The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
November 1, 2004
Crawford Calling Edition
This week, it just couldn't be done. I sat down to start writing
the Top Ten as usual, and realized that it was simply impossible.
Too much stuff had happened in the last week to squeeze into ten
So for the final Top Ten before the election, things are a little
different. Below you'll still find the most egregious examples of
conservative behavior from last week, but not in any particular
Tomorrow we go to the polls. The failures of this administration
are dismal and far-reaching, and Bush's effect on America and the
world over the last four years has been nothing short of disastrous.
You probably don't need me to tell you that. But if you need a last
minute reminder, read on. And remember - everything documented below
happened in the last seven days.
Repeat After Me: We're Safer Than Ever,
And We're All Going To Die
There was never really any doubt that Osama bin Laden would show
up before the election - the only real question was how.
Would there be another terror attack? Would Bush drag him out in
chains and parade him before the cameras? The answer was revealed
last week when a new video tape made by bin Laden was broadcast
on Al Jazeera television. Despite the pundits' analyses, the content
of the tape was largely irrelevant - after all, who would believe
anything that comes out of the mouth of the most wanted man in the
world, an acknowledged mass murderer? What grabbed America's attention
was simply the appearance of such a tape and what it would mean
for the upcoming election.
One of John Kerry's most important campaign messages, a message
that he hammered home time and again during the debates, was that
by invading Iraq, George W. Bush weakened the war on terrorism
- that Bush let bin Laden escape through the mountains of Tora Bora
and instead focused everyone's attention on the far-less-important
Saddam Hussein. The appearance of a new tape by bin Laden certainly
served to make Kerry's point.
Bush, on the other hand, had been trying to spread the mixed message
that America Is More Secure (And We're Going To Get Attacked Again).
Essentially his entire campaign has been based on this strangely
passive-aggressive concept - that Americans should be living in
fear of massive terrorist strikes while simultaneously embracing
the suggestion that invading Iraq made us safer. To this end, Bush
insists that only by staying the course under his strong steady
leadership can we ensure that there will never be another 9/11.
That's all bullshit,
But when has bullshit ever stopped the Bush administration?
FLIP: For example, last week it was revealed that a Bush
political appointee in the Customs and Border Protection bureau
formulated a strategy intended to "change perception"
about America's security by "repeating the message, in the
weeks leading up to the presidential election, that America is safer."
The purpose of the "90 Day Strategy" was to "maximize
the media" and "brand the Border Protection bureau as
a model of counterterrorism operations." "Repeat the message.
Repeat until we are completely exhausted by it," said the strategy,
conjuring up images of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
FLOP: Contrast that with Dick Cheney's current job, which
is scaring the shit out of the American people. On the campaign
trail last week he
said, "terrorists will grow only more determined... and
the risk will increase that they'll get their hands on deadlier
weapons than anything we've seen yet." Since Homeland Security
quashed the Border Protection bureau's strategy, can we assume Cheney's
message of fear is the one the Bush campaign prefers?
FLIP: Don't assume anything. At a campaign event in Florida
last week George W. Bush told
his followers, "don't overlook discerning Democrats - people
like Senator Zell Miller. When you get them headed to the polls,
remind them, if they want a safer America, a stronger America, and
a better America, to put me and Dick Cheney back in office."
FLOP: Bush changed
his mind in Michigan though, telling supporters, "Americans
go to the polls at a time of ongoing threats unlike any we have
faced before." And there was Cheney again, this time in Pennsylvania,
saying, "We've all seen in the last day or two the tape of
Osama bin Laden now. It's a reminder we are engaged in a global
war on terror."
So what's the consensus? Well, Bush said
in a recent interview that "Whether or not we can be ever fully
safe is up - you know, is up in the air." Jeez, I thought Kerry
was supposed to be the wobbly one.
