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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 55)
February 18, 2002
$100 Bills from Heaven Edition

It's raining money in Afghanistan! And it's raining conservative idiots back home in America. As usual, we've got the ten dumbest right here. As the House of Reps finally passed CFR last week, Ari Fleischer (1) is trying to claim the credit for his boss. The GOP is handing out kudos to a compassionate conservative child molester (2), while Pat Robertson (3) has gone completely kooky. The American Family Association (5) has got it's panties in a wad over a soft-drink can. The Texas GOP (7) is covering it's Enron-tattooed ass. David Bunning (8) is getting a hand from Senator Dad. Bringing up the rear, we've got George W. Bush (9 & 10) setting the standard with two list-worthy examples of conservative idiocy. (As always, here's the key to the icons.)

1Ari Fleischer excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin
It's no secret that George W. Bush hates campaign finance reform. And he hasn't exactly been making a big secret of the fact that he is opposed. And yet, as CFR passed the House of Representatives last week and passage in the Senate seemed inevitable, Ari Fleischer comes up with this whopper: "If campaign finance reform is enacted into law, I believe that you can thank President George W. Bush, because he changed the dynamic of how this phony debate has finally ended in Washington, D.C." I guess in a way, Ari was telling the truth. Bush "changed the dynamic" of the debate by getting so far into bed with Enron that Congress realized they would actually have to do something about it. Of course, giving Bush credit for this would be kind of like giving Osama credit for improving airport security...
(Thanks to Matt Weiner, from whom we stole the last two sentences.) 

2"Republican of the Year" Mark A. Grethen sex arrest just plain evil
Mark A. Grethen was a great Republican. Thanks to his commitment to the conservative agenda, and his impressive history of financial support for GOP candidates and the National Republican Campaign Committee, Mr. Grethen was named "Republican of the Year" and was invited to Washington, D.C., by none other than U.S. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. But it turns out that the Republican Party wasn't Grethen's only obsession. He's also likes molesting kids, and has a 26-year prison sentence to show for it. Of course, given the GOP's history of contempt for the law, it seems that Grethen was the perfect candidate for recognition. And considering the tough competition he got from first-rate lawbreakers like Ken Lay, I guess he really had to go that extra mile to get noticed by the award committee.

3Pat Robertson religious nut religious nut religious nut homophobia
This guy just gets loopier and loopier. As a guest on Faux News's "Hannity and Colmes," Pat Robertson used his Miss Cleo-like psychic powers to predict the next terrorist attack: "I have a feeling that we're looking at a ship. That's just my feeling. ... It could be the Norfolk Naval Base." But Pat may be getting a little static on his amazing hotline to God, because then he started hedging his bets. Perhaps the attack would be against San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge, he said, which would be "highly symbolic." (Surprise.) Or maybe Detroit, where "there's a tremendous number of Muslim people." In a stunning display of clairvoyance, Pat added, "it could be anyplace." Of course, if a terrorist attack doesn't actually come to pass, you can thank Pat, too, because he's been "praying that God will preserve us and keep us from that." Phew!

4Slobodan Milosevic covering your ass covering your ass racism just plain evil
It seems that America is not the only place where the government can justify murder by calling it "fighting terrorism." Holding up a finger to ascertain the direction of the prevailing political wind, Slobodan Milosevic took a page from the Bush Administration playbook during his trial at the Hague and insisted that his campaign of ethnic cleansing was actually just fighting terrorism. One wonders why it took him so long to come up with that defense. (Hmm. Let me think.) Editor's note: If you think it's a cheap shot to say that Slobodan Milosevic is a conservative, I think his record on improving inter-ethnic understanding speaks for itself. And this "fighting terror" thing pretty much seals it in my book.

