The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
August 23, 2004
Dirty Work Edition
are two months to go to the election, George W. Bush's approval
rating is slumping, and he has no issues to run on. What's a presidential
candidate to do but slime his opponent? Team Bush (1) has launched
an all-out offensive against John Kerry in the last couple of weeks
while simultaneously pretending that they have nothing to do with
it. But Larry Thurlow (2) of the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth"
is part of the plan, as is Michelle Malkin (3). Meanwhile, George
W. Bush (4) is sitting back and doing nothing while oil prices reach
record highs. Elsewhere, Zell Miller (5) is stabbing the Democratic
party in the back yet again, Kenneth Cordier isn't the only Bush
campaign reject this week - meet Deal Hudson (8), and Alan Keyes
(10) continues to provide us all with priceless entertainment. As
usual, don't forget the key.
Note: You can now link directly
to a Top Ten item by adding "#" plus the number
of the item to the URL. So if you wish to point someone directly
to, for example, number 6 on this week's list, add "#6"
to the end of the URL so it looks like this:
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign reached a head
last week when John Kerry accused
them of doing George W. Bush's "dirty work." Kerry went
on to denounce
an ad by independent group MoveOn PAC which charged that Bush went
AWOL during his time in the Texas Air National Guard, and then released
ad demanding Bush similarly condemn the Swift Boat Veterans'
behavior. Finally, late last week the Kerry campaign filed a complaint
with the FEC accusing Bush of illegally coordinating with the Swift
Boat Veterans and then released a Florida Republican Party flyer
which clearly shows collusion between the two groups:
Shortly afterwards one of our very own DUers took it upon themselves
to go down to the Florida Republican Party (and Bush Campaign) headquarters
in Gainesville and snap some pics showing the flyer pinned to their
While all this was going on, Vietnam veterans were leaping to Kerry's
defense. William Rood - a Chicago Tribune editor and political independent
who just happened to be commanding one of the Swift Boats which
took part in the action when Kerry won his Silver Star - broke a
35-year silence to defend
Kerry against the Swift Boat Veterans' lies. "The critics have
taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit
of what others did," he wrote, "but their version of events
has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for
those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue,
especially when they come from people who were not there."
But that was by no means the end of the story. The New York
Times finally pulled its head out of its journalistic ass and
did some actual reporting last week, publishing a long
investigation into the Swift Boat Veterans' Republican ties
(not that this was anything that people who get their news from
the web didn't know
already) and also came up with a nice
graphic displaying the "connections and contradictions"
of the group, exposing the blatant inconsistencies in the Swift
Boat Vets' statements. (Print it out and share it with everyone
For example, in the now-infamous ad George Elliott says, "John
Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."
But in 1996 Elliott said, "The fact that he chased an armed
enemy down is not something to be looked down upon, but it was an
act of courage. And the whole outfit served with honor." Also
in the ad, Roy F. Hoffman said, "John Kerry has not been honest."
But in 2003 Hoffman said of Kerry's Silver Star-winning action,
"It took guts, and I admire that." And Adrian L. Lonsdale
says in the ad, "He lacks the capacity to lead." But in
1996 he spoke of the "bravado and courage of the young officers
that ran the Swift Boats" and said, "Senator Kerry was
no exception. He was among the finest of those Swift Boat drivers."
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Sounds more like Republican-backed
Swift Boat Flip-Floppers for Rove.
Indeed, the Times also documented the connections between
Karl Rove and the Republican backers of the Swift Boat group - but
that certainly wasn't going to stop them. The Swift Boat Veterans
released a new
ad last week criticizing John Kerry's 1971 Congressional testimony
- and here's where things get really interesting.
Late last week, blogger Digby
discovered that Kenneth Cordier, one of the Swift Boat Veterans
appearing in the new ad, was not only not a Swift Boat Veteran,
but a former
vice-chair of Veterans for Bush/Cheney - and a current
advisor to Veterans
for Bush/Cheney '04.
Don't look too hard for Cordier's name at that link though. It
seems that sometime between August 2 and August 19 - when Digby
discovered Cordier's link to Bush in Google's cache - the Bush campaign
scrubbed his name from their official website.
The Google cache
of the Bush campaign website clearly showed Cordier's name listed
on the page - at least it did until Saturday evening at 5:19 PM
when the cache was mysteriously updated. I say mysteriously because
screenshot, taken just two hours earlier, clearly shows that
the cache hadn't been updated since August 2 - and Cordier's name
is sitting right there.
