Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 217)

October 10, 2005
QuagMiers Edition

It was a rough week for George W. Bush (1,3,5), who had the crap beaten out of him by his own allies on the right wing thanks to his nomination of presidential crony Harriet Miers (2) to be the the next Supreme Court justice. And speaking of Bush's allies on the right wing, the Family Research Council and their kooky friends (4) are opposed to vaccinating women against cervical cancer. And Indiana Republicans (7) wanted to require women undergoing fertility treatment to get a "gestational certificate" to ensure that they are married. And, of course, Fox News (9) and Bill O'Reilly (10) are back on the list again. Enjoy and don't forget the key!

1George W. Bush cronyism cronyism cronyism dumb
Last week, facing a firestorm of criticism over corruption and cronyism in the White House, George W. Bush nominated yet another of his completely-unqualified-but-close-personal-friends to a position of power - this time the Supreme Court.

But here's the question on everyone's lips: just how good a Supreme Court justice will Harriet Miers be? To find out the answer let's turn to some leading conservative thinkers.

DAVID FRUM
"Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is impossible to me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse - or resist the blandishments - that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today."

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
"There are 1,084,504 lawyers in the United States. What distinguishes Harriet Miers from any of them, other than her connection with the president? To have selected her ... is scandalous."

GEORGE WILL
"It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks."

PAT BUCHANAN
"Bush had a chance for greatness in remaking the Supreme Court, a chance to succeed where his Republican predecessors from Nixon to his father all failed. He instinctively recoiled from it. He blew it."

BILL KRISTOL
"I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized."

Um, hang on a minute. This is George W. Bush's nomination to the Supreme Court we're talking about here? Our Great Leader? The man who will transport us all into a glorious new conservative future? My, how times have changed.

Don't worry though - while real conservatives are gnashing their teeth at the Miers nomination, the radical religious right know which side their bread's buttered on. They're more than willing to stay the course and continue to trust the president. Which is a bit odd really, considering that for the last five years he hasn't actually done anything at all to enact their agenda.

JAMES DOBSON
"We welcome the president's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. He pledged emphatically during his campaign to appoint judges who will interpret the law rather than create it."

TED HAGGARD
"This is just part of the process. It's actually good positioning because it confuses the liberals."

JERRY FALWELL
"I did talk to the White House, I did hear what I needed to hear, and I happen to trust George Bush."

Oops... Hang on a minute... Dobson's having second thoughts...

JAMES DOBSON
"If I have made a mistake here, I will never forget it. The blood of those babies who will die will be on my hands to a degree."

Yes, it's business as usual in nutjob land.

2Harriet Miers cronyism cronyism cronyism dumb
But the question remains: just what kind of justice would Harriet Miers really be? Will she be a Scalia or a Souter? At this point, nobody knows... which seems to be what's twisting conservatives' panties.

At the end of the day, the Miers nomination is about cronyism. To the great benefit of his billionaire buddies George W. Bush has done an incredibly effective job of destroying government institutions by filling them with completely useless and unqualified people (Halliburton thanks you, Michael Brown). The only qualification that these people do have is that they are totally and utterly loyal to King George. And he plans to do the exact same thing with the Miers nomination.

We know that she was in charge of the Texas Lottery - where she oversaw "the firing of two executive directors. She left early amid lagging sales. One of the firings stirred questions about whether political influence helped George W. Bush avoid active duty in Vietnam."

We know that she was the first female head of a major Texas law firm, which during her tenure was "forced to pay more than $30 million to settle claims it vouched for the reputation of two clients who cheated investors out of millions in an elaborate Ponzi scheme."

We know that she "assumed such an insider role that in 2001 it was she who handed Bush the crucial 'presidential daily briefing' hinting at terrorist plots against America just a month before the Sept. 11 attacks."

And we know that Harriet Miers thinks that George W. Bush is "the most brilliant man she had ever met." Which ought to disqualify her right there.

Oh yes, Harriet Miers is a Bush crony - even Michelle Malkin thinks so - and as we're all more than aware, what's good for George W. Bush tends to be very, very bad for the American people.

It's somewhat less of a problem if you're appointing someone to a position they can easily be fired from, but putting them on the U.S. Supreme Court for life... well, that's a different story.

