Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 218)

October 17, 2005
Stage-Managed Edition

Conservative woes increased last week as George W. Bush (1) made a fool of himself during a live teleconference, leaving Scott McClellan (2) in the line of fire. Meanwhile the Department of Homeland of Security (3) has been scaring people, Harriet Miers' (4) personal papers were released, and the the Department of Defense (5) are screwing the troops. Elsewhere, Tom DeLay (6) is still in trouble, Ann Coulter (9) demonstrates conservative integrity, and John McCain (10) plays the hypocrite. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!

1George W. Bush photo-opping photo-opping photo-opping
What's a president to do when faced with growing public discontentment and crashing poll numbers? If you're George W. Bush, the answer is clear: try to focus the nation's attention away from what a jackass you are, and regain some of that pre-election military mojo.

Which is exactly what Our Great Leader attempted to do last week, holding a live teleconference with some troops from the 42nd Infantry Division, all of whom coincidentally happened to agree with all of the Bush administration's current talking points on Iraq.

Here's George, participating in a totally spontaneous back and forth chat with the troops:

Wait a minute... the president appears to have dyed his hair. And lost some height. And turned into a woman.

Okay, you got me. That's not George W. Bush, that's Allison Barber of the Defense Department. And what was she doing there? Unfortunately for the Bush administration, the answer was revealed by the raw satellite feed streamed to news outlets before the teleconference began. The feed showed Ms. Barber carefully coaching the troops on what Bush was going to say, the techniques they should use when responding, and giving them an opportunity to rehearse their answers. Some choice quotes:

"Master Sergeant Lombardo, when you're talking about the president coming to see you in New York, take a little breath before that so you can actually be talking directly to him. You've got a real message there, okay?"

(snip)

"If the question comes up about partnering how often do we train with the Iraqi military who does he go to?"

(snip)

"...if we're going to talk a little bit about the folks in Tikrit the hometown and how they're handling the political process, who are we going to give that to?"

(snip)

"But if he gives us a question that's not something that we've scripted, Captain Kennedy, you're going to have that mic, and that's your chance to impress us all."

Hmmm. "Not something we've scripted," eh?

Funnily enough, even though the event was totally stage-managed and pre-packaged, Our Great Leader still managed to make a complete hash of it. Bush forgot about the satellite delay and talked across soldiers, stumbled over words and phrases (as usual), offered a completely disingenuous invitation for the troops to drop by and visit him any time they're in Washington, and at one point lost his earpiece. I mean, check out this exchange:

THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to New York?

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Yes, I was, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you looked familiar.

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Well, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I probably look familiar to you, too.

You know, sometimes I think the word "asshat" was invented specifically for George W. Bush.

2Scott McClellan excessive spin excessive spin
But it was Scott McClellan who took the brunt of Bush's tomfoolery at the White House press conference which followed the teleconference. Unfortunately for Scott, he didn't know that the reporters already knew that the event was staged. Hilarity ensued:

Q: Scott, why did the administration feel it was necessary to coach the soldiers that the President talked to this morning in Iraq?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, I don't know what you're suggesting.

(snip)

Q: ...we asked you specifically this morning if there would be any screening of questions or if they were being told in any way what they should say or do, and you indicated no.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I don't think that's what the question was earlier today. I think the question earlier today was asking if they could ask whatever they want, and I said, of course, the President was - and you saw -

Q: And I asked if they were pre-screened.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: You saw earlier today the President was trying to engage in a back-and-forth with the troops...

(snip)

Q: But I also asked this morning, were they being told by their commanders what to say or what to do, and you indicated, no. Was there any prescreening of -

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I'm not aware of any such - any such activities that were being undertaken...

Worst. Press Secretary. Ever.

By the way, don't miss this Keith Olbermann segment on Bush's teleconference travesty - I promise you won't be disappointed!

Olbermann Part One
Olbermann Part Two
Olbermann Part Three

Videos hosted by CanOFun.com.

3The Department of Homeland Security fearmongering fearmongering
Unlike Mike Brown, Keith Olbermann's been doing a heck of a job lately. As well as his hilarious exposé of Our Great Leader's Giant Stupid Teleconference, Olbermann reported last week on "The Nexus of Politics and Terror," citing numerous occasions when the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror alert level immediately following either bad news for the administration, or a speech on terror by George Bush.

Former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge outright admitted back in May of this year that during his tenure "he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or 'high' risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled" (see Idiots 198).

But that didn't stop the administration from trying to pull the same tired old trick in New York City last week, causing New Yorkers to... well, yawn and go about their business as usual.

We commented recently (see Idiots 217) on George W. Bush's "major speech" on Iraq and the war on terror at the National Endowment for Democracy, which basically involved him gabbing on and on about 9/11 (again). Just seven hours after that speech, a bomb threat warning was issued by New York City officials.

According to Olbermann's blog, the warning was "based on information supplied by the Federal Government," but it was later revealed that "a Homeland Security spokesman says the intelligence upon which the disclosure is based is 'of doubtful credibility.'" That intelligence was subsequently determined to be a hoax.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg: it seems that not only was the warning based on a hoax, but "The city's rich and well-connected were tipped off to last week's subway terror threat days before average New Yorkers," according to the New York Daily News:

At least two E-mails revealing the purported plot were sent to a select crowd of business and arts executives early last week by New Yorkers who claimed to have close connections to Homeland Security and other federal officials, authorities said.

