The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
April 11, 2005
Spouting Thomas Edition
DeLay (1,6) tops the list again this week after a tough week for
ethics violators, but Fox News (2) is more than happy to give him
an assist. Mel Martinez (3) owned up to the Terri Schiavo memo -
sort of - not that The Forgery Shovelers (4) cared of course. And
John Cornyn (5) suggested that perhaps judges should tone down the
old "judging" thing if they cared about their safety.
Yup, it's been a prime week for conservative idiocy. Elsewhere,
Republican Hypocrites (7) seem to have gone silent on the issue
of high gas prices, The Jeff Gannon Show (8) rolled into town for
an encore, Michelle Bachman (9) hid in some bushes, and what happens
when you mix professional wrestling with right-wing whackery? You
get my new all-time favorite conservative idiot in the form of Warrior
And Chums (10). Enjoy, and don't forget the key!
This might be the understatement of the year, but Tom DeLay
is in the shit. Last week the Campaign for America's Future put
up a handy cheat
sheet of DeLay's recent scandals, which include taking fancy
business trips paid for by lobbyists, taking campaign contributions
for favors, using a federal agency (the FAA) for partisan purposes,
and alleged money laundering, among other things. In the past week
it was also revealed that since 2001 DeLay's wife and daughter have
more than $500,000 from his political action committees, and in
1997 DeLay took a trip to Russia which was "underwritten by
business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government,"
to the Washington Post. He later cast votes in support
of those same business interests. DeLay has done what he can to
clear himself of the charges by, um, trying to change House ethics
rules to make the whole thing go away. But let's face it, that doesn't
really make him look any better. So what's a poor, downtrodden House
Majority Leader to do when the heat is on? Why, blame somebody else,
of course! Last week DeLay called
the reports about his scandalous behavior "just another seedy
attempt by the liberal media to embarrass me." Aww, poor baby.
But let it be known that the GOP is backing
Tom DeLay all the way, so hats off to the Republican party for standing
shoulder-to-shoulder with the Bugman, and we'll just wait and see
where their firm conviction for being led by an unethical megalomaniac
gets them in 2006.
Of course, DeLay's pals at Fox News have been doing their best
to disabuse the public of the notion that he might bear just a tiny
bit of responsibility for his alleged ethics violations. Media Matters
that several Fox News hosts went out of their way last week to assist
DeLay in his attempt to blame the media for his problems: Brit Hume
reported that, "Here in Washington, the press is after Tom
DeLay again, but wait 'til you hear the facts," and, "speaking
of Tom DeLay, the mainstream media were out after him again today."
John Gibson said, "The liberal media is hammering 'The Hammer'
- Tom DeLay under a microscope and under the gun. Is this simply
a media hit job?" (In order to get a fair and balanced answer
he interviewed Rich Lowry, editor of the right-wing National
Review.) And our old friend Sean Hannity referred to
the "liberal allegations" against DeLay and asked, "Is
he the target of a smear campaign?" So if you want to know
the details of the charges against Tom DeLay, don't bother asking
Fox News. They're more concerned about protecting their buddy than
they are about actually reporting the facts.
Last week conservative pundits and bloggers were agog with the
possibility that the infamous "Terri Schiavo memo" - which
instructed Republican senators to make political hay out of her
case - might have been a fake passed around by - booo! - Democrats
in order to make Republicans look bad. Because surely Republicans
simply aren't capable of playing such awful political games.
Yeah right. But the whole thing fell apart at the seams last week
when it was revealed
that the memo actually came from the office of freshman GOP senator
Mel Martinez. Of course, Martinez was completely in the dark
about the memo - which explains why he was, uh, carrying it around
in his pocket - and fired his aide Brian Darling for taking action
"unilaterally." At this point it's probably worth mentioning
that the St. Petersburg Times said back
in November 2004 that "When challenged, Martinez was too
eager to assign blame to his staff or to groups he said he couldn't
control. As a senator, he will need an office and a staff that speaks
with the measured and centrist tone he says will be his own. He
can't pretend to be above it all if the people he employs are not."
It certainly appears that Martinez hasn't taken that advice to heart.
But in case you were worried about the future of poor Brian "Unilateral"
Darling, don't fret. He used to work for the Alexander Strategy
Group, whose chairman Edwin A. Buckham (former chief of staff to
- ta da! - Tom DeLay) said last week that "He is still going
to have a bright future in this town." Why am I not surprised...
The news that the memo was in fact not a fake, and did in fact
originate from the office of a Republican senator, was somewhat
embarrassing to the folks who'd been shoveling the forgery meme.
After the "Democratic fakery" angle had played out on
right-wing talk radio during the week - without any actual evidence,
of course - The Washington Times ran a front page, above-the-fold
alleging that the memo could have been a dirty trick. The Times'
claim that the memo was fake was based, incredibly, on this: "A
survey by The Washington Times found that every Republican said
the memo was not crafted or distributed by him or her." Which
obviously cleared up the whole matter. Meanwhile Rush Limbaugh announced
that "it appears it's a forged memo all over again!" quoting
the American Spectator who wrote, "It's Rathergate all
over again, and the same vigilant entities that brought about the
collapse of CBS News could now also cause heads to roll among Democratic
Senate leadership staffers and further shame multiple news organizations
that would appear to have fallen for another document hoax."
