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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 143)
February 16, 2004
Attack Of The Hacks Edition

Now that we're starting to roll downhill towards the presidential election in November, the Right-Wing Media Hacks (1,2,3) are getting the slime machine fully greased up and ready for action. Of course, they still can't answer legitimate questions about where George W. Bush (4) was during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Halliburton's (5) reputation (or what's left of it) is rapidly going down the pan, Antonin Scalia (7) proves that if it walks like a duck... well, you know, and the Bush Administration (8) has a bold new job creation plan. Actually it's not a plan as such - they're just going to pull 2.6 million jobs out of a magic hat. Finally, Bill O'Reilly (10) gets caught out, and takes it like a man. I'm joking of course - he tries to blame somebody else as usual. Don't forget the key!

1Right-Wing Media Hacks, Part One sex partisanship excessive spin
Last week RNC chief Ed Gillespie said that Democrats are mounting the "dirtiest" presidential campaign in history. "We highlight policies, and note Senator Kerry's long Senate record," he mewled. "They accuse the president of desertion." How ironic then that on the same day Mr. Gillespie made his statements, Internet rumor-monger Matt Drudge was smearing turd all over the front page of his website. "CAMPAIGN DRAMA ROCKS DEMOCRATS: KERRY FIGHTS OFF MEDIA PROBE OF RECENT ALLEGED INFIDELITY, RIVALS PREDICT RUIN" screamed the Drudge Report, although further investigation revealed that there wasn't actually a media probe, and nobody had actually predicted John Kerry's ruin (except possibly Wes Clark in a throwaway off-the-record comment, although Clark is clearly so concerned about Kerry's "ruin" that he's endorsing him). The following day, Kerry appeared on Don Imus's show and laughed off the allegations, saying, "Well, there is nothing to report, so there is nothing to talk about. I'm not worried about it. No." Drudge apparently decided that this was an admission of guilt and emblazoned his website with the shocking headline "KERRY ON IMUS: 'THERE'S NOTHING TO REPORT, NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT . . . NO.'" So, uh, I guess that clears that up then. Meanwhile...

2Right-Wing Media Hacks, Part Two just plain evil partisanship excessive spin
...Ann Coulter was out and about disparaging Vietnam war hero and triple-amputee Max Cleland last week. Yes, that's the same Max Cleland the GOP defeated in 2002 by running TV ads comparing him to Osama bin Laden (was that your idea, Mr. Gillespie?). Ann the Man claimed in her recent column that Cleland lost his limbs in a non-combat mission "where he was about to drink beer with friends." She goes on... "He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix... Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam." Yes, lucky Max Cleland! He had three of his limbs blown off! But there's more... "Cleland wore the uniform, he was in Vietnam, and he has shown courage by going on to lead a productive life. But he didn't 'give his limbs for his country,' or leave them 'on the battlefield.' There was no bravery involved in dropping a grenade on himself with no enemy troops in sight." That's odd, Esquire magazine reported in 1999 that he lost his limbs when a grenade accidentally went off as he jumped from a helicopter into a combat zone. And of course, Ann fails to mention that Cleland was awarded the Silver Star for an incident that happened a mere four days earlier. His Silver Star citation says, in part, that despite "heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack Captain Cleland, disregarded his own safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions... Cleland's gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army." So here's the big question - will Ed Gillespie denounce these dirty, gutter-press, veteran-bashing, pant-sniffing Republican campaign tactics? Don't hold your breath!

3Right-Wing Media Hacks, Part Three partisanship partisanship hypocrisy hypocrisy
And while all this is going on, Republicans are desperately trying to suggest that these sewer-level attacks are the fault of the left. On Fox News' "From the Heartland with John Kasich" yesterday, Hugh Hewitt told Kasich that this was going to be the dirtiest political campaign ever - and the Democrats are to blame. He was, of course, referring to the Bush AWOL stories. "I think if you judge by the White House press corps this past week on the president's service in the Air National Guard, which was honorable, about which there was never any doubt that it was honorable, and about which the Manchurian chairman Terry McAuliffe invented a complete lie, they went to town on that for a week so I think it is going to be pretty nasty." Okay, what? There was never any doubt about Bush's Guard service? I guess that's why it's all over the newspapers. But while Kasich gave Hewitt a free pass on this bizarre statement and then went on to defend Bush's record along with Hewitt, his other guest, liberal radio host Mike Malloy, was not so lucky. Kasich was shocked, shocked I tell ya, at a reference on Mike's website to the "Bush Crime Family" (meanwhile, you can check out Rush Limbaugh's website for the latest stories on "Il Duce, Mario the Pious, Warns Dems", "The Mental State of the Democratic Party - They've Gone Off the Deep End" and "While McCain In Hanoi Hilton, Kerry Was In Fonda Funhouse..."). You see, Kasich served as a Republican congressman during Newt Gingrich's reign - a time when gutter politics by the right became a new art form. When Mike brought up Gingrich's word list - a catalog of words and phrases which GOP congressmen were instructed to use to smear their opponents - Kasich pretended to have never heard of it. Then, when Mike talked about the millions of jobs lost under Bush, the lies about the Medicare bill, and Bush's tax cuts for the rich, Kasich referred to his comments as "vitriol." See how that works? Hugh Hewitt can call Terry McAuliffe "the Manchurian chairman" but if Mike Malloy tries to bring up Bush's record since coming into office, it's "vitriol." Finally, after the fair and balanced Kasich personally attacked Malloy by saying "that's probably why you're on satellite radio, because you can't get on regular radio," Malloy understandably walked out. Kasich went on, "I'm glad we lost the guy because I tell you something, on this show, we want to have people come on, we don't want people calling the president criminals, and we don't want our side, the Republican side, I happen to be a Republican and I'm pretty fair on this show, it's fair and balanced, but what I'm going to say is I'm not going to tolerate Republicans calling John Kerry 'traitor' or bad names like that." Hewitt replied, "...nor will you ever hear a responsible Republican do that." Excuse me, I think my brain just exploded.

