The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
October 4, 2004
Top Ten Debate Moments Edition
have a huge list this week which focuses almost entirely
on last week's presidential debate. While expectations were high
for both candidates, nobody quite expected the exquisite thrashing
John Kerry gave George W. Bush for ninety long minutes, and while
post-debate spinners tried their hardest to put lipstick on Bush's
pig of a performance it was quite clear who came out on top. Many
of the links this week are audio clips, so turn your speakers on
(or turn them down if you're at work!), sit back, and enjoy. If
you want to test your system to make sure the audio is working,
click this link first.
Also, if you want to watch the debate video or read the transcript,
you can find them both on the C-SPAN
website. No key this week, just enjoy!
Kerry vs. Baby Bush
The two candidates hadn't even gotten a word out before John Kerry
stamped his mark of authority on the debate. After moderator Jim
Lehrer's introduction, Bush bounded across the stage in an attempt
to "win the stride" - that is, to get into his opponent's
space and intimidate him, as Ronald Reagan did so effectively to
Jimmy Carter in 1980.
Unfortunately it backfired when tiny Bush ran smack into man-mountain
John Kerry, who pulled Bush in close to contrast the height difference
between them. Kerry leaned down to whisper in Bush's ear, leading
to the first great moment of the debate - Bush literally having
to tear his hand out of Kerry's grip before retreating all the way
back across the stage to his podium.
Hilarity ensued as TV cameras put up a split-screen of the two
candidates, artificially raising the height of Bush's podium so
their heads were level. And while Kerry looked like he was standing
behind a podium, Bush unfortunately looked like he was sitting in
a highchair. Check out these two side-by-sides to see how the split
screen should have looked...
TV camera split-screen adjustment
It honestly appeared that George W. Bush's only preparation for
the debate was to repeat the phrase "mixed signals" and
"mixed messages" over and over again in front of a mirror.
Funny thing is, when it came to the crunch he even fucked that
up, at one point accusing Kerry of sending "mexed missages."
The purpose of all this, was, of course, to paint Kerry as indecisive.
See, according to Bush, you can't be a strong leader if for one
second you stop to consider your options. Staying the course is
always preferable to discussing alternatives, even if that course
is leading you towards the edge of a very tall cliff.
In fact, it's absolutely preferable to drive off that cliff - as
long as you're resolute and steadfast while you're doing it. Unfortunately
this gambit failed dismally as Kerry came across far steadier and
stronger during the debate than Bush, who looked wobbly, defensive,
and weak. Oh well.
Missages, Part Two
But let nobody ever accuse Bush of being inflexible! See, while
Kerry maintained strong and consistent positions throughout the
debate, Bush appeared to be making up new policies as he went along.
First, he took on Kerry's suggestion that it would probably help
the United States if the rest of the world thought we were credible.
While rambling on about the International Criminal Court - which
he actually appeared to be quite frightened of - Bush said, "I
just think trying to be popular, kind of, in the global sense, if
it's not in our best interest makes no sense."
This, of course, was after Bush had spent a good portion of time
boasting about the "alliances" that he had put together
with the United Kingdom, Australia, and, uh, that's it. Oh - Poland.
I almost forgot about Poland. So which is it, Mr. President? Making
sure we have strong alliances by ensuring that we remain credible
in the eyes of the world? Or making sure we have strong alliances
by not giving a damn about our credibility? Make your mind up.
But that wasn't all - Bush also insisted that Iraqi president Ayad
Allawi "doesn't want U.S. leadership ... to send mixed signals,
to not stand with the Iraqi people." But then, after yet another
verbal thrashing from Kerry about the perils of blind certainty,
Bush changed his mind. In fact, you might say he... flip-flopped.
"I fully agree that one should shift tactics, and we will,
in Iraq." He said. Oh, we will? Gee, don't tell Ayad Allawi.
He doesn't want U.S. Leadership to send mixed signals.
The debate gave Bush a splendid opportunity to come up with yet
another new excuse for why the war in Iraq is not exactly a success.