Okay, back to the video. Other members of Bush's Jekyll-and-Hyde
campaign were positively
gleeful that bin Laden was still alive, well, and threatening
America. The New York Daily News reported that a senior GOP
strategist called the tape "a little gift," and said "anything
that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."
Even John McCain was eager to get
in on the act. "It's very helpful to the president,"
he said. Pardon me while I vomit.
And of course, cable news talking heads were more
than happy to spread the idea that bin Laden's tape spelled
good news for Bush. Rather than comment on the truth - that is,
that Bush ignored al Qaeda until 9/11, then promised to get bin
Laden "dead or alive," then said "I'm honestly not
that concerned about him," then forgot all about him until
this latest appearance - they decided to buy into the ridiculous
spin that bin Laden wants to elect Kerry. Take this
exchange between Alan Colmes and Neil Cavuto on Fox News, for
COLMES: "It's not like he (Osama bin Laden) had a Kerry-Edwards
bumper sticker in his cave."
CAVUTO: "But he's all but doing that, isn't he? I thought
I saw a button."
Meanwhile FBI and Homeland Security officials were passing around
a memo which noted,
"we cannot discount the possibility that the video may be intended
to promote violence or serve as a signal for an attack" - an
attack which would, presumably, be yet more proof that America is
safer under George W. Bush.
George W. Bush had to stop using "Still the
One" as his campaign song after the song's
composer John Hall protested
its use and then endorsed John Kerry for president.
By the way, if you're wondering what Bush is doing about the reappearance
of Osama, you'll be pleased to know that on
Saturday he "held a videoconference call with national
security adviser Condoleezza Rice and the heads of the CIA , FBI
and departments of Justice and Homeland Security," and "directed
them to make sure all action is being taken in regards to the tape."
And if the action taken in regards to the tape is anything like
the action taken in regards to September 11, it probably won't be
long before we... well, ignore bin Laden for another few years.
Fun With High Explosives
The fallacy that Bush is making the world safer was graphically
exposed last week when the New York Times reported
that "The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States
and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful
conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile
warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of
Iraq's most sensitive former military installations."
Bad news coming out of Iraq? Surely not.
It's the Iraqi government's fault.
The Bush administration's initial reaction - "it's the Iraqi
government's fault" - was belied by the revelation
that Condi Rice knew about the looting of the Al Qaqaa storage facility
weeks ago... and the subsequent revelation that the International
Atomic Energy Agency specifically
warned U.S. officials in 2003 that this would happen.
It wasn't long before the Kerry campaign was on the offensive over
this latest Bush blunder; they quickly released a statement
saying, "George W. Bush who talks tough and brags about making
America safer has once again failed to deliver. After being warned
about the danger of major stockpiles of explosives in Iraq, this
administration failed to guard those stockpiles where nearly
380 tons of highly explosive weapons were kept. Today we learned
that these explosives are missing, unaccounted for and could be
in the hands of terrorists."
not a big deal.
On the defensive, the administration's second reaction was to play
down the news. Scott McClellan insisted
that this was nothing but "some looting that went on in Iraq
toward the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or during and toward
the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom."
You'll remember this line of thinking from Don Rumsfeld's underwhelming
to Iraqi looting back in - you guessed it, April 2003 - that freedom
is "untidy" and "stuff happens."
Dick Cheney weighed in with the comment that Kerry's accusations
were "just dead wrong ... just plain wrong on the facts."
Cheney had to later back
down from his statement when it was discovered that Kerry was
actually dead right.
Stop blaming the troops.
Meanwhile, Bush tried a different line of attack. "Senator
Kerry this week seemed shocked to learn that Iraq was a dangerous
place full of dangerous weapons," said
he. "But after all, that's why we're there." (Oh,
really? I thought that excuse went out the window last year.)
"Iraq was a dangerous place run by a dangerous tyrant who had
a lot of weapons ... The senator is denigrating the action of our
troops and commanders in the field without knowing the facts. Unfortunately,
that's part of the pattern of saying anything to get elected."