4George W. Bush cowardice excessive spin hypocrisy covering your ass
Now back to real issues. So where the hell was George W. Bush when he was supposed to be defending the skies of Alabama from the Viet Cong? Waaaah! You can't talk about that! That's dirty politics! Oh yeah? Excuse me, but when the commander-in-chief starts two wars and then swanks around on an aircraft carrier dressed up like a real soldier, I'd like to know just a little bit about his personal history in the armed forces. As it happens, Bush is a big fan of the National Guard. (Perhaps that's why he's shipped all those Guardsmen out to Iraq on year-long deployments.) On Meet the Press last week Bush said, "I would be careful to not denigrate the Guard. It's fine to go after me, which I expect the other side will do. I wouldn't denigrate service to the Guard, though." Look, jackass, the only person denigrating the Guard here is you by not coming clean about how you didn't show up for duty. Soon after that comment, Tim Russert asked Bush "When allegations were made about John McCain or Wesley Clark on their military records, they opened up their entire files. Would you agree to do that?" Bush made the mistake of responding, "Yeah." Whoops! This sent White House staffers scrambling to find anything that could prove Bush was where he was supposed to be in 1972 and 1973. First came the pay stubs, which proved that Bush was at least paid for, um, six days of service in 1972. Although they also showed that he wasn't credited for any service between May through September of that year. Then the White House released a one-page record of a dental exam which apparently proved that Bush was in Alabama on January 6, 1973 (so he at least showed up to get his teeth cleaned then). Finally, on Friday evening - the perfect time to cover up embarrassing news - the Administration released 400 pages of records, which, according to the Washington Post, "while offering nothing further to prove Bush's participation with the Guard in Alabama, provide a number of extraneous personal details about Bush. His tonsils were taken out at age 5 and he had appendicitis at 10. A fatty cyst was removed from his chest in 1960, and he had a hemorrhoid while in the Guard." Fascinating.
The sickest thing about this whole thing - apart from the hemorrhoid - is that Our Great Leader has previously pumped himself up as some kind of war hero, while his minions are now taking pot-shots at real war heroes (just like they did against John McCain in 2000). Here's Bush talking about Vietnam in 1988: "They probably should have called the National Guard up in those days. Maybe we'd have done better in Vietnam." We, Mr. Bush? We?

5Halliburton screwing the poor quid pro quo
It's no surprise that Halliburton are stepping up their PR campaign (funny how that works, isn't it? They take the taxpayer's money, do a shitty job, and then use more of the taxpayer's money to make TV ads telling the taxpayer what a great job they're doing). Yes, it was revealed last week that Halliburton officially "wastes taxpayers' money" according to company whistleblowers. And not just by making god-awful TV commercials either. According to the Associated Press, former Halliburton employee Henry Bunting revealed to a Senate committee that "Top Halliburton officials frequently told employees that high prices charged by vendors were not a problem because the U.S. government would reimburse the costs and then pay the company an additional fee. Higher than necessary prices were paid for ordinary vehicles, leased for $7,500 a month, and for furniture and cellular telephone service. Halliburton tried to keep as many purchase orders as possible below $2,500 so its buyers could avoid the requirement to solicit quotes from more than one vendor. Supervisers provided buyers with a list of preferred Kuwaiti vendors, including companies that charged excessive prices. Buyers were not encouraged to identify alternative vendors." But as if wasting taxpayers' money isn't enough, Halliburton are also alleged to have been trading with the enemy. It was announced last week that "The US Treasury has reopened an investigation into whether Halliburton, the oil services firm once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, broke US laws in its dealings with Iran via a foreign subsidiary." My, my. On a side note, it was reported last week by the GAO that "A total of $3 billion in unpaid taxes is owed by more than 27,000 defense contractors." Sounds like these poor guys need another tax break! Oh, won't somebody please think of the multi-national corporations?