Crowed Rush, "The memo was made up by Democrat staffers."
Whoops. John Aravosis at AmericaBlog has a great screenshot
of a page from Rush's website which tells the world to "Listen
to Rush Conduct Broadcast Excellence." Aravosis also noted
that one of the American Spectator's aforementioned vigilant
entities, "blog of the year" Powerline - who went nuts
accusing the Democrats of faking the Schiavo memo - were still clinging
desperately to the possibility that they could turn it against the
left by blaming
the media for misreporting the story. Nice try, morons.
What could be the reason for the recent wave of violence against
judges? Just a few weeks ago, a judge's family was murdered. And
there was that incident where a man on trial for rape and murder
stole a gun and shot a judge dead in court. What could be prompting
this crime wave? Have no fear: Sen. John Cornyn has the answer.
"I – I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection,"
on the Senate floor last week, "but we have seen some recent
episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing
new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence
recently that's been on the news. And I wonder whether there may
be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some
occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable
to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to
the point where some people engage in – engage in violence."
Don't worry though - apparently Cornyn didn't mean it. According
to the UK Guardian, he wrote a letter last week saying
he was "not aware of evidence linking judges' decisions with
possible violence. 'I certainly hope that people will not construe
my remarks on Monday to state otherwise,' he said." Oh, perish
the thought. So I guess you were talking about... what, exactly,
Senator? The good news though is that John Cornyn has learned a
lesson from all this. And here
it is: "The lesson I learned is that Washington is a very tough
political environment and if people can take what you say out of
context and use it against you, they will." Seriously. He actually
One more entry for the Bugman this week, and it relates directly
to the John Cornyn entry above. Cornyn may not be able to legitimately
blame the most recent incidents of violence against judges and their
families as some sort of revenge for their supposed judicial activism
- but he soon will if Tom DeLay keeps it up. We already
noted DeLay's not-so-veiled threats to the judges involved in
the Terri Schiavo case ("The time will come for the men responsible
for this to answer for their behavior") and last week he kicked
it up a notch. DeLay said
that the judiciary has "run amok" and "overstepped
its authority on countless occasions." His solution? Unclear.
But he also said that "Our next step, whatever it is, must
be more than rhetoric." Various conservative leaders decided
to pick up that ball and run with it, meeting in Washington last
week to discuss "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny." Phyllis
Schafly and Michael P. Farris - chairman of the Home School Legal
Defense Association - both agreed that Supreme Court Justice Anthony
Kennedy ought to be impeached for his opinion that juveniles shouldn't
be executed. But it was Edwin Vieira who seemed to be taking Tom
Delay's comments to their logical conclusion, citing
Joseph Stalin in his "bottom line" for dealing with
judges. "[Stalin] had a slogan," said Viera, "and
it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no
man, no problem.'" The full quote that Viera paraphrased, in
case you were wondering, is "Death solves all problems: no
man, no problem." So, uh, is anyone else bothered that leading
conservatives are now using Joe Stalin as an example of how to deal
with their enemies?
Special thanks here to the Top Ten reader (you know who you
are, sir!) who sent me a list of links featuring Republicans whining
about high gas prices in 2000. I'm sure most of you are aware that
average gas prices have been topping $2.50 per gallon recently,
with San Franciscans recently reporting more than $3 per gallon
for regular unleaded:
Photo: San Francisco
Now let's take a look at what some of those Republicans had to
say in 2000, when gas was around a full dollar cheaper per gallon
than it is today:
Terry Everett: "The Clinton Administration has failed in
its duty to develop a policy to deal with our national energy supply
and is therefore directly accountable for the higher prices Americans
are now paying at the gas pumps."
Hastert: "House Speaker Dennis Hastert accused the Clinton
administration Friday of misleading members of Congress about the
causes of skyrocketing gas prices in the Midwest."
Wally Herger: "Congressman Wally Herger recently denounced
the Clinton-Gore Administration's complacency during the current
gas price crisis. 'Northern Californians are being held hostage
at the gas pump,' Herger said. 'The Clinton-Gore Administration
has demonstrated a complete and total lack of leadership in preventing
this problem. It is a clear failure of domestic and foreign policy.'"
Kudlow: "The Clinton-Gore administration’s hapless and
incoherent management of foreign policy is nowhere as evident as
in their bungling on OPEC’s oil-price hike. ... While crude oil
prices could drop to $25 per barrel, they will stay well above the
average $20 real price of oil registered over the past ten years.
And way above the $10 worldwide average marginal cost of producing
new oil. Meanwhile gas prices at the pump are likely to be upwards
of $2 per gallon well into the summer."
