Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 110)
Texas Toast Edition
Donate to our Fund Drive!
Democratic Underground is a truly independent
website which receives no official funding. We
depend on the generous donations of members like
you to keep our server online and cover our steadily
increasing monthly budget. While DU was once a
labor of love, it's quickly becoming a full-time
job. There is no minimum (or maximum) donation.
Even a modest contribution makes a big difference,
so please take a moment to help out!
like to do things big in Texas, which probably explains why
they have some of the biggest conservative idiots in the country.
The Texas redistricting fiasco fills up almost half of the
list this week, with the Texas GOP, Tom Delay, Tom Craddick,
Will Crais, and Dan Branch grabbing the top slots. But it's
not all about Texas this week. Michael Graham (5) gives us
a great example of how conservatives prefer logic to emotion,
Team Bush Misinformation Squad (7) and Jeb Bush (9) make reappearances,
and Star Spangled Ice Cream (10) takes the conservatives'
warped idea of patriotism to new levels of dumb. Enjoy, and
don't forget the key!
What do you do if you're a power-hungry Republican who decides
that a 24-seat advantage in the House of Representatives is
not good enough? Simple - you draw up a redistricting plan
in Texas which would turn 17 Democratic seats and 15 Republican
seats into 22 small, safe Republican districts and then pack
the Democratic constituency into the remaining 10 districts.
Redistricting is supposed to take place once every ten years,
and the Texas districts were drawn by federal judges in 2001
after the Legislature failed to agree on a plan. But the Texas
decided to undo the judges' handiwork, and in a blatant power-grab
attempted to use their majority in the Texas state Legislature
to force through a re-redistricting plan which would target
minorities and unfairly create safe new Republican seats.
Not so fast! Since the Texas state Legislature can only legally
operate with 100 of its 150 members, 58 Democrats said "screw
you guys" and headed to Oklahoma to prevent the bill
from being passed. Hats off to these brave Democrats for standing
up to the power-mad GOP. They eventually returned
to Texas last week having succesfully killed the bill, but
in their absence conservative idiocy reigned, as you will
So who was behind the Texas Takeover? Step forward House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay's crazy redistricting plan was the
catalyst for a week-long orgy of red-faced GOP blustering
after the Texas Dems walked out, and more than a little of
the blustering came from DeLay himself. DeLay called the missing
politicians "disloyal" (apparently Tom feels that
all must kneel
before him) and childishly mocked the Democrats' principled
stand. But that wasn't enough for our Tom. Furiously overplaying
his hand, "The Hammer" decided to call for federal
investigators to "track down" the Dems (even though
everyone knew they were staying in a Holiday Inn in Oklahoma)
and even tried to get the Department of Homeland Security
involved. He was rightfully lambasted
on the House floor by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who said, "Not
content as U.S. House Commander, redistricting czar, and map-maker
for the Texas Legislature, J. Edgar DeLay apparently also
seeks a job directing law enforcement."
Craddick and Will Crais
Meanwhile Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick was only
too keen to start rounding up a posse to hunt for the
missing Democrats, and called out state troopers to round
up the "evildoers" and return them to Austin where
they could be forced (in handcuffs, presumably) to watch the
GOP steamroller its disgraceful redistricting bill through
to passage. But things quickly got out of hand when a rumor
- started by DPS officer Lt.
Will Crais - that a small plane carrying the Democrats
had crashed. And suddenly the Department of Homeland Security
and the FAA were involved. Except there was no plane
- most of the Democrats had traveled by bus. Democrats in
Washington criticized Craddick and his over-the-top response
last week. "Not since Richard Nixon and Watergate 30
years ago has anyone tried to use law enforcement agencies
of the federal government for domestic political purposes,"
said Rep. Martin Frost. Rep. Jim Turner said it was "deeply
disturbing" that federal resources were used to hunt
for the Texas Democrats. And nine House Democrats wrote to
Clark Kent Irvin, the acting inspector general at Homeland
Security, saying, "If true, this report represents a
shameful diversion of taxpayer resources for partisan purposes."
But hey, haven't we learned after eight years of the GOP trying
to bring down Bill Clinton that shamefully diverting taxpayer
resources for partisan purposes is what Republicans do best?
Of course, getting the Department of Homeland Security involved
meant that it's didn't take a great leap of some Republicans'
imaginations to arrive at this
despicable conclusion: "They're legislative terrorists
and their leaving today is a weapon of mass obstruction, blocking
hundreds of pieces of legislation," said Republican Rep.
Dan Branch last week. Got that? Democrats who refuse to bow
to power-crazed Republicans = terrorists. Standing up against
the power mad GOP = using weapons of mass destruction. So
much for uniting, not dividing. Democrats don't do what you
tell them to do? Hell, they must be members of Al Qaeda.