5The American Family Association religious nut religious nut dumb
This has got to be the dumbest thing I have heard in a long time. It would seem that the American Family Association -- the self-appointed judge of all things patriotic and good -- has decided to start an email campaign against the godless liberals who produce Dr. Pepper. (Yes, the soft drink.) Their crime? According to the American Family Association, "Dr Pepper has designed a new patriotic can featuring the Statue of Liberty and the Pledge of Allegiance. But Dr Pepper left out the phrase 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance." They even tell a heart-wrenching story about an innocent 12-year-old girl who was snubbed by the cold-hearted liberals at Dr. Pepper. Not so fast, there, fundies. The Dr. Pepper can in question doesn't exactly have the entire Pledge of Allegiance printed on it. In fact, they only printed a whopping three words: "One Nation ... Indivisible." (See it for yourself here.) So, from now on, if you utter any of the words from the Pledge but don't say "Under God" you are a godless heathen who is hell-bent on destroying America.

6The Virginia State Assembly homophobia homophobia homophobia
Compassionate-conservative bigotry got a boost last week, when the Virginia State Assembly passed a bill to force Virginia school boards to "develop policies prohibiting presentations, classroom discussions, school-sponsored assemblies and student meetings" that deal with sodomy and other "crimes against nature." Never mind that this whole homosexuality thing seems to be, um, natural. I'm sure The Almighty doesn't have any problem with the folks in Virginia state government appropriating for themselves the awesome power to decide what is a crime against nature. I'm guessing that they've already tried to outlaw evolution. Next thing you know, they'll be trying to outlaw gravity.

7The Republican Party of Texas covering your ass
If you think the GOP isn't worried about this whole Enron thing, consider this little story from Texas. Recently, a group of Texas Democrats created a little website called Enron Owns the GOP, which exposes the lovey-dovey relationship between the bankrupt Energy giant and the Texas GOP. So the Republicans did what any self-respecting conservative in would do: They let loose a bunch of high-priced lawyers to try to shut down the site. In their cease and desist letter, their lawyer alleges, "You have utilized a confusingly similar mark of an elephant in the same design as the RPT's trademark protected symbol and you replaced the map of the state of Texas with the Enron logo." Of course, the real crime here isn't a little Enron logo on an elephant. Considering that Rick Perry, Texas's Republican Governor, accepted $227,075 from Enron, he might as well have tattooed the Enron logo on his own forehead!

8David Bunning nepotism
We all know that conservatives believe jobs should be awarded entirely on the basis of merit. This is the basis for their principled opposition to affirmative action of any kind. So when David Bunning, a 35-year-old kid whom the American Bar Association deemed "not qualified," was nominated for a federal judgeship, no doubt he was voted down in a fit of conservative principle. Yeah, right. It turns out that David Bunning is the son of United States Senator Jim Bunning (R-Nepotism), so all this talk of so-called "merit" is just a bunch of irrelevant mumbo-jumbo. Incidentally, this is the same idea of "merit" that allows rich white kids to get into the same ivy league college their parents went to, even though their SAT's sucked. Just don't call it "affirmative action," cuz everyone knows affirmative action is baaaaad.

9George W. Bush partisanship partisanship
What's the best way to help New York recover from the September 11 tragedy? Why, blackmail them into voting Republican of course! At a recent fundraiser for New York's Republican governor George Pataki, George W. "change the tone" Bush told a rapt audience that Pataki should be reelected because, "It also makes sense for New York State to have a governor whose phone calls will be returned from the White House." So, um, if New York elects a Democratic Governor, Dubya won't return his phone calls? What a stand-up, responsible, bipartisan way to behave.

10George W. Bush (again) dumb
And finally, not content with alternately showering the Afghan people with food and high explosives, George W. Bush has now resorted to dropping $100 bills out of airplanes. The money comes in a nice white envelope with a picture - wouldn't you know it - of our man George on the front, which just goes to show what a nice guy he is. Presumably he thought that if it could work with the old $300 tax "refund" earlier this year, it would surely work on a bunch of starving refugees. Or - perhaps he learned the old "hundred dollar bills stuffed into plain white envelopes" trick from his good buddy Kenny Boy... hmmm. Anyway, we're not entirely sure what the Afghans are going to do with this money, apart from spend it on weapons, but we are sure that the American people must be thrilled to see their hard-earned taxes being used in such a fashion. Since George has given the military a billion dollars a day to spend on the "war," they're obviously having running out of ways to spend it. Unless this is just a test run for something else entirely. Perhaps everyone should keep a close look out for airplanes dropping $100 bills over Florida in late summer 2004. See you next week.

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