3George W. Bush warmongering warmongering excessive spin
You know George W. Bush is in trouble when it's time to trot out yet another "major speech" on terrorism and the Iraq war. But after shoving September 11 down everyone's throats - again - Bush's speech basically boiled down to this:

So, yeah, well, there weren't any WMDs and the Iraqi people weren't that pleased to see us after all and there weren't really any terrorists in Iraq before we got there and Saddam Hussein didn't actually have any capability to harm America but IF WE LEAVE NOW.......... then by thunder! Things could turn, um, sour.

Inspiring stuff. Bay Buchanan immediately raved about the speech on CNN, crowing that it would be a turning point in public opinion. For Bush's sake it had better be - a brand new CBS poll showed his approval rating at 37%, with a mere 26% saying the country is heading in the right direction. Phew, what a stinker.

Unfortunately Bush's problems are also Iraq's, and the world's. Our Great Leader is currently clutching desperately at one final straw - that enough Iraqi soldiers can be trained (or re-trained as the case may be) to handle security so that we can pull out; that "when the Iraqi people stand up, we will stand down."

It's a pipe dream with dangerous consequences. The truth is that Iraq is on the verge of tearing itself apart, with our soldiers trapped in the middle. In order to "catapult the propaganda," Bush has been tossing out the fantasy that "Right now there are over 80 army battalions fighting alongside coalition troops," with "over 30 Iraqi battalions in the lead."

There are about 500-600 soldiers in a battalion, so that's a minimum of 15,000 Iraqi soldiers ready to rock n' roll. Considering that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, that means we only have to train 135,000 more Iraqis (at a cost of $7 billion per month) to finish the job. It took us two years to train 15,000 so it should only take another, oh, 15-20 years or so to train the rest.

There's just one problem - when Bush says that there are 30-80 Iraqi battalions fighting in Iraq, he's talking out of his ass. Last week Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there is actually only one self-sufficient Iraqi battalion.

One. It's taken us two years to train one self-sufficient battalion, comprising 500-600 soldiers, at a cost of $200 billion dollars and counting.

You know, sometimes it's hard to believe that Bush's approval rating is as high 37%.

4The Family Research Council & Friends religious nut misogyny
It was recently revealed that new vaccines could put an end to the human papilloma virus (HPV) - the extremely common sexually transmitted disease which can lead to cervical cancer later in life. Scientists estimate that without the new vaccines, cervical cancer deaths could increase fourfold in the next forty years.

And that's exactly where we'll be if the Family Research Council and friends get their way. The FRC are planning to oppose the introduction of the vaccines in the United States based upon the idea that "abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV." Said FRC spokesperson Bridget Maher, "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex."

Ah, what could be more pro-family than condemning thousands of people to die needlessly?

5George W. Bush just plain evil
Did you know that George W. Bush has not vetoed a single bill since becoming president? It's true - but he could break that tradition soon. Last week the Senate added an amendment to a $440 billion military spending bill which would, according to the Miami Herald, "ban the use of 'cruel, inhuman or degrading' treatment of any prisoner in the hands of the United States."

And yes, George W. Bush has threatened to veto the bill unless that language is removed.

90 senators voted to add the anti-torture amendment - co-sponsored by John McCain and Lindsey Graham - with only 9 voting against. But if the House version of the bill ends up containing the same language, George W. Bush will veto it.

That Bush would threaten to veto a huge military spending bill while 150,000 of our troops are fighting overseas is highly unusual - that he would veto it because he doesn't want U.S. lawmakers to take away his ability to torture prisoners is... what phrase am I looking for here? Morally bankrupt? Criminally depraved? Ethically disgraceful? Just plain evil?

Any of those will do.

6Bobby Stumbo just plain evil
Reporting stories from the Conservative Morals and Values file is getting to be a depressingly regular occurrence. Meet Bobby Stumbo, former Floyd County, Kentucky, Republican leader, who was recently charged with sexually abusing a five-year-old boy.

According to WKYT.com, "Police testified it all started when the boy returned home from his father's house and sat down with his mother. 'He kissed her, and when he kissed her, he stuck his tongue in her mouth. She asked him where he learned that, and the child told her Bobby did that to him, talking about Bobby Stumbo,' Detective Byron Hansford said."

Excuse me, I have to go throw up now.

7 Indiana Republicans misogyny homophobia
Remember the days when conservatives stood for freedom and liberty and keeping government out of your private life? Welcome to the Republican party's brave new world. Last week it was revealed that Indiana Republicans were attempting to pass a bill which would apparently "make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant 'by means other than sexual intercourse.'"