But it looks like Republican radio talk show host Michael
Graham has come up with the best
solution for dealing with Democrats which irritate him.
Appearing on Hardball last week, he discussed the topic of
Hillary Clinton's recent speech on patriotism with Chris Matthews.
Here's Graham's novel response to Clinton's speech: "Anyone
listening to Hillary Rodham in her speech last week about
patriotism, that screaming, screeching fingernail, I wanted
to bludgeon her with a tire iron. That's what I wanted to
do." Ah, compassionate conservatism at its finest. Democrats
not bowing and scraping enough? Call them terrorists. Democrats
saying something you don't like? Bludgeon them with tire irons.
So much for the old "conservatives argue with facts,
liberals argue with emotions" fallacy. Welcome to the
21st Century GOP, where a good beating is the remedy for what
ails America. Oh, and just in case anyone's interested, Chris
Matthews' response to Graham's disgraceful and irresponsible
statement was, "Michael Graham, it was great having you
joining us." Way to go, Chris.
Preliminary investigations into the Enron scandal are obviously
giving GOP lawmakers some useful tips on fuzzy accounting.
"Senate Republicans resorted to budgetary sleight of
hand on Thursday in pursuit of their twin goals of passing
a $350 billion tax bill and granting President Bush's wish
of erasing the taxes that people pay on corporate dividends,"
to the Associated Press. To ensure passage of the tax cut,
Republicans in the Senate apparently resorted to the use of
such gimmicks as phasing out the dividend tax and reinstating
it in 2007 - except they obviously have no intention of reinstating
it. Dick Cheney broke the tie as the Senate voted along party
lines, 51-50, for the Republicans' Enromonics tax cut. And
all this as we face the biggest deficit in U.S. history. Three
cheers for Our Great Leader's Great Economic Toilet Flush!
Bush Misinformation Squad
Media management is the order of the day for Team Bush. When
George W. Bush appeared in Indianapolis last week to tell
the lie that his tax cuts are for everyone, not just the rich,
his Misinformation Squad had a problem with some of the audience
members. It seems that putting a bunch of high-rolling Republicans
behind Our Great Leader as he made his speech was going to
clash with Bush's "I love ordinary folks" bullpoop.
And so the Misinformation Squad came up with a great idea
- have the high-rollers remove their ties! And thus it came
to pass that Dubya made a speech about how much he loved
regular Joes, while standing in front of a bunch of wealthy
Republicans who'd taken their ties off. Sheer brilliance.
There was no need to ask people to take off their ties in
Omaha last week - Our Great Leader was making a speech at
a plastics factory to promote the idea that his tax cuts will
put more money in the working man's wallet. How ironic then
that Brad Crosby, the factory's chief executive, told 300
of his hourly workers that they "might lose all or part
of a day's pay unless they work next Saturday to offset the
time lost when the plant closes for the speech," according
to the New York Times. Crosby told the Associated Press
that "Right from the beginning, we didn't want to see
anyone take a cut in pay. We're just trying to be completely
fair." Hey, sounds just like Dubya's "completely
fair" tax cut, where everyone gets screwed. Oh
- except the rich, of course. Which makes me ponder - did
Brad Crosby lose his day's pay? Hmmm.... gee, I wonder.
How low will Jeb Bush go? Florida newspapers reported recently
on the sad story of a 22-year-old mentally disabled woman
who was raped and impregnated. As the woman is too disabled
to speak she can't help the police find the rapist, and since
she has no family the state has appointed her a guardian.
But obviously sensing a political opportunity, Jeb Bush stepped
in last week and ordered state lawyers to also appoint
a guardian for the woman's 6-month-old fetus. He overruled
child welfare officials who said that since a fetus isn't
a person, to appoint a guardian would be illegal. And so that's
how low Jeb Bush will go, folks - he'll cynically use a mentally
disabled rape victim to push his pro-life agenda. What a guy.
Spangled Ice Cream
And finally, how could we resist this one? The CEO of Star
Spangled Ice Cream appeared on CNN last week to hawk his new
line of patriotic (read: hatemongering) frozen
desserts. Star Spangled Ice Cream comes in flavors such
as "I Hate The French Vanilla," "Smaller Governmint,"
and "Nutty Environmentalist," and their website
proudly proclaims that "Like millions of your fellow
Americans, you enjoy ice cream but do NOT enjoy seeing your
money funneled to wacko left-wing causes." Ah, how can
you not like an ice cream that contains the word "hate"
in its name. Perfect for the kids. Hey, perhaps some other
Republican businessmen could take a lesson from Star Spangled
Ice Cream. It surely can't be long before we see "Patriotic
Clip-On Ties - perfect for quick removal at Bush campaign
events!" Or possibly "Michael Graham Tire Irons
- guaranteed to withstand a lifetime of bludgeoning!"
See you next week...
a Conservative for Next Week's List