Americans could lose their benefits. Can you guess who sided with the President? Newt Gingrich did. Bipartisanship can pop up in strange places.
Obama vs. Obama:
After initially threatening to veto it, President Obama backtracked and agreed to sign the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which allows the military to detain American citizens suspected of terrorism indefinitely. 2008 Barack Obama was deeply disappointed with 2012 Obama, defending habeas corpus by saying: “if the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' and say, 'Maybe you've got the wrong person.' The reason you have that safeguard is because we don't always have the right person.” Of course, that’s the same Obama who wanted to close down Guantanamo. If that Obama decides to run against this Obama, he might be a worthy challenger.
Is Newt Sinking?
Shortly after alleging that the Palestinians are “an invented people” and “terrorists,” Newt took a big drop in the polls, giving Ron Paul the lead in Iowa. We’d like to think his comments on Palestinians had something to do with his plummet, but we’ll probably never know. Adding insults to injury, Occupy protesters heckled Gingrich at a recent speaking engagement, noticeably startling him when the first guy starting yelling; and another Iowa man confronted him with expletives on camera. Tough week, but Newt better suck it up quick because he now has to defend himself from Romney’s devastating accusation… that he agrees with Romney’s position on healthcare? Go figure.
Mixing Lies with Irony Gives You This
In a previous Countdown, we highlighted Anderson Cooper’s montage of Bachmann falsehoods. Then, in our newly released candidates’ profiles, we noted that Bachmann had falsely claimed that Iran had threatened to nuke the United States. Of course, Iran denies developing nuclear weapons, so they could not have possibly threatened to use what they deny developing. But rather than backtrack after being corrected on that last fact, Bachmann decided to expand on the lie, saying “We know without a shadow of a doubt Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map. And they've stated that they will use it against the United States of America.” You may be thinking this “without a shadow of doubt” shows a scary divorce from reality, but here at Countdown we’re more about “funny” than “scary.” Want to know what Bachmann’s funniest lie is? She lied about a fact-checking website claiming she was truthful when they actually didn’t. Walking yourself straight into the mother of all ironic lies is, we think, Bachmann’s greatest accomplishment of the year.
“She Hates Muslims”
Ron Paul has been doing quite well in recent days: (1) he has defended civil liberties more aggressively than any other candidate in the Republican field, (2) he corrected Newt Gingrich’s silly version of history when he pandered to the so-called “pro-Israel” constituency by denigrating Palestinians’ national identity, and (3) he corrected Michele Bachmann’s misinformation about Iran and nuclear weapons. But he dropped a bit of a rhetorical bomb the other night when Jay Leno was asking him for his impression of the other candidates in the field. When Bachmann’s turn came up, Paul said: “sheeeee… doesn’t like Muslims. She hates Muslims. She wants to go get’em.” Bachmann responded by calling Paul’s allegation “outrageous” and saying: “I don't hate Muslims. I love the American people." This should make for interesting fireworks in future debates.