Then, late on Saturday evening, Cordier quit the Bush campaign.
"A volunteer adviser has quit President Bush's re-election
campaign after appearing in a veterans group's television commercial
blasting Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's involvement
in the Vietnam-era antiwar movement. A Bush campaign statement said
it did not know that retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier had appeared
in an ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," CNN reported.
Oh really? Then I wonder why they felt the need to remove his name
from their website sometime earlier in the month?
If anyone truly believes that the Bush campaign was not coordinating
with the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth," they must need
their heads examined. The Kerry campaign released an Internet ad
Tricks" last week which simply featured a clip from a 2000
Republican primary debate between John McCain and George W. Bush
where - coincidence of coincidences - Bush refused to denounce a
"fringe" veterans group that was attacking McCain's service
in Vietnam. Sound familiar?
The simple fact is that George W. Bush - who avoided service in
Vietnam - has made a habit of using so-called "independent"
groups to besmirch the records of real war heroes. CBS reported
in May that the "The [May 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth]
press conference was set up by the same people who tried to discredit
John McCain when McCain faced George W. Bush for the Republican
nomination in 2000." And in 2002, war hero and triple amputee
Max Cleland was compared to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein by
another "independent" group, without
a word of complaint from his Republican opponent. (Ann Coulter
continued to smear
Cleland for the GOP through 2004.)
On Saturday, John Edwards challenged
the Bush campaign - again - to denounce the ad. "This is a
moment of truth for George W. Bush," he said. "We're going
to see what kind of man he is."
Let's face it - those of us who have been closely following Bush's
actions for the last three and a half years have known for some
time what kind of man he is. Perhaps Team Bush's current sewer-level
campaign will finally let the rest of the country know what "honor
and integrity" means to Our Great Leader.
Okay, since Democrats actually care about not impugning the wartime
actions of decorated veterans, let me just make it clear that I'm
not going to criticize Larry Thurlow - one of the Swift Boat Veterans
for "Truth" - for his service in Vietnam. However, I am
going to criticize him for being a liar, a charlatan, a Bush
stooge, and a contemptible human being. Thurlow appeared on Hardball
with Chris Matthews last week and laid some devastating charges
against John Kerry, the most ridiculous of which being that Kerry
had a "master plan" during Vietnam. A plan to do what?
to Thurlow, Kerry "engineered three Purple Heart incidences"
because "he had a plan that included not only being a war hero
but getting an early out." But when Matthews asked if Thurlow
could prove that Kerry had a plan to, uh, injure himself, he responded,
"Of course, I couldn't." In other words, Kerry's "master
plan" is nothing but Thurlow's opinion. And here's the funny
thing about Thurlow's opinion - it frequently seems to have a problem
tying in with the facts. He has consistently and strongly accused
Kerry of falsely earning the Bronze Star, claiming that Kerry was
not under fire when he rescued Jim Rassmann. How does Thurlow know
this? Because he was skippering a boat alongside Kerry as part of
a five-boat flotilla when the incident occurred. But Thurlow's own
military records, obtained
last week by the Washington Post, show that Thurlow won
his own Bronze Star during that very same firefight, and
the citation says that "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire"
were directed at "all units" of the flotilla. Yes, Larry Thurlow
won the Bronze Star - which makes him a bona fide war hero, and
we can all respect that. It's a shame he's also a despicable, fraudulent
Michelle Malkin, "journalist" and author of In Defense
of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and
the War on Terror (believe it or not), also appeared on Hardball
last week to prop up Thurlow's claims - and made herself look like
a total buffoon. Malkin tried to float Thurlow's "master plan"
theory into the mainstream by suggesting that "some people"
are saying John Kerry shot himself in order to get a Purple Heart.
Okay, let's backtrack for a moment shall we? A man volunteers for
extremely dangerous Swift Boat duty, estimated
to have a 75% casualty rate. While performing this duty, he wins
the Bronze Star and the Silver Star for bravery in combat. He is
widely reported to have been a relentless and courageous captain.
