The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 148)
March 22, 2004
Wrong Answer, Do It Again Edition
Welcome once again to the wonderful world of conservative idiocy. This week we have a whole stableful of asses, beginning with George W. Bush (1) and Donald Rumsfeld (2,3) who have been firmly leading us away from the war on terror. But they're not just misleading everyone on foreign policy - Team Bush (4) and the Bush Administration (10) are doing a fine job of keeping the blinders on at home too. Elsewhere, Dennis Hastert and Henry Hyde (5) and Paul Wolfowitz (6) are showing us what they really think about democracy, Rhea County, Tennessee, Commissioners (7) want to ban gays, and traditional marriage is coming under attack from, um, the Christian Coalition (8). Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!
If you need any more evidence that the Bush Administration was looking for any excuse to go to war against Iraq, here it is. Appearing on the CBS News program "60 minutes," Richard Clarke, the former top anti-terrorism advisor to George W. Bush, said that on September 11, 2001, "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.'" After Clarke explained that the government had already looked into it and found no conection to Iraq, Dubya responded (as only Dubya could), "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection." Clarke got the very clear impression that Bush was trying to intimdiate Clarke into giving the answer which Bush wanted to hear. So, the FBI and the CIA got together and wrote a report which basically stated that Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attacks. When it was sent to the National Security Advisor, Clarke says that the report "got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'" Of course, this revelation should come as no surprise to any non-biased observer with an ounce of sense. Anyone can see that Bush would have given his left testicle for an excuse to attack Iraq. 3,000 Americans were killed in cold blood, and this sick bastard uses it as an opportunity to settle a score for his daddy, using totally fabricated evidence. Disgusting.
But of course, Bush wasn't the only person responsible for this disaster. The "60 minutes" interview with Richard Clarke showed that Donald Rumsfeld was probably even more jazzed about attacking Iraq than his boss was. According to Clarke, on the day after 9/11 Rumsfeld was arguing that the U.S. needed to attack Iraq. The intelligence community, of course, explained that al Qaeda was in Afghanistan, not Iraq. To which Rumsfeld responded with perhaps the single most idiotic justification ever for attacking another country: He said that there weren't any good targets in Afghanistan, but there are lots of good targets in Iraq. What the hell? So now the United States of America invades other countries because they've got lots of good targets? These people are sick, sick, sick!
Fortunately, Don ended up looking quite the ass last week when MoveOn.org released a video of his lying, hypocritical performance on Face The Nation. See, for a while now the Bushies have been trying to push the idea that nobody used the phrase "immediate threat" in reference to Iraq - and they seem to have started believing their own lies. Said Rumsfeld on FTN: "You and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase 'immediate threat.' I didn't... and it's become kind of folklore that that's what happened." Oh really? Team Bush seems to specialize in folklore and rewriting history - but Thomas Friedman called them on it this time, reading a direct quote from Rumsfeld himself, made on September 18, 2002: "Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so sure." Responded Rumsfeld, "Well, I've tried to be precise and I've tried to be accurate..." Yeah, right. Obviously you haven't been trying very hard, Don. But if that quote wasn't quite incriminating enough, Friedman immediately presented Rumsfeld with more of his own words, also from September 18, 2002: "No terror state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein." For a good laugh (followed, unfortunately, by a sinking feeling of utter disgust at the brazen lies of the Bush administration) check out the video. The look on Rumsfeld's face is priceless.
We all know how much George W. Bush wants to spread democracy around the world. Unless of course it's a "bad democracy" like Haiti, or a "good dictatorship" like Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia. But believe it or not, it seems that Bush also believes in turning a blind eye to democracy if it means he can get a good deal on some cheap sweaters. Back in July of 2003, Bush signed a bill and issued an executive order which would ban the import of products from Myanmar, aka Burma, in order to punish the country's military leadership for cracking down on pro-democracy movements. "By denying these rulers the hard currency they use to fund their repression, we are providing strong incentives for democratic change and human rights in Burma," said Bush. Oh yeah? It was discovered last week that Our Great Leader has been flogging campaign clothing on his website with a rather revealing tag attached - "Made in Myanmar." But as usual, the Responsibility President has placed the blame squarely on someone else, this time the company that shipped the pullovers, Spalding Group of Louisville, Kentucky. I mean, come on. Clearly, it was not the Bush campaign's fault. How were they to know that they were selling illegally imported "Bush-Cheney '04" clothing thus propping up a freedom-hating dictatorship? Well, yes, okay. They could have read the labels.
Hastert and Henry Hyde
It looks like Spain has also joined the list of bad democracies following their general election two days after a series of terrorist bombings which killed more than 200 people in Madrid. The Spanish people chose to oust prime minster (and friend of Bush) José María Aznar, and that did not sit well with some U.S. lawmakers. "Here's a country who stood against terrorism and had a huge terrorist act within their country, and they chose to change their government and to, in a sense, appease terrorists," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert. "The vote in Spain was a great victory for al-Qaida," said Rep. Henry Hyde. What bullshit. The bombings in Spain were a great victory for al-Qaida, the election that followed was a victory for the Spanish people. Tossing around the suggestion that an entire nation are terrorist appeasers because they exercised their democratic rights is throroughly irresponsible - and Hastert and Hyde appear to have overlooked the staggeringly obvious conclusion that the Spanish electorate chose to get rid of the government which failed to protect them from terrorists. Why on earth would they want to re-elect the government which brought al-Qaida to their doorsteps? José María Aznar said that he would protect the Spanish people by dancing to the Bush administration's tune - and he failed spectacularly. Perhaps the new government will do a better job of stopping the killing.
