The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 161)
June 28, 2004
"F--- Yourself" Edition
There's an exciting new level of political discourse in town, and it's all thanks to Vice President Dick Cheney! For years, partisan activists such as ourselves have remained on the fringes of legitimate political debate partly due to our use of coarse and colorful language. But now it appears that Dick Cheney has blown down the barriers by dropping an F-bomb on the floor of the Senate. At a photo session last week Crashcart got into a heated debate with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) over the Democrats' investigations into Halliburton war profiteering. When Leahy retorted that Cheney was standing by Republicans who accused Democrats of being anti-Catholic, Cheney replied, "Fuck yourself." Yay! Fuck yourself! Fuck yourself! Go fuck yourself! Thank you, Dick Cheney, for lowering the bar for all of us partisan outsiders. Because if it's okay for the vice president to tell a senator to fuck himself on the floor of the Senate, it should be perfectly okay for a bunch of political hacks on a website to say it. Fuck yourself! (In an added comic twist, I should mention that the incident occurred on the same day the Senate passed the so-called "Defense of Decency" act. Ha ha.)
Who Can't Handle The Truth
Citizens United made the list last week for their appalling anti-Clinton ad which blamed the former president for terrorism. This time, along with Move America Forward (who also made the list last week), they're launching a campaign to get Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 banned from cinemas. Not only that but Citizens United has complained to the FEC in an attempt to get the movie's advertising blocked under campaign finance laws. My, my. They're making an awful lot of fuss over something which they claim is nothing but lies. I mean, if it's such a blatant crock of shit, why don't they want people to go see it? Do they think that people aren't smart enough to make up their own minds, so Citizens United have to do it for them? Sounds to me like exactly the kind of intellectual elitism that Rush Limbaugh bemoans on a daily basis. And clearly the Bush administration has learned from the Richard Clarke incident and was trying to give Fahrenheit 9/11 as little publicity as possible last week - but one or two poisonous comments still oozed from various White House mouthpieces. Take Communications Director Dan Bartlett for example, who said, "I can speak for myself and I can speak for the President, and I can assure you that neither of us have seen ['Fahrenheit']... This is a film that doesn't require us to actually view it to know it's filled with factual inaccuracies." Oh really? What a shame they didn't have the same remarkable foresight when it came to Ahmed Chalabi's information on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Ryan and Friends
Poor Jack Ryan. The Republican running for Senate in Illinois has boldly gone where several other politicians have unfortunately gone before - into the dumpster of history after a sordid sex scandal. His wife, ex-Star Trek actress Jeri Ryan, claimed in divorce papers that Jack had taken her to at least three sex clubs, one "a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling." Sounds like Ken Starr's basement. According to Ryan, her husband "wanted me to have sex with him there, with another couple watching. I refused. [He] asked me to perform a sexual activity upon him, and he specifically asked other people to watch." Jack, for his part, first denied the charges, then came up with a variety of excuses which included blaming the vast left-wing conspiracy, hiding behind his "special needs" son, and - this is my favorite - saying, "I think my character has been proven by this. There's no breaking of any laws. There's no breaking of any marriage laws. There's no breaking of the Ten Commandments anywhere." I guess God forgot to add the one about "Thou Shalt Not Take Thy Wife To Sex Clubs Against Her Will And Then Lie About It When She Brings It Up During Thy Divorce." But whatever - if Jack Ryan wants to risk wining and dining his good lady wife in a BDSM parlor, that's his business. What's surprising, however, is the Clinton-bashing conservatives from Dennis Hastert to Bill O'Reilly who came forward to defend Mr. Ryan's similar sidestepping of the truth. I'm sorry, did I say surprising? I meant "entirely predictable."
When MoveOn.org solicited entries for an anti-Bush ad competition and some random guy submitted an ad which compared Bush to Hitler, the right-wing had an absolute fit. Ed Gillespie called it "the worst and most vile form of political hate speech." Never mind that the ad was created by a private citizen, MoveOn had no intention of using it, and deleted it from their website. But now it seems that Team Bush are - in an extremely sneaky fashion - doing the exact same thing they lambasted MoveOn for doing. The official Bush/Cheney 2004 website put up a web ad last week that used part of the never-screened MoveOn ad in an effort to compare Democrats to Hitler. The ad begins with the teaser, "The Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party" and shows, in sequence, Al Gore, Adolf Hitler, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Dick Gephardt, Adolf Hitler (again), Al Gore (again), and finally, John Kerry. (I guess we can deduce from this that Al Gore is as bad as Hitler, whereas the others are only half as bad.) Presumably Team Bush's excuse is that they are trying to show how mean and nasty MoveOn is. And in that context it's perfectly okay to run an official ad on their official campaign website labeling Hitler as one of the "Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party." Gee, whatever happened to "the worst and most vile form of political hate speech?"