6George W. Bush (again) photo-opping photo-opping pandering
Let the battle for the NASCAR dads commence! George W. Bush showed up at the Daytona 500 last week for a little election boost, and he did it in style. According to the New York Times, "On the way in for landing, the president's jet made a low, fast loop above and around the track, which attract thousands of camera flashes. Then his motorcade of a couple dozen vehicles took a loop around the oval, stopping to let the president and Mrs. Bush out on pit row." Jesus, first the guy pretends to be a cowboy, then a fighter pilot, and now he thinks he's a
NASCAR driver. The good news though is that Bush didn't have to dig into his multi-million dollar campaign fund to create this shameless vote-grubbing spectacle. You see, according to the St. Petersburg Times, "While a presidential visit to an important swing state in an election year has all the earmarks of a campaign visit, this is being billed as an official visit, with taxpayers picking up the tab." That's right, folks - Bush gets to play race cars and mug for the cameras, and we get to pay for it.

7Antonin Scalia quid pro quo hypocrisy
The ongoing tale of Antonin Scalia and Dick Cheney's unethical duck hunting trip (see Idiots passim) took a bizarre turn last week when Scalia defended himself against accusations of cronyism. "This was a government issue," said he. "It's acceptable practice to socialize with executive branch officials when there are not personal claims against them. That's all I'm going to say for now. Quack, quack." Quack quack? Uh, all I'm going to say for now is it looks like we've either got a Supreme Court Justice who thinks he's a duck, or a Supreme Court Justice who thinks that it's funny to go on a buddy-buddy hunting trip with someone whose case you're about to decide. Either way, Scalia needs to "duck" this decision. Quack, quack, my butt.

8The Bush Administration fiscal irresponsibility excessive spin excessive spin
Good times are here again! The Bush adminstration announced last week that they would create a staggering 2.6 million jobs this year - that's 220,000 new jobs a month. Are you ready for full employment?! They got off to a great start, creating 112,000 jobs in January. Wait, that's 108,000 off their projections. Don't worry though - Our Great Leader has a fabulous plan for creating more jobs in America. We're going to send more jobs overseas! According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bush adminstration reckons that, "The movement of American factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time." O-o-o-kay. You can expect these recent predictions to go down about as well as the last lot - in 2003 the administration predicted a gain of 1.7 million new jobs (they lost 439,000), and in 2002 they predicted they would lose 100,000 jobs (they lost 1.45 million). You know what I think we need? More tax cuts for the rich.

9 Henry S. Rowen warmongering covering your ass
We noted last week that Our Great Leader was finally appointing a commission to investigate intelligence failures leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Well this week he finished, and you'll be pleased to know that the last person he picked is a founding member of the Project for the New American Century. That's right, Henry S. Rowen, an assistant defense secretary from 1989 to 1991, is also a signatory of PNAC's Statement of Principles. PNAC, of course, is the group which persuaded Bush to go into Iraq in the first place (after conveniently getting their "new Pearl Harbor" of course). Fox, meet henhouse. We trust you'll take good care of the place.

10Bill O'Reilly excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin flip-flopping
And finally: Bill's such a big man - after months of silence in which he refused to acknowledge his promise to apologize to America and never trust Bush again if WMDs were not found in Iraq, he finally broke down on Good Morning America last week. O'Reilly was cornered by GMA anchor Charles Gibson who played a tape of Bill's promise, and that was that. "Well, my analysis was wrong and I'm sorry," said he. "I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I was at the time." Ha ha! Of course, this "apology" was strictly for the GMA cameras, because O'Reilly was spinning like a top the very next day on his show. "I go on 'Good Morning America' yesterday and say that I'm personally sorry my analysis on WMDs before the war was wrong and I'm angry about the CIA mistake. I mean, any honest commentator would say that, but the left-wing press sees my admission as some kind of liberal policy vindication and is using my words to hammer the president. Well, that's dishonest. I still believe removing Saddam was the right thing to do and that history will prove it. And there's also the possibility that WMDs will be found, so I might have to apologize for my apology. I don't mind. I still hope they find WMDs. But at this point, President Bush should retire George Tenet, the CIA chief... I don't think President Bush lied about WMDs, but he should be stronger in fixing U.S. intelligence. That's the bottom line here. My mistake was not being skeptical enough about the CIA's reporting on WMDs." So I guess when Bill said he'd never trust Bush again he was just talking out of his fat ass. See you next week!

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