Posted on February 14, 2012 in Countdown
Countdown Vol. 10, No. 35
The Santorum Surprise
When Gingrich was devastated by Romney, we thought it was time to switch gears to “Romney vs. Obama.” But it’s not going down quite like that. Not only did Santorum win Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado, but he’s actually now leading in the state where Romney was born and raised. No, not Massachusetts; Michigan, that state where Romney’s own father was Governor. That’s right! In Michigan polls, Santorum is ahead of the front-running Michigan-born son of a Michigan Governor. Want to get a sense of how much Romney is struggling to win conservative support these days? Even Donald Trump, the guy who was full of certainty about Obama’s birth certificate conspiracy, is now filled with doubt about his endorsed-candidate’s ability to pull off the nomination before the convention. Meanwhile, Chuck Norris is mad at Santorum because he’s unworthily stealing Gingrich’s thunder as the “Not Romney” candidate. Haha, we’re just kidding about that last part. Oh wait, we’re actually not.
Who Won Maine, Again?
Officially-speaking, Mitt Romney won Maine, pulling a narrow victory of less than 200 ballots over Ron Paul. However, Ron Paul did not concede the election. Why? Because Maine’s Washington County didn’t vote due to anticipated inclement weather, and Paul’s campaign manager told supporters that Washington County would’ve given Paul the win over Romney. But since Washington County only postponed its caucus for a week, shouldn’t this problem be solved this weekend? Apparently not, because state officials said that Washington County’s results, whatever they turn out to be, won’t be allowed to change the previously-announced conclusion that Romney won. Poor Paul supporters, first they had to deal with their candidate being ignored in debates. Now they’re being told their candidate is not allowed to win, no matter what the election results are. Nicely done, Maine officials.
Obama's Budget & the Arab Spring
It wasn’t a surprise that Obama’s proposed budget for 2013 included the usual $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel. But Obama’s budget also included the usual $1+ billion in military aid to Egypt, ignoring Congressional calls for the suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt over the detention of American NGO workers. Then again, how surprising is that really? It’s not like Obama was going to cede American influence in Egypt over the NGO fiasco, right? Well, what is new about the 2013 budget is that it includes $800 million in assistance for the democratic transition of “Arab Spring” states. That’s a lot of money alright, but it’s not clear the capacity exists to spend this money effectively to achieve its ends. And the Egyptian military’s pleasant treatment of pro-democracy protesters on the streets of Cairo makes the fact that we’re providing Egypt with both military aid and democracy promotion money all the more… interesting!
CPAC Was In Town
Over the weekend, Washington, DC hosted CPAC, whose participants say stands for the Conservative Political Action Conference, but which Dean Obeidallah thinks stands for the Crazy People of America Convention. We think Dean is on to something; not because the good conservatives aren't still there, but because they made this strange opening for the crazies to join them. And once you let the crazies in, you know how the party is gonna go down (pun intended). And we're not just talking about your typical "Obama is a socialist, Arab culture is bad” crazy, we're talking "I'm proud the mosque in my neighborhood got attacked" crazy. That last sentiment belonged to professional bigot James Lafferty who, at CPAC, was “proud to say” that the South was responsible for most vandal attacks on mosques. Until CPAC stops welcoming these people, we’re sticking with the Crazy People of America Convention.
Happy Valentine's Bahrain
Whether you’re upset today because you hate participating in the commercial industry of love, or because you can’t think of an original Valentine’s gift (heart-shaped chocolate box is just fine), or because the world is reminding you that nobody loves you (don’t believe it, we’re sure someone does), today still means something very different to you than it does for Bahrain. Yes, Bahrain is indeed marking the anniversary of its uprising today. Despite the government’s destruction of the Pearl Roundabout (the “Tahrir Square” of Bahrain’s protests), protesters have vowed to retake it today, clashing with police who used tear gas to keep the activists from reaching the landmark. The international online hacking movement Anonymous also saw fit to mark the anniversary, hacking into the website of a U.S. tear gas company and dumping its employee and client data on the internet. To close this Countdown, we’re wishing Bahrain, Syria, and all troubled spots of the region a happier Valentine’s Day next year. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too.