Connecticut governor John Rowland made the Top Ten list six months ago (see Idiots 139) after he came under investigation by federal prosecutors in a freebies-for-favors scandal. Among other things, Rowland had improvements made to his vacation cottage which were paid for by "politically appointed state employees, friends and a state contractor," and subsequently lied about it. The good news is that last week Rowland saw the writing on the wall and resigned before he could be impeached. As well as the improvements to his cottage, the Associated Press reported that "Rowland received cigars, champagne, a vintage Ford Mustang convertible, a canoe and free or discounted vacations from employees and friends - including some with state contracts." And so the once-rising star of the Republican party has sadly come crashing down to earth. After announcing his resignation, Rowland said, "I hope there have been times when I made you all proud." Well, yeah - there was that time you resigned, you corrupt bastard.
It seems that the Senate Republicans are getting a little worried that their boy in the White House might go down hard this November, so they're doing what they can to prop him up. Last week John Kerry was forced to interrupt his campaign and return to Washington in order to cast an important vote on funding health care benefits for veterans. But guess what? As soon as he got there, Republican leaders postponed the vote. Way to play politics with veterans' health care benefits, guys! But this isn't the first time Republicans have played politics with Senate business in an attempt to hobble John Kerry - the Bush Administration bashed the Democratic nominee recently for failing to return to Washington to vote on a proposal to extend unemployment benefits to jobless Americans. The bill missed passage by one vote, which sounds bad - until you learn that according to CNN, "one of the 11 GOP senators who voted for the measure would have switched sides to defeat it if [Kerry] had been there to vote for it." Well, you know what that old conservative maxim says: If you can't beat 'em... cheat 'em.
Not so long ago, Zell Miller proclaimed, "I'm afraid that my old Democratic 'ties that bind' have become unraveled." (That was around the same time he called John Kerry an "out-of-touch ultraliberal from Taxachusetts" by the way.) In fact, it seems that it's Zell-Out's mind that's become unraveled - for some reason he seems to think he can still call himself a Democrat while not only endorsing George W. Bush for president but now also giving a speech at the Republican National Convention. As Bobby Kahn, chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, put it, "Maybe I'll switch to the Republican Party so I can speak at the Democratic Convention and bash Bush. It makes about as much sense." So, to clarify: thus far Zell Miller has endorsed George W. Bush (Idiots 133), written a book slamming Democrats (Idiots 136), started an organization called "Democrats for Bush" dedicated to bashing John Kerry (Idiots 149), wanted to stop the 9/11 investigation because it would "energize our enemies and demoralize our troops" (Idiots 150), and has now announced that he will be speaking at the Republican National Convention. Zell, in the words of our illustrious vice president, fuck yourself.
The Supreme Court bought Dick Cheney some time in a 7-2 ruling last week which prevented the Bush administration from having to release details of Cheney's secret energy task force meetings until after the November election. (Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club are suing the administration for details of the meetings which allegedly involved executives from oil and gas companies and subsequently shaped policies designed to help those companies.) But the Supreme Court's decision is not just suspiciously partisan because of Antonin Scalia's duck-hunting trips with Dick Cheney (see Idiots passim). You see, back in 1993 the courts ruled that Hillary Clinton had to reveal the participants of her health care task force meetings because non-government employees were involved, and therefore, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrote, certain disclosures were required by law. Cheney's case deals with the exact same law, but with last week's ruling the Supreme Court essentially said that there is a different set of rules for the Bush administration. As the Washington Post's editors wrote last week, "The Clinton administration was subjected in a range of cases to intrusive discovery that, it frequently complained, burdened executive confidences. The Supreme Court okayed personal sexual harassment litigation against the president with blithe disregard for its potential impact on the presidency. Now, by contrast, the high court bends over backward to emphasize, even at the risk of tension with its own precedents, the president's special needs in fighting off lawsuits." But let's face it, we shouldn't expect anything less from the court that installed Monkey Boy in the first place.
Governor Groping Austrian Beefcake is at long last starting to live up to his "Terminator" nickname, announcing last week that he wanted to skim a measly $14 million off California's $15 billion budget shortfall by overturning a law known as the Hayden Act which forces animal shelters to hold stray cats and dogs up to six days before killing them. The current law makes adoption of stray animals a priority over euthanasia, but I guess Arnie doesn't much care for pets. According to the Los Angeles Times, as well as proposing to overturn the Hayden Act Schwarzenegger would also "eliminate a requirement that people convicted of animal cruelty be prohibited from owning a pet for three years and be forced to pay for medical care for the animals they have mistreated." Great. Oh, and "Shelters no longer would be required to search for owners who have embedded microchips in their pets that store addresses and phone numbers." So if you lose your pet in California, don't bother going to the shelter to look for it. Arnie's probably already used it for target practice.
And finally, a Republican family values update. We first took an interest in the Jon Matthews story back in Idiots 133 after the conservative talk-show host's radio program was pulled from KSEV in Texas when he was under investigation for indecency with a child. Seven months later, the results are in - Matthews pleaded guilty to the charges last week, and, among other things, will have to register as a sex offender when he is sentenced in about six weeks time. Last November Republican congressman John Culbertson said of the charges, "I just can't even imagine… I refuse to believe it… It must be a mistake..." Better believe it, pal. Your buddy likes to expose himself to 11-year-olds. See you next week...