Posted on March 27, 2012 in Countdown

Countdown Vol. 10, No. 41

Romney: The Surprise President

Asked whether government agencies and programs would be cut under his potential presidency, Mitt Romney said, “the answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.” Well why not, Mitt? “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education.” Translation: I won’t tell you what I would do if elected, because then that might be used against me in the campaign. Excellent point! Can’t you already see the empty campaign platform page and the bumper sticker reading: “Romney 2012: Elect Me & Find Out What I’ll Do?” Of course, this comes on the heels of Mitt’s top adviser implying that people shouldn’t be concerned about Romney’s far right rhetoric during the primary season because he might change his positions during the general election. Never before, to our knowledge, has a candidate suffered from the problem of being too honest about not wanting to be completely honest.

Santorum's On Fire

Having lost Illinois, Rick Santorum is now heating up his rhetoric even further. Speaking about Mitt Romney, Santorum said, “He is the worst Republican in the country [short pause] to put up against Barack Obama.” Afterward, a New York Times reporter asked Santorum if he really said that Romney “was the worst Republican in the country.” Santorum lost his temper, pointed his finger in the face of the reporter and said: “stop lying! I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of ObamaCare… Quit distorting my words. If I see it, it’s Bull***t!” Interestingly enough, when asked whether he would consider running as the Vice President of “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama,” Santorum said “Of course.” Well, when you consider that Santorum seems to think that Obama’s reelection would bring about the figurative apocalypse, you can see why even his worst opponent is worth joining.

Look at Me, I'm Newt Gingrich

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably heard about the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman following an altercation. The audio from the 911 calls is not clear enough to conclusively settle whether the shooter used a racial slur to describe Trayvon, nor who of the two was crying out for help before the gunshot was fired. But the widespread calls for justice have compelled President Obama to call for a complete and thorough investigation into the matter. While expressing sympathy to Trayvon’s parents, Obama said, “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Well, the forgotten man of the Presidential race (Newt Gingrich) didn’t like that one bit. He described those comments as “disgraceful,” implying that the President’s remarks were racist, by asking (it must’ve sounded clever in his head): “Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him?”  Another irrelevant candidate (but one with the sense to drop out already), Michele Bachmann, also defended Gingrich’s comments. Obama’s campaign condemned Gingrich’s remarks as "reprehensible," saying they showed he was "clearly in the last throes of his political career." Last throes or not, he sure knows what to say to make headlines.

Speaking of Madness

 You know what small business under the current tax code is like? It’s like a bunny being catapulted in the air before being shot by a rifle-bearing creeper. Any questions? We’re guessing you’ll want to start with this one: “what on earth is the Countdown team talking about?” Well, we’re talking about Herman Cain’s latest ad. Watch it. How do ya like them apples? And that’s not his only ad. Cain has another ad showing a goldfish flopping in the dirt. “This is the economy,” the voice of a little girl declares. Then someone splashes a cup’s worth of water on the dying fish, and the girl’s voice declares again: “this is the economy on stimulus… any questions?” Yes, Herman, many questions, but let’s start with three. (1) While we kind of get the fish analogy, we’re wondering, was it necessary to torture a goldfish to tell us that you don’t think the stimulus is helpful? (2) How exactly is small business like killing rabbits via catapult-shooting practice? (3) Are you in some sort of bet with Newt Gingrich to see who can grab people’s attention in the most ridiculous fashion imaginable?

FBI Reaction Insufficient

In response to intense scrutiny following revelations that disturbing anti-Muslim materials were used regularly in FBI training programs, the FBI Office of Public Affairs convened a meeting with Arab American and American Muslim community representatives. At the meeting (attended by FBI Director Robert Mueller), the FBI assured community leaders that the anti-Muslim materials were removed from the trainings, and said that new guiding principles for training would be released (they were last week). This is all much appreciated, but it’s really a gross under-reaction to a problem of this magnitude. Assurances that everything is fine now, coming from the same people who allowed materials describing “mainstream” Muslims as terrorist sympathizers to enter into FBI training manuals in the first place, are not good enough. The proper reaction to the discovery of a systemic problem of Islamophobia in the country’s leading law enforcement agency is: (a) full disclosure of the materials used, (b) the retraining of all agents who underwent training that stereotyped Arab Americans and American Muslims as threatening, and (c) a public apology from the FBI for allowing such absurd materials to make it into their trainings in the first place. To emphasize the seriousness of this issue, we’re going to skip the joke on this one.