But when it comes to Spain, Hastert and Hyde aren't the only conservatives putting their feet in their mouths - Paul Wolfowitz has been toeing the party line with equally disastrous results. Wolfowitz also thinks that the recent election in Spain is a sign that the Spanish people are in league with al-Qaida, but instead of sneering at their democratic process, he decided to try flattery instead: "The Spaniards are courageous people. I mean, we know it from their whole culture of bullfighting," said he during an interview with PBS last week. Way to stereotype an entire nation, Paul. "This is an ignorant comment," remarked Madrid firefighter Juan Carlos Yunquera. "For a top official, it shows he doesn't know what he's talking about." Said bartender Oliver Iglesias, "We are indeed very brave. But no one here likes the war in Iraq. And there's a big difference between killing a bull and killing a person." You know, I'm so glad that Bush has surrounded himself with highly accomplished foreign policy experts like Paul Wolfowitz. Their experience and class just comes shining through.
County, Tennessee, Commissioners
Do you ever wonder what happened to that county where they held the Scopes "Monkey Trial" back in 1925 to outlaw teaching evolution in schools? Me neither. But nearly 80 years later they're back in the news, and this time they're trying to outlaw gay people. You heard me right. The county commissioners of Rhea County, Tennessee, voted 8-0 last week in favor of charging gays and lesbians with crimes against nature. They also asked the county attorney to find a way to ban homosexuals from living in their county. According to commissioner J.C. Fugate, "We need to keep them out of here." Somehow, I have a feeling that there won't be many gays moving to Rhea county any time soon, but that's just a hunch. After a "wildfire" reaction against the measure, the county commision overturned their decision two days later. Attorney Gary Fritts explained "There has just been so much misunderstanding about this. It was to stop people from coming here and getting married and living in Rhea County." Actually, I don't think there was any misunderstanding at all.
Ammons and Michele Combs
Traditional marriage is under attack! But this time, it's by high-ranking officials in the Christian Coalition. Oh, the irony! Tracy Ammons, the former Senate lobbyist and outreach coordinator of the Christian Coalition of America, and Michele Combs, the organization's vice president for communications, are getting a divorce - and it's a nasty one. Combs has filed hardball civil claims against her husband Ammon unless Ammon will give up custody of their 3 1/2-year-old child. (Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Christian Coalition have something to say about kids needing two parents?) Combs also hired a private investigator to entrap Ammons in an infidelity sting. Meanwhile, Ammons has refused to pay $36,000 in support and legal fees to Combs, and was briefly put in jail. To top it all off, Combs' divorce is being bankrolled by Roberta Combs, the president of the Christian Coalition. And these are the people who are telling the rest of us who we can and cannot marry. I'm guessing that they blame the sucky state of their own marriages on all the loving, committed gay couples out there who want equal rights.
Oh the hypocrisy. According to the Los Angeles Times thirteen Republican members of Congress have written to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asking her to recuse herself from any cases involving abortion. Why? Because she is taking part in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture Series, which is co-sponsored by the NOW legal defense fund, which sometimes files legal briefs before the Supreme Court. "As legislators, we believe your actions call into question your ability to rule with impartiality on any case involving abortion," said the letter. So let me get this straight - Ruth Bader Ginsburg should recuse herself from all abortion cases brought before the high court because she's going to give a few speeches which are being co-sponsored by the National Organization of Women, but Antonin "Quack Quack" Scalia can go on a quiet, private hunting trip with Dick Cheney before he hears a case which could directly affect Cheney's political future (see Idiots passim) - and that's perfectly okay? What rubbish.
And finally, here's another one for the "they'll do anything to win the election" file. We noted last week that Bush's top man on Medicare was warned he would be fired if he revealed how much the recently passed White House-backed Medicare bill would really cost - it turned out that the Bush administration knew all along that the bill would cost up to $150 billion more than lawmakers thought it would, but they kept quiet until the bill was passed. Anyway, it was revealed last week that the Bush administration recently produced a series of phony news reports lauding the bill, which were distributed to news stations who broadcast them as if they were real. Yup, the "honesty and integrity" administration used taxpayer money to create these "video news releases" which come complete with shots of Bush getting a standing ovation before signing the Medicare bill, "interviews" with HHS Tommy Thompson (reading off cue cards), a fake pharmacist agreeing with a fake customer that the new law sounds like a "very good idea," and paid actors playing the part of journalists. TV stations in several states then broadcast the segments as part of their regular news programming, their viewers completely unaware that they were watching government-produced propaganda. Mind you, what better way for a phony president to promote a phony bill than with a series of phony news reports? I guess 1984 was a good year for Republicans. See you next week!