Did ya hear that? Somehow, by accusing George Bush of failing to
come up with an adequate post-war plan, John Kerry is blaming the
troops! Interesting non-sequiter.
Incidentally, someone was blaming the troops last week.
Rudolph Giuliani appeared on NBC's "Today" show and attempted
the president's ass, saying "No matter how you try to blame
it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would
be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough?
Didn't they search carefully enough?"
Giuliani magically turned this monstrous gaffe around though, responding
to criticism by saying, "We don't need someone who voted
against funding our troops during war to take my remarks out of
context." He completed the remarkable recovery at a rally soon
afterwards, saying, "It's John Kerry who is attacking our
troops, not George Bush, not me," adding, "Up is down,
white is black, you know the drill."
explosives were already gone.
After successfully navigating Rudy Giuliani's ridiculous statements,
Team Bush came up with a fresh
excuse - suggesting the explosives had been looted before
the invasion. The Pentagon released a single satellite photo
supposedly showing two trucks parked outside a bunker at Al Qaqaa.
This would have been a great excuse, if only GlobalSecurity.org
hadn't realized that "a comparison of features in the DoD-released
imagery with available commercial satellite imagery, combined with
the use of an IAEA map showing the location of bunkers used to store
the HMX explosives, reveals that the trucks pictured on the DoD
image are not at any of the nine bunkers identified by the IAEA
as containing the missing explosive stockpiles."
Moonie Times to the rescue! An exclusive
report by Bill Gertz revealed what should have been immediately
obvious to everyone from the beginning: "Russian special forces
troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods
out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S.
military operation," and, "almost certainly removed the
high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility."
Sure they did.
Unfortunately for the Bush administration, not even the Moonie
Times could save the day. Amidst all the talk of trucks and
satellite photos and Russian special ops, a video by KSTP reporters
who were embedded with the 101st Airborne Division showed beyond
a shadow of a doubt that the explosives were indeed still at
Al Qaqaa on April 18 - a week after the fall of Baghdad. The explosives
were identified by IAEA seals which were still
Plus, an NBC correspondent who was also embedded with troops confirmed
that Al Qaqaa "was more of a pit stop there for us. And, you
know, the searching, I mean certainly some of the soldiers head
off on their own, looked through the bunkers just to look at the
vast amount of ordnance lying around. But as far as we could tell,
there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters
Not to mention the report
of "A French journalist who visited the Qaqaa munitions depot
south of Baghdad in November last year." The journalist "said
she witnessed Islamic insurgents looting vast supplies of explosives
more than six months after the demise of Saddam Hussein's regime."
"I was utterly stupefied to see that a place like that was
pretty much unguarded and that insurgents could help themselves
for months on end," she said last week.
We also probably shouldn't discount the story
of a Pentagon official whose job is to monitor developments in Iraq:
"U.S.-led coalition troops had searched Al Qaqaa in the immediate
aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives
were intact. Thereafter the site was not secured by U.S. forces,
the official said."
Oh, and it was also revealed
that immediately after the invasion, "United Nations weapons
inspectors pressed for permission to return to Iraq to help monitor
weapons sites on the heels of the US-led invasion but were denied
entry by the US-led coalition, according to a former inspector,
UN officials, and a letter from the International Atomic Energy
In related news, "Six months after the fall of Baghdad, a
vast Iraqi weapons depot with tens of thousands of artillery rounds
and other explosives" - not Al Qaqaa, another weapons
depot called Ukhaider - "remained unguarded, according to two
U.S. aid workers who say they reported looting of the site to U.S.
Military officials." One of the aid workers said,
"We were outraged. There's no question in my mind that the
stuff in Ukhaider was used by terrorists."
just make up some shit and try to confuse everyone.