Oh, and he decided to shoot himself in the middle of a firefight
because he figured it would look good if he ever decided to run
for president 35 years later. Give me a break! Fortunately Matthews
decided that he wasn't going to let Malkin get away with her "some
people" chicanery and asked her point blank whether she believed
Kerry shot himself. Guess what? She wouldn't give him a straight
answer. And that's how they do it, folks. Get "some people"
to make wild, outrageous and false claims about John Kerry, and
then get a more legitimate, media-friendly "journalist"
to report what "some people" are saying. Kudos to Chris
Matthews for not letting Malkin get away with it this time. (Video
So, while he's not clandestinely backing shadowy smear groups, how
is Our Great Leader doing running the country? If the recent meteoric
rises in oil prices are anything to go by, not very well. According
to the AFP, "World oil prices could sally past 50 dollars
a barrel and hold at high levels for the foreseeable future on a
combination of tight, unstable supplies and rising demand, notably
from Asia." Hmm... unstable supplies. I wonder why that could
be? Of course, George doesn't seem too concerned about the price
of oil right now since he's kinda busy slandering John Kerry. But
it might be worth taking a look at what Bush said back
in 2000 when he criticized Bill Clinton for not being tough
enough on oil producers. "I think the President ought to get
on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say: 'We expect you to open
your spigots.' The President of the United States must jawbone OPEC
members to lower the price," said candidate Bush. It's probably
worth pointing out that while Dubya was talking tough about OPEC
and bashing Clinton for high gas prices, oil prices were $28
a barrel. Four years of Bush, and oil is now almost $50 a barrel.
Now that's the kind of leadership that surely deserves reelection!
clue that the Republicans are getting increasingly desperate
as election time draws near - they've asked DINO senator Zell Miller
to give the keynote address at their Convention next week. Let's
just get this straight: the Democratic keynote address showcased
Barack Obama, a rising young star of the party and a beacon of hope
for the future. Meanwhile the Republican keynote address is going
to showcase a crusty old Democratic party reject who's on the brink
of retirement and is simply going to use the opportunity to bitch
and moan about how he's the only real Democrat and it's everyone
else who's a traitor (which, let's face it, is pretty all he
ever does these days). Wow, the GOP sure is the party of optimism!
But let's not knock poor old Zell too much. Instead, let's enjoy
the fact that the man giving the keynote address at the Republican
National Convention is a man who has previously
lauded John Kerry as, "one of the nation's authentic heroes"
who has worked to "strengthen our military." Can't argue
Last week we did a little report on one of the recent Team Bush
campaign ads - so what the heck, here's another one. On Friday August
13, the Bush campaign made a lame attempt to cash
in on the popularity of the Olympics by releasing an ad called
"Victory," which showcased the fact that Afghanistan and
Iraq are currently competing in Greece. But not so fast, Team Bush.
It turns out that Iraq's Olympic soccer team isn't too happy about
being the star of George W. Bush's propaganda machine. Sports
last week that, "To a man, members of the Iraqi Olympic delegation
say they are glad that former Olympic committee head Uday Hussein,
who was responsible for the serial torture of Iraqi athletes and
was killed four months after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq
in March 2003, is no longer in power." However... midfielder
Salih Sadir then said, "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to
use us for the presidential campaign. He can find another way to
advertise himself." Another midfielder, Ahmed Manajid, said, "How
will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He
has committed so many crimes." (As it happens, American troops killed
Manajid's cousin recently.) He continued, "If a stranger invades
America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?
Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all
lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq." Meanwhile
Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad said, "My problems are not with the
American people. They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy
everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq.
What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are
shootings on the road?" You know, I have a sneaking feeling that
we won't be seeing these quotes showing up in Bush campaign ads
anytime soon. If that's not enough, according
to the New York Times, "The United States Olympic
Committee has asked the Bush campaign to stop using the Olympic
name in commercials," because, "federal law grants the
U.S.O.C. exclusive rights to the name." Team Bush's response?
Is that the sound of clucking I hear? There's a marked difference
in the campaign styles of George W. Bush and John Kerry, and it's
a difference that makes Our Great Leader out to be, well, a bit
of a chickenshit. It seems that while John Kerry is out and about
holding public rallies in front of thousands of people, George W.
Bush is hiding himself away in smaller venues, ensuring that not
only will he be able to avoid protesters (see Idiots 165),
but he won't even have to face questions from people who are genuinely
curious about what what he might do for them during the next four
years. For example, these
are the kind of "questions" that Bush faced recently at
one of his butt-kissing sessions: "Mr. President, I just want to
say I'm praying for you and God bless you." Follow up question...