That's right - under the proposed law, any woman seeking to become a mother through the use of techniques such as IVF treatment would first have to file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court. If the court approved, the woman would be presented with a "gestational certificate" which must be given to her doctor before he would be allowed to facilitate the pregnancy.

Of course, only married women would be allowed to receive a "gestational certificate." Sorry, lesbians - no children for you. And don't think about trying to bypass the law, or you'd face criminal charges.

If this attempt to regulate pregnancies sounds utterly despicable to you, you're not alone. After the bill became public knowledge, Republican lawmakers backed off from the proposal saying, "The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission."

But the fact that they would even come up with such a fucked-up idea in the first place speaks volumes about the current state of the Republican party, and particularly their views on reproductive rights. Last week it was Bill Bennett suggesting that the crime rate would go down if we aborted black babies, this week it's "gestational certificates." Insanity, I tell ya.

8David Vitter warmongering
One of George W. Bush's "crowning achievements" is the so called No Child Left Behind Act. And as many parents found out to their consternation, within the Act is buried a provision which requires schools to give students' personal information to the military. If you don't want your kid to be hassled by military recruiters desperate to meet their lagging recruitment goals, you have to opt out.

But Duval County schools are making it much more difficult to do just that. Last week the Florida Times-Union revealed that parents "can either approve the release of personal information to recruiters or give up all public recognition including being pictured in the yearbook and listed in sports programs and the honor roll."

Why is Duval County doing this? Because the more parents that opt out, the greater the chance that their schools will lose funding. This provision was inserted into No Child Left Behind by Sen. David Vitter (R-La), and it's now reaching its logical conclusion.

Yes, in today's America, the government will actually defund schools if those schools don't do everything they can to deliver children into the hands of the military. And so to prevent parents from opting out, schools are essentially threatening to make kids "non-persons."

This is the Republican party's commitment to education?

9Fox News partisanship
It's not much of a secret that despite claiming to be "fair and balanced" Fox News has an agenda cribbed directly from the playbook of Joseph Goebbels. However, it is interesting when former Fox News employees confirm it for us.

Last week, David Shuster (now of MSNBC) recounted some details of his six-year stint at Fox News:

At the time I started at Fox I thought, this is a great news organization to let me be very aggressive with a sitting president of the United States."

That president was, of course, Bill Clinton - and there's nothing wrong with that. The media should cast a thoroughly critical eye over those in power.

Shuster continued:

I started having issues when others in the organization would take my carefully scripted and nuanced reporting and pull out bits and pieces to support their agenda on their shows. With the change of administration in Washington, I wanted to do the same kind of reporting, holding the (Bush) administration accountable, and that was not something that Fox was interested in doing.

My my. There's a shock. Do go on...

Editorially, I had issues with story selection. But the bigger issue was that there wasn't a tradition or track record of honoring journalistic integrity. I found some reporters at Fox would cut corners or steal information from other sources or in some cases, just make things up. Management would either look the other way or just wouldn't care to take a closer look. I had serious issues with that.

So there you have it. Fox News: fair and balanced, or a giant turd clogging the media toilet bowl? We report, you decide.

(Psst. It's the turd.)

10Bill O'Reilly cowardice excessive spin
And finally... Hush! Listen closely. Off there... in the distance - can you hear it? Why, it's the delicate call of Billicus Oreillicus, commonly known as the Flying Falafel, famous for its habit of defending itself by turning purple, puffing up its chest to three times normal size, and then unplugging its opponent's microphone. Hush! There it is again... can you hear it? Wh... wha... WHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Surely there's no greater whiner in all of TV punditry than poor downtrodden Bill O'Reilly. Last week he dedicated an entire segment of his show to "the most vicious political websites in the country" - the most vicious of which is, according to O'Reilly, the great Media Matters. Bill said that Media Matters "make[s] stuff [up] about me ... [e]very day of my life," has "no ethics or scruples," and called them "assassins" and "zombies."

Bill then went on to claim that he'd had trouble booking guests on his TV show because "they were afraid that Media Matters would go after them," and announced that, "I've got to have bodyguards. I've got to have security wherever I go. And it's because of them. ... I don't fear them; I loathe them."

The Flying Falafel is apparently living in such fear that he's too scared to even enter the same room as the truly terrifying Media Matters honcho David Brock. Yes - O'Reilly has turned down repeated requests from Media Matters to appear on his show.

Hush! There it is again.... Wh... wha... WHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

See you next week!

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