Posted on October 25, 2011 in Countdown

Some People Never Learn

As the Syrian regime’s crackdown continues, American policymakers are growing increasingly hawkish toward Syria. Last week, Senator John McCain intimated that, with the close of NATO operations in Libya, Syria might well be the next target of a concerted international military intervention. Of course, this idea has virtually no backing in the Middle East, with our news-breaking poll (released today) indicating that the region views the U.S. role in Syria negatively. But hey, maybe we can bomb them into changing their minds the way we bombed democracy into the Middle East via the Iraq war. As for the Assad regime itself, it lost virtually all Arab support, hitting as low as (wait for it…) 0% is Jordan. Maybe the regime will soon catch on to how wrong it’s handling everything. Yeah, we know, not likely. 

Cain Is Too Busy Learning Nothing to Know Anything

It’s difficult to imagine what can possibly bring Hillary Clinton and Hamid Karzai together in a shared moment of laughter. Well, Herman Cain’s stellar foreign policy expertise did it! Yup, Clinton and Karzai chuckled over Cain’s plan to handle “gotcha” questions. If asked who the President of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” is, he’s not going to shy away from saying he doesn’t know because he will be too focused on America. Unfortunately, he’s not focused enough on America to know how constitutional amendments work. We won’t even bother with a joke about his feud with karl Rove; too easy.

How Obama Ruined the Arab Spring

It’s campaign season, so you expect all sorts of outlandish accusations to be hurled back and forth. But the blame game just took an interesting turn when GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney slammed President Obama’s handling of the Arab Spring, saying: “We're facing an Arab Spring which is out of control in some respects because the president was not as strong as he needed to be in encouraging our friends to move toward representative forms of government.”  Wait, what? Obama is to blame for not having more representative forms of government in the Middle East? Um, what’s up Mitt? You know that Arab Spring you’re talking about? Yeah, it’s a grassroots Arab movement against long-standing problems in the Middle East, and they are loosely tied to long-standing problematic U.S. policy in the Middle East, not a reaction to Obama’s policies per se. If you want to blame “problems” on the President, try something more plausible, like maybe the earthquake in Turkey.

Immigration and the Hispanic Vote

According to The Hill, the Republican base’s insistence on a hard line vis-à-vis immigration could be hurting their candidates’ chances of capturing the Hispanic vote in the national race. Rick Perry learned that lesson very quickly when his support for the perfectly sensible DREAM Act earned him boos and a drop in the polls. But all is not lost for the Republicans, as they will ultimately be competing with President Obama whose administration, despite more sympathetic rhetoric, has in fact carried out record numbers of deportations at a pretty fast rate. We can’t wait for that final round of presidential debates to see how this one plays out.

Bachmann Never Said That Thing She Once Said

Last month, we highlighted Bachmann’s addiction to false statements in a Countdown entry we called “true lies.”  This week, Bachmann decided that the video of her saying abortion bans were “a state issue, and so it's up to the people of Iowa to decide what they want to do," was in fact a video of someone else. Okay, she didn’t really claim it was a video of someone else, but she insists she never made those comments. Can none of her tech-savvy advisers explain to her that when something is recorded and is widely available for playback, it is no longer useful to deny it?

Tunisia Went to the Polls

We take a quick break from OUR election cycle to congratulate the nation that gave birth to the Arab Spring, Tunisia, for holding its first post-revolution free elections. The official results are expected to be released later today, but the “moderate Islamist” al-Nahda party has already claimed to have won more than 40% of the seats and is currently negotiating the formation of political alliances with center-left parties. Tunisia is one of the Arab Spring countries where things look fairly optimistic (they put out a brilliant ad to encourage people to vote), and we just wanted to highlight what is hopefully the beginning of the road to a better future for the Tunisian people. Cheers!

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