And it's a good one! See, apparently we achieved victory too
"Because we achieved such a rapid victory, more of the Saddam
loyalists were around," said
Our Great Leader. "In other words, we thought we'd whip more
of them going in. But because Tommy Franks did such a great job
in planning the operations, we moved rapidly. And a lot of the Ba'athists
and Saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. I thought
we would - they would stay and fight. But they didn't. And now we're
fighting them now."
Now we're fighting them now, indeed. Mind you, it's odd that Bush
thought they would stay and fight, considering that just last week
reported that "Two classified reports prepared for President
Bush two months before the Iraq invasion warned the war could prompt
an insurgency in which rogue elements from Saddam Hussein's government
would work with existing terrorist groups, sources said."
Want more? "The January 2003 reports from the National Intelligence
Council (NIC) said an invasion would increase support for hard-line
politicized Islam and result in a divided Iraqi society prone to
violent conflict, the sources said Tuesday."
Don't blame Bush though. It's not his fault if he didn't
read those reports.
New Leash on Life
"I appreciate enormously the personal comments the president
just made," said John Kerry after Bush grudgingly praised his
character, "And I share them with him. I think only if you're
doing this - and he's done it more than I have in terms of the presidency
- can you begin to get a sense of what it means to your families.
And it's tough. And so I acknowledge that his daughters - I've watched
them. I've chuckled a few times at some of their comments. And..."
Suddenly Bush interrupted, "I'm trying to put a leash on them."
Trying to put a leash on them? That reminds me...
"Well, I know. I've learned not to do that," replied
One of Bush's very last lines of the night was also one of his most
interesting: "We've climbed the mighty mountain. I see the
valley below, and it's a valley of peace." The simplest explanation
for Bush's sudden eloquence can probably be boiled down to: "Hey
world, you listening? We're up here, you're down there. Suck on
But that doesn't sound quite right. A possible suggestion is that
Bush was referring to Martin Luther King's "mountaintop"
speech, where Dr. King said, "I just want to do God's will.
And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over.
And I've seen the promised land." But let's face it, the chances
of Bush deliberately paraphrasing the nation's greatest civil rights
leader are slimmer than a supermodel on a hunger strike.
No, the best guess may be that the mighty mountain Bush was talking
about is the Biblical mountain God took Moses up, just before Moses
picked Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Incidentally,
Joshua was a military leader who kicked a whole lot of nonbeliever
ass, and the book of Joshua is widely cited as a justification for
the Crusades. Oh yes, you know the fundies liked that one!
Them To Justice
In his very first rebuttal, Bush bragged that "the A.Q Khan
network has been brought to justice." For those of you not
familiar with A.Q Khan, he's a Pakistani nuclear physicist who back
in February of this year admitted to exporting nuclear secrets to
Iran, North Korea, and Libya.
Want to know how the Bush administration brought Khan to justice?
Well, after owning up to his crimes, he was pardoned by President
Musharraf. A month later, during a visit to Islamabad, Colin Powell
designated Pakistan a major non-NATO ally - which allows them to
purchase a wide array of U.S. weaponry - and refused to criticize
Musharraf for letting Khan off the hook.
to the New Republic (or see Idiots 163),
because the Bush administration was at the time putting heavy pressure
on Pakistan to capture or kill "High Value Targets" -
Al Qaeda leaders - before the election. Specifically, "it
would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced
on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July."
Those dates, of course, happily coincided with the Democratic National
So now you know how the Bush administration brought A.Q. Khan to
justice - by letting him go free so that the Pakistani government
would announce terrorist captures on dates which were politically
convenient for George W. Bush.
Fortunately, even the Bush administration couldn't be this brazen,
and the plan never came to fruition. Well, unless you count Pakistan's
subsequent capture of a top Al Qaeda terrorist, which just happened
to be announced the day of John Kerry's acceptance speech at the
Convention. But that was probably just a coincidence.
Seven Faces of Bush
Those who watched Bush vs. Kerry on C-SPAN were able to enjoy non-stop
split-screen action for the duration of the debate. This gave viewers
an opportunity to concentrate on the body language of each candidate
while the other was speaking.
While most casual viewers thought that Bush appeared to go from
annoyance to chagrin to peevishness and back to annoyance, experts
have agreed that Bush's facial expressions actually passed through
seven distinct, recognizable changes during the course of the debate.
