Posted on May 08, 2012 in Countdown

Countdown Vol. 10, No. 47

Romney's Santorum's McCain Moment

During the last presidential election cycle, a woman in the audience of a political rally told John McCain that she couldn’t trust Obama because he was an “Arab,” and McCain repudiated her by pointing out that Obama was in fact a “decent family man.” One can be humored by the woman’s ignorance, but should probably be outraged by McCain’s use of “decent” as an antonym for “Arab.” Then Santorum had an even worse moment, when a woman told him that Obama “is an avowed Muslim [and…] has no legal right to be calling himself President,” and he responded with “I’m doing my best to get him out.” Well, Romney just had Santorum’s McCain moment. Yesterday, a women told Romney that President Obama should be tried for “treason,” and Romney went on talking about how the constitution is important. Just when you think you’ve found the limits of our tolerance for madness in our political discourse, you find out you haven’t.

Marco Rubio Attacks Joe Biden

Recently, Vice President Joe Biden has been giving Mitt Romney a hard time, calling him “ignorant” about the Obama administration’s policy towards Iran, and criticizing his “loose talk” of war. Biden also said this: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. If Governor Romney had been president, could he have used the same slogan in reverse?” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a potential VP pick for Romney, isn’t taking these attacks lightly. He fired back yesterday, saying Biden has been “wrong on everything” related to foreign policy, “from dividing Iraq, to admittedly telling the president not to go in and do this operation [to get bin Laden].” Do you get the sense that this would make for a fun VP debate?

You Know You Miss the Crazies

Speaking of VPs, you know who’s totally unfit to be Romney’s VP? NJ Governor Chris Christie. Why? Because he’s not a bigot! Don’t worry, that’s not the Countdown team’s take, but that of anti-Muslim fanatics Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson (gotta love the crazies). They accused Christie of being “soft-on-Islamism,” and disputed his pro-Israel credentials because “pro-Israel stance typically goes hand-in-hand with concern about Shari’a” (oh, the flawless logic). If, at this point, you’re questioning the basic reasoning skills of Pipes and Emerson because “defective reasoning skills typically go hand-in-hand with bigotry,” you’re probably on to something. Frankly, if paranoid bigots were comfortable with his “moral compass and integrity,” Christie would have to figure out where he went wrong.

Forbes' Almost Great Letter

A few weeks ago, we highlighted an incredible “60 Minutes” program detailing the suffering of Palestinian Christians under the Israeli occupation. Tens of thousands of you sent letters in support of the show, and it looks like it’s making a difference. Just this week, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) wrote a letter expressing his “grave concern regarding the treatment of religious minorities” and the importance of “respecting religious freedom” in the occupied West Bank. Now here’s the catch: instead of discussing the Israeli occupation’s extensive violations of the rights of Palestinian Christians, the letter narrowly focuses on the Palestinian Authority’s “refusing the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem full recognition.” It’s great to see the Congressman showing concern about Christians in Palestine, and maybe next time, he’ll even blame the primary party responsible for their hardships. You were so close, Congressman!

Profiling: An NYPD Policy

The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy is facing new potential blowback as legal proceedings, which were started in 2008 by four men who contend they were unconstitutionally racially profiled by police, have reached a milestone. Pending one final judicial review (and contingent on an unsuccessful City appeal), it now appears that the NYPD could face a class action lawsuit. Consider the record of “stop-and-frisk”: 87% of those stopped are Latinos and African Americans, and 88% of the hundreds of thousands stopped have been completely innocent, according to the NYCLU. Profiling has never been popular, and with growing numbers of wrongful detentions, public momentum is growing behind the court case. Of course, profiling is an even bigger factor in the NYPD’s recently-discovered (and terribly useless) surveillance data on Arab American and American Muslim communities. If you haven’t seen the data, consider that the “Syrian Locations of Concern Report” details such critical discoveries as which airline a woman named “Rasha” thinks is the best, and how many tables a Syrian restaurant in Brooklyn has (we’re totally serious). As AAI President Jim Zogby recently speculated, these documents were designated “SECRET” merely to spare the NYPD the embarrassment of having them read by the public.  

Ignoring Profiling No More

If you’re a regular reader of Countdown, you’ve probably picked up on our tendency to focus on the silly or troublesome things our Members of Congress say and do. But jaw-dropping isn’t the only involuntary physical reaction we’re about. We also like to induce repeated audible hand contact (casually known as clapping). For example, we’re really looking forward to an upcoming Congressional resolution condemning the NYPD’s racial profiling practices, and calling them out for their discrimination against Arab Americans and American Muslims. The resolution hasn’t been submitted yet, but stay tuned to get involved in putting the NYPD back on the right track, later this week.

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