This was not looking good for Bush. Desperate to find somewhere
to hide the buck, the Pentagon wheeled out Maj. Austin Pearson,
his team "removed 250 tons of TNT, plastic explosives, detonation
cords, and white phosphorous rounds on April 13, 2003 - 10 days
after U.S. Forces first reached the Al Qaqaa site."
Unfortunately "those 250 tons were not located under the seal
of the International Atomic Energy Agency - as the missing high-grade
explosives had been - and Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita could
not definitely say whether they were part of the missing 377 tons."
So that clears the whole thing up.
The Bush administration most certainly did not screw up
by allowing weapons depots to be looted, their insistence that the
only possible outcome of the invasion would be Iraqis throwing flowers
at the feet of our soldiers was not braindead optimism, and
George W. Bush's strong steady leadership is definitely making
the world safer.
video of George W. Bush mysteriously appeared. Here's
the leader of the free world:
They'll Say Anything
One of Bush's favorite applause lines on the campaign trail has
one: "Senator Kerry would say anything to get elected."
Considering everything you've read so far, I'd hope you'd agree
that Bush's statement is gross hypocrisy.
But just in case, let's take a look at some more examples of George
W. Bush and crew saying anything to get elected.
Dick is the king of "saying anything." Earlier in the
week he told
supporters in New Mexico that, "if John Kerry had been
in charge, maybe the Soviet Union would still be in business."
Later, in Pennsylvania, he told
a crowd of supporters that the wars in "Afghanistan and Iraq
will be studied for years for their brilliance." Yes, and that'll
probably happen about the same time Carrot Top wins the Nobel Prize
the first time Dick has called the Iraq war a success, of course
- although I'm not sure how that squares with the deaths of 100,000
to 200,000 Iraqi civilians, a number estimated
last week by the esteemed British medical journal, The Lancet.
"The majority of these deaths, which are in addition those
normally expected from natural causes, illness and accidents, have
been among women and children," said the report, and "The
most common cause of death is as a direct result of violence, mostly
caused by coalition air strikes."
Our old friend Rush was on top of his game last week, putting the
responsibility for the missing Al Qaqaa explosives squarely at the
feet of... John Kerry? "Kerry's UN Screwed Up Al-Qaqaa,"
read the headline on his website.
Rush also managed to throw in this helpful piece of information:
"We have basically an endorsement of Senator Kerry from insurgent
terrorists in Iraq. I'm not making this up." Sure thing, Rush.
Perish the thought that you would make anything up.
Limbaugh, meanwhile, has his own
ideas for victory in Iraq. "I'm talking about we are going
to have to exercise some very, very brutal, take some very, very
brutal military steps," he said. "We're going to have
to maybe use more than just conventional weapons on these people.
You know, it's like trying to wipe out cockroaches with Raid. That's
not strong enough."
After hearing Limbaugh's remarks, the "Reverend" Falwell
must have wondered, "What Would Jesus Do?" The conclusion
he came to on CNN was that we need to "blow them all away
in the name of the Lord."
Team Bush was forced to re-edit a campaign commercial last week
when it was revealed
that it contained a still photo which had been doctored. An enterprising
graphic designer had copied-and-pasted a group of soldiers in a
crowd shot to make it look like there were more than there actually
were. Mark McKinnon, head of Bush's advertising team, said, "There
was no intention on anybody's part to try to represent anything
that wasn't true." The ad was amusingly entitled, "Whatever
it Takes." Whatever it takes, indeed.
The Florida Leadership Council
The Florida Leadership Council, led by top Florida Republicans,
sent campaign fliers to thousands of voters which claimed that the
consequences of a John Kerry presidency "are too frightening
... to imagine." According
to the Associated Press, the flier "includes a fragment
of a fake news story datelined from 'FLORIDA RED ZONE' and dated
Aug. 14, 2007. In the story, President Kerry warns parents and children
that they'll have to wear radiation and chemical protective gear
'for the foreseeable future' because of a dirty bomb terrorist attack."