Spencer: "In recent weeks, gas prices have surged to their
highest level in a decade. Prices for home heating oil and natural
gas are expected to rise by about 30 percent this winter. ... With
the Clinton-Gore administration's policies largely to blame for
the pain being felt by consumers, Vice President Gore's camp has
pulled out all the stops to shift blame away from his own administration."
Repubs: "Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee
Falls), Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac), Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), and
Mark Green (R-Green Bay) today blasted Energy Secretary Bill Richardson
and the Clinton-Gore Administration for their failure to implement
a comprehensive energy policy to deal with staggering gas prices
Wisconsin consumers continue to face at the pumps."
So, gas is about 60-75% per gallon more at the pump and oil is
about 100% more per barrel than it was when these moaning minnies
were whining about how much Bill Clinton and Al Gore sucked, but
now George W. Bush is the president - why, his shit don't stink.
Perhaps they're still waiting for him to "jawbone"
OPEC? Either that or they don't care about gas prices now that he's,
y'know, got the gays on the run.
Jeff Gannon Show
We noted last
week that our old pal Jeff Gannon was going to be appearing
at a National Press Club panel on journalism and blogging, and pondered
why he was invited to be there since he wasn't a journalist or a
blogger. Well it turns out that Gannon was apparently asked along
for the purposes of providing hilarious comic relief. Among Gannon's
classic gags from last Friday's event
were the suggestion that simply reprinting administration press
releases is the same as real journalism, and that the government
had to pay Armstrong Williams to write a positive story on
No Child Left Behind because nobody else would. Funny stuff! He
even held up one of those stupid red counties vs. blue counties
maps which right-wingers love to use to demonstrate how "red"
the country is, except - and this is the mark of a comedy genius
at work - the red states were all green, because apparently his
printer was running
out of ink. But the laugh of the day was surely reserved for
this absolute corker: "You can hardly call Fox News conservative."
Oh Jeff, you are a clown!
Last week Minnesota State Senator Michelle Bachmann (R-Obviously)
tried to force a vote on a state constitutional amendment that would
ban gay marriage; Democrats said she was trying to end-run Senate
rules for political gain. That she chose to do this on the same
day that the local gay community was rallying for their rights on
the grounds of the Capitol was certainly dubious. According
to Eleventh Avenue South, "Even Senate Republicans thought
it was in poor taste to try to go around Senate rules on the same
day GLBT citizens were making their voice heard. Her move was overwhelmingly
defeated." But one of Eleventh Avenue South's eagle-eyed readers
happened to catch something rather strange that day - it turned
out that Michelle Bachmann had gone to take a look at the rally,
but, obviously feeling very frightened of the scary homosexuals,
decided to hide in some bushes. Fortunately, the reader got pictures:
Peek-a-boo! What a coward. You know, that photo kind of reminds
me of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney during Vietnam.
And finally, the artist formerly known as "The Ultimate
Warrior" (now apparently just plain "Warrior" for
some reason) made a professional wrestling-sized ass of himself
at the University of Connecticut last week, choke-slamming the UConn
College Republicans in the process. Former WWF star Warrior had
apparently been invited by the College Republicans to speak about...
well, actually that's not entirely clear. But Warrior is
a radical right-wing nutcase, so presumably that's all the reason
they needed. Unfortunately Warrior was a little too nutty even for
the College Republicans, "screaming and stomping on the stage,"
to liveaudiowrestling.com, and provoking the crowd into a frenzy.
The evening turned sour when Warrior answered an Iranian student's
question by telling him that he needed to "get a towel,"
and pontificated on such subjects as why "Queering don't make
the world work." Which is a bit odd coming from a guy who used
to make a living publicly groping a steady stream of greased-up
bodybuilders in leotards.
Anyway, it turns out that the UConn College Republicans were a
tad embarrassed by the debacle, issuing a profoundly
apologetic press release the next day. They made sure to mention
that they were sending individual letters of apology to, "the
Rainbow Center, AQUA, QUAD, the African American Cultural Center,
the Asian American Cultural Center, the Puerto Rican/Latin American
Cultural Center, the Iranian Students Association, and the Women's
Center." Oh, and in case you were wondering, "this is
not a complete list of the groups that will receive a direct written
apology from the College Republicans." Good lord.
But the story doesn't end there: the College Republicans' press
release provoked a hilarious outburst "From the Desk Of Warrior"
where he announced
(in the third person!) that "All of the above notwithstanding,
it is somewhat sad to see how utterly spineless the UConn College
Republicans have turned out to be. Not a single UConn CR voiced
any objection to Warrior after the event. The detailed emails between
Warrior and the UConn CRs reveal that the CRS repeatedly encouraged
Warrior to single out the Tent City Trash for some re-education.
Yet, it now seems that the CRS have collectively decided to bow
down and beg forgiveness from various extremist, anti-American,
left-wing groups who infest the UConn campus. Perhaps the UConn
CRS should refrain from engaging in political activism until such
time as they develop enough backbone to be able to withstand not
being liked by their opponents." Ooh, smackdown! See you next
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