"I would just like to say that I agree with this gentleman, that
we should all pray for you." Pretty incisive, huh? Or take this
exchange... QUESTION: "Mr. President, you were a fighter pilot and
you were with the 147th Fighter Wing?" ANSWER: "Yes." QUESTION:
"And flew a very dangerous aircraft, the Delta F102?" ANSWER: "Right,
and I'm still standing." QUESTION: "I want to thank you for serving
our country." Brilliant! Let's do a quick recap...
Bush campaigning in Oregon:
Kerry campaigning in Oregon:
Some say that the Top Ten is not the Top Ten without a prominent
member of the GOP getting into trouble for sexual harassment. So
here it is: a prominent member of the GOP getting into trouble for
sexual harassment! Deal Hudson, an adviser to Team Bush and "leader
of GOP efforts to reach out to Catholics" resigned last week
after it was revealed that he settled an harassment case for $30,000
in 1996. Apparently Hudson developed a relationship in 1994 with
an 18-year-old student (who had been in and out of foster care since
the age of seven), took her under his wing ("He was extremely attentive
and genuinely concerned," she said), got her drunk, and then,
uh, boinked her in his car. It seems that Hudson then begged her
to keep her mouth shut before creating an "'extraordinarily
hostile' classroom environment that 'emotionally devastated' her,"
to the Boston Globe. To be honest though, I really don't
know why Team Bush are letting this guy go - he sounds like he would
be an excellent addition to an administration which bases most of
its policies on fucking the vulnerable.
This item demonstrates that the Republicans aren't just keen to
use despicable campaign tactics against Democrats - they'll happily
use them against one another if the need arises. It was revealed
last week that Colette Rosati, who is running for reelection to
the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 8,
sent a rather dubious email to rally her campaign volunteers. Rosati
is in a three-way race for the seat with Michele Reagan and Royce
Flora. In the email she said that Reagan "is not married and
the other [Flora] is but has no children. Hmm..." Unfortunately
for Rosati, these allusions to homosexuality appear to have backfired.
"Is she trying to refer that Iím a lesbian?" Reagan asked. "My boyfriend
got a kick out of that." Meanwhile, it turns out that Royce
and Ann Flora don't have any children because Ann has had three
miscarriages, cancer and a hysterectomy. "It hits women hard, saying
things like you canít have children," Ann Flora said. "(Rosati)
claims to be a good Christian, yet these are the tactics she stoops
And finally, the hilarious political joke known as Alan Keyes continued
to bear bounteous fruit for pundits and commentators last week.
After previously proving himself to be a first-class hypocrite by
denouncing carpetbagging and then, um, carpetbagging (see Idiots
166) Keyes' latest ploy appears to be to
alienate as many voters as he possibly can. Last week it was the
turn of female voters, who got the Keyes treatment when he compared
women who have had abortions to Islamic fundamentalist terrorists.
Keyes invoked September 11th as part of his anti-abortion comments
at a May 7 speech in Utah, although the comments were only publicized
recently. Also last week, Keyes said he supported reparations which
would be paid by abolishing African-Americans' income tax. But not
payroll taxes, of course - which means that African-Americans who
live in poverty and don't pay income taxes would receive precisely
dick. Funnily enough, the better off you are, the more of a benefit
you would receive from the Great Alan Keyes Reparations Plan. In
fact, the few people who would really benefit from it are
rich African-Americans like, say, Alan Keyes. Hmmm. Oddly enough,
on his TV show in 2002, Keyes suggested
that reparations are an insult, saying "You want to tell me
that what they suffered can actually be repaired with money? You're
going to do the same thing those slaveholders did, put a money price
on something that can't possibly be quantified in that way." So
maybe he hasn't made up his mind yet on this issue. Either that
or he just likes looking like an idiot. See you next week!
The Top Ten Conservative Idiots
list is back on the radio! The Air America Radio Network's
of Fire show is currently broadcasting "Cuckoo Conservatives"
- excerpts from the Top Ten read by 30+ year radio veteran
Dean Randall. Dean has worked in broadcast markets from the
Midwest to the west coast including an overseas hitch in Wellington,
New Zealand, and most of his radio experience was spent as
a morning show personality. He is currently employed by a
local ABC TV affiliate and is active in politics on a local,
state and national basis. Dean says, "My liberal roots went
down and deep early when my father hosted a Minnesota state
DFL rally in 1961. Ever since I have had a keen interest in
politics and the Democratic philosophy and history." You can
drop him a line at DeanRandall1@aol.com.
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