And thanks to the magic of the Internet, here they are:
Sucking a lemon
Not This Time, Bucko
Of course, the biggest news of the night came when George W. Bush
acknowledged that - hold on to your hats - he knows who attacked
America on 9/11! Of course, he needed a bit of prompting from Senator
Kerry, but there you go.
Ever since 9/11 the Bush administration has done all it can to
confuse the war on terror with the war in Iraq, and Osama bin Laden
with Saddam Hussein. This might have worked on the lazy mainstream
media, who happily drilled it into the minds of the American people
for two years, but it wasn't going to work on John Kerry.
When Jim Lehrer asked Bush about more preemptive military actions,
Bush waffled about Iraq and then foolishly threw in his favorite
piece of campaign spin: "I understand how hard it is to commit
troops. Never wanted to commit troops. When I was running - when
we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I'd be doing that. But the
enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
"Jim, the president just said something extraordinarily revealing
and frankly very important in this debate," responded Kerry.
"In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into
Iraq, he just said, 'The enemy attacked us.' Saddam Hussein didn't
attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaida attacked us. And
when we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora,
1,000 of his cohorts with him in those mountains. With the American
military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best
trained troops in the world to go kill the world's number one criminal
Well, you could have used Bush to clandestinely open an envelope,
he was steaming so much. And when Kerry was done, Bush barged in
for a 30 second rebuttal - his mouth running way, way ahead of his
brain. "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us,"
he fumed. Then,
realizing how ridiculous he sounded, he trailed off with a lame,
"I know that."
I almost felt sorry for the poor guy. It can't be a nice feeling,
having your ass handed to you in front of 60 million people.
Hard With A Vengeance
If there's one thing we found out last Thursday, it's that the presidency
is hard work. So much hard work, in fact, that Bush used
the phrase eleven times during the debate. I guess this must be
why Bush spent 42% of his first eight months in office on vacation
- I mean, he was even on vacation when he got that Presidential
Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in
United States." But, you know, Dubya was clearing brush that
day, and clearing brush is, well, hard work.
It's odd, but from his statements during the debate it almost sounded
like being president is simply too much of a pain in the ass for
George W. Bush. Turning Iraq from a tyranny to a democracy is "hard
work." Training Iraqi troops is "hard work." Having
the FBI director come in his office and talk about security every
morning is "hard work." Climbing the mighty mountain and
seeing the valley below is "hard work." Trying to love
Missy Johnson as best as he can is "hard work."
We get it already! Being president is hard work! You don't have
to keep whining on and on about it! It comes with the territory!
Didn't you realize that it was going to be hard work before you
applied for the job the first time? What, do you want us to
feel sorry for you? Suck
The Best of the Rest
George W. Bush obviously wasn't the only Conservative Idiot of the
Powell was sending mixed messages; Pennsylvania
Republicans were lying their asses off; Team
Bush has outsourced its voter file database; and Jerry
Falwell says that evangelical Christians now control the Republican
party. Hang on, that's not idiocy - he's right.
Blackwell, Ohio's secretary of state, has been trying to suppress
voter registration; Arnold
Schwarzenegger (despite being a smoker himself) has banned smoking
in California's prisons on health grounds (oh well, there's always
Bunning lied about his endorsements, and CNN
and the Miami Herald allowed Republicans to pose as "undecided
voters" during their post-debate coverage.
Elsewhere, Fox News had to pull TWO stories from their website
when they were discovered to be fake - one
story was about a website called "Communists for Kerry"
which is run by Republicans (Fox reported as if it were a real organization),
other was a spoof article by Fox's own Carl Cameron, who simply
invented a bunch of Kerry quotes. Not that anyone cares about holding
Fox News accountable.
While I'm on the subject, anyone in the media who called the debate
a draw can kiss my ass - I mean, come on. These reports of
a "draw" were frequently sitting right
next to voter polls which favored Kerry 80%-20% over Bush.
And finally, (yes, finally!) let's end with some sex. Antonin Scalia
last week that "sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and
ought to be encouraged." So that's what he was doing
in that duck blind with Dick Cheney! 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.
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:
Nominate a Conservative
for Next Week's List