Posted on April 11, 2012 in Countdown

Countdown Vol. 10, No. 43

Santorum Drops Out

For a while now, everyone’s been thinking that the Republican race was over, except for the Republican candidates themselves; which couldn’t be fun for their front-runner Mitt Romney. He thought it was a 400 yard race, but found himself at the 20th mile of a marathon, with the 3 behind him, no matter how far back, refusing to stop running. Well, good news came in yesterday for Romney: the 2nd place runner, Rick Santorum, dropped out of the race. In an implicit endorsement of Romney, Santorum said that dropping out of the race won’t stop him from “fighting” to defeat President Obama in the upcoming election. It is unclear whether the polls indicating he was likely to lose his own home state had anything to do with his sudden departure, but Romney must be feeling better either way as he turns his focus to President Obama for the remainder of the campaign.

Is Obama Beatable?

He’s the president who got Osama bin-Laden, and he’s prepared to steal national security as a lead campaign issue from the Republicans this election season. He’s also the president who saved General Motors, and women favor him by double-digit margins. And in the words of a Huffington Post columnist, his inevitable Republican opponent is “the almost absurdly exact embodiment of an out-of-touch Republican rich guy,” distrusted by evangelical conservatives, and struggling to defeat weak primary opponents. In case this looks like a slam dunk for Obama, consider a different set of facts: Obama’s approval rating is lower than that of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before they won reelection. As for the anti-Obama industry (tamed 4 years ago by McCain’s reluctance to go to the dark side of campaigning), they now have Super PACs to go berserk without limits or accountability or consequences in a way we haven’t seen in any previous election. And to top it all off, the RNC isn’t only targeting independents, but also Obama’s own disillusioned base, as they did with their latest hard-hitting video entitled “From Hope to Hypocrisy.” The outcome of this race is most certainly not pre-determined; we might be in for one hell of a campaign season… unless Romney picks Sarah Palin for his VP post, as McCain jokingly suggested last week (we have no problem calling it early if he does).

The Desperate Search for Relevance

Despite trailing miserably in the polls and being only slightly less than $4.5 million in debt, Newt Gingrich won’t quit. He’s so defiant in the face of defeat that he might as well be the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. What, then, keeps Gingrich going, despite his candid confession that he can’t win? Maybe the burden of being an “ideas guy” compels him to remain in the race lest the country miss out on his critical world-altering thoughts. But if you actually care to look at the details, it will quickly become clear that Ron Paul is the losing candidate whose ideas continue to influence the national conversation; out-fundraising Gingrich, and receiving more than twice as many Twitter mentions in the last week alone. But Gingrich’s desperate search for relevance goes on, to a strange mixture of our amusement and agony.

UNESCO: A Never-Ending Story

Remember last year when UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member, and Congress cut off all its funding to the organization as “punishment,” and we did all kinds of posts and emails and action alerts on the subject? Well, good news! The State Department has officially stated that it will “seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the U.S. assessed contribution to UNESCO.” Problem solved? Not to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) or Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who are currently gathering signatures on the Hill for a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that “emphasizes that the U.S. should not resume funding for UNESCO.” Their reasoning is simple: “A UN body that acts so irresponsibly—a UN body that admits states that do not exist—renders itself unworthy of U.S. taxpayer dollars. “ While we may be perplexed by Congress’s insistence to make no sense at all, African children who won’t get their textbooks this year will surely appreciate that line of reasoning.

Stay Up-to-Date

Did you know that last week, Mitt Romney said that “our immigration policies are upside down” and accused Obama of using immigration “as a political weapon” without any enacting any meaningful immigration reform? Or that New Gingrich said that “This president has gone so far at appeasing radical Islamists that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief”? Or that Obama patted himself on the back for passing “the most crippling sanctions ever with respect to Iran”? Well, if you’ve been checking our Presidential Candidate Statements page, you would! Don’t forget to check back regularly for updates on what all the candidates are saying on the issues that matter to you, including the Arab Spring, Immigration, Islamophobia, and Palestine.

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