Perhaps deciding this wasn't offensive enough, the Florida Leadership
Council also sent out fliers featuring photos of Osama Bin Laden,
John Kerry, and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Betty Castor,
which read, "So who would Bin Laden prefer? Think about it."
Jim Bunning's Stooges
Kentucky State Senate President David Williams and state Sen. Elizabeth
that Democratic Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo is gay - Williams
called him "limp-wristed" and a "switch-hitter."
Tori said, she wonders if "the word 'man' applies to him."
Mongiardo is running against Sen. Jim Bunning, who has previously
accused Mongiardo of looking like one of Saddam Hussein's sons.
Williams insisted that "limp-wristed" is "not a
sexual slur," and then tried to use his own homophobia to attack
Democrats. "I don't understand the Democrats on this one,"
he said. "I'm not saying anything about anyone's sexual orientation.
But if I were - are they saying that's pejorative, that it's bad
to be homosexual? I don't think they would say that, but how can
they have it both ways?" What a nutjob.
Tori, for her part, said if people thought she was referring to
his sexuality, "so be it."
Block The Vote
Suddenly realizing that this election could be decided by the size
of the turnout, Republicans have been doing everything in their
power to fulfill their patriotic duty and stop people from voting.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights eventually had to hold
conference demanding that RNC chairman Ed Gillespie tell his
minions to stop trying to suppress the vote in minority communities.
Following is just a sample of GOP dirty tricks reported in the
Look out! Florida's Republican Party is going to use a felon purge
list "so flawed that state election officials were forced to
scrap it in July." According
to the Herald-Tribune, "Party officials revealed
Thursday that they may pick up where the state left off, using their
power on Election Day to challenge individual voters whose names
appear on the list."
A rural Georgia county summoned
95 Hispanics - three quarters of the county's Hispanic voters -
to court last week to defend their right to vote after a complaint
was filed suggesting they may not be eligible. "They asked for all
Hispanics," said the county's chief registrar. "They did
not say just Hispanics who had registered for the election in July.
Some of these people have been registered since 1996."
to the LA Times, "Tyrone Mrasek Sr. took a temporary
job late this summer registering voters here [in Las Vegas]. The
employer primarily wanted President Bush supporters, but they were
not easy to find. So Mrasek handed out cigarettes to drunks and
ex-felons at a homeless shelter in exchange for signatures. Later
he found a stack of signed registrations for Democratic voters in
a trash can outside the company's office."
58,000 absentee ballots which were supposed to be mailed to voters
in Broward County vanished
last week. That is all.
Mississippi (yes, Mississippi)
Apparently members of the Mississippi Republican party will be
"present at heavily populated African American and Democratic
voting precincts to challenge
residency, age, and other voting requirements." They must
Four Republicans challenged the registrations of 976 Summit County
voters, who then showed up en masse at the Board of Elections. The
Board voted unanimously to dismiss all 976 challenges, saying the
Republicans had no
proof of impropriety. "Why'd you do it? Who the hell are
you?" a voter shouted at Howard Calhoun, one of the Republicans
who had challenged the registrations. Calhoun, an attorney, replied,
"What the hell do you care?"
Florida (yes, again)
Some disturbing emails were discovered last week after a slew of
documents intended for the Bush campaign ended up in the hands of
parody website GeorgeWBush.org.
The BBC reported on one of the emails which contained a "caging
list" containing the names and addresses of 1,886 voters in
"predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville,
A Republican state campaign spokeswoman said the list was "not
put together in order to create a challenge list," but didn't
say what it would be used for, nor why it was called a "caging
list" in the first place.
West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Oregon
Nathan Sproul of Sproul & Associates, the company which is
alleged to have torn
up Democratic voter registration cards in four states, said
last week,"I take great pride in the fact that the Democrats
are having hysterical fits about how well we did our job."
That's It. That's All
There Is. Get Out There And Vote.
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