The NYPD confirmed that it learned of the E-mails on Oct. 3 - three days before Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the FBI went public with the threat.

But surely it was mere coincidence that despite days of foreknowledge the warnings were announced just hours after Bush's big speech on terrorism. And the fact that terror warnings have coincidentally followed bad news for Bush or big terrorism speeches on multiple occasions - well, um, that must be a coincidence too.

4Harriet Miers cronyism cronyism dumb
It looks like Harriet Miers is qualified after all! Perhaps not qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, admittedly, but certainly highly qualified to lick George W. Bush's boots.

Last week a handful of Miers' personal papers were released by the Texas State Library, "most of them routine legal memos, press releases and transcripts," according to Knight Ridder. But among those papers were a few personal notes from Miers to Bush, which reveal... well, let's see:

"You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect!" - Harriet Miers

"Cool!" - Harriet Miers

"You are the best!" - Harriet Miers

Can you imagine if she'd been on the court in 2000?

...in a Presidential election the clearly expressed intent of the legislature must prevail. And there is no basis for reading the Florida statutes as requiring the counting of improperly marked ballots, as an examination of the Florida Supreme Court's textual analysis shows that George W. Bush is the best governor ever - deserving of respect! We will not parse that analysis here, except to note that the principal provision of the election code on which it relied, §101.5614(5), was, as the Chief Justice pointed out in his dissent from Harris II, "cool."

5The Department of Defense just plain evil
Scenario: you volunteer to serve your country in the armed forces. You're sent to Iraq, where a bomb takes one of your hands, and your ability to walk. You're shipped back to America to face a long, arduous recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. What happens next?

If you're Robert Loria of Middletown, NY, here's what happens:

  • Your pay rate is downgraded because you're out of the war zone.
  • Your wages are garnished because some of your equipment is unaccounted for.
  • The army sends you a bill for $6,200 just before Christmas.
  • Three months later a collection agency comes after you because you owe $646 for military housing.

This is apparently because, according to the Washington Post, "the government's computerized pay system is designed to 'maximize debt collection' and has operated without a way to keep bills from going to the wounded."

Now why am I not surprised? So much for "supporting the troops."

6Tom DeLay quid pro quo
There was more bad news for Tom DeLay this week - according to the Austin American-Stateman, "Travis County prosecutors want to know how U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, purchased a 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan, subpoenaing all records surrounding the transaction, as well as telephone records from Delay, his campaign and his daughter."

The new subpoenas raise further questions - and not just about DeLay's alleged money-laundering activities. For example, why would someone so staunchly pro-American buy a Japanese car? And what would a manly Texas dude like DeLay want with the soccer mom's vehicle of choice?

Perhaps he was attracted to the 230-horsepower V-6 engine which, according to U.S. News and World Report, "shows a lot of chutzpah." And of course there's always the "numerous configurations that let you fold down any or all of the seats, depending on your hauling/chaufeurring needs," which would make it super-convenient for moving lobbyists, golf clubs, and tote-bags filled with non-sequential hundred dollar bills.

Top 10 Conservative Idiots exclusive: thanks to a talented DU cameraman with an extremely long lens, we have obtained this photograph of DeLay's actual 2004 Toyota Sienna:

7 The Pentagon dumb
I just thought you should know that according to Fox News, "Pentagon officials are denying that a live video conference between President Bush and U.S. troops in Iraq was staged."

In a related story, Milli Vanilli want their Grammys reinstated.

8Lou Beres just plain evil
Won't somebody think of the children? Lou Beres, "longtime head of the Christian Coalition of Oregon," apparently has been. Last week he stepped down from his position and said he will "withdraw from political life" after he was accused of sexual abuse by three of his relatives.

According to the Seattle Times:

The three women - now adults - allege they were abused by Beres as preteens. Their families called the child abuse hot line last month, after the three openly discussed the alleged abuse for the first time.

"I was molested," one of the women, now in her 50s, told The Oregonian. "I was victimized and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with him."

According to their website, "The Christian Coalition of Oregon is committed to representing the pro-family agenda and educating America on the critical issues facing our society."

Perhaps someone should explain to Lou Beres that "pro-family" doesn't mean "banging your pre-teen relatives."

9Ann Coulter hypocrisy dumb
Ann Coulter revealed the full extent of her integrity last week on Sean Hannity's radio show and you'll be unsurprised to learn that, yes, Ann Coulter has no integrity.

During a conversation with Hannity and Brent Bozell, Coulter remarked that the administration is not telling the truth about the Harriet Miers nomination. "They're treating us like liberals lying to us," she said. "When they lie to conservatives, we have a problem."

So there you have it - Ann Coulter admits that the administration is a bunch of liars, it's just that when she thought they were only lying to liberals it was perfectly acceptable. Now they're lying to conservatives, it's a big problem.

I hate to tell you this Ann, but if you think that the administration hasn't been lying to conservatives for the last four years about everything from ending abortion to banning gay marriage to reducing the size of government to spreading glorious freedom across the Middle East, then you're dumber than I thought.

Which is saying something.

10John McCain hypocrisy
And finally, Sen. John McCain criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week for holding "carefully staged campaign events," according to Reuters. "The benefit of an open town hall meeting is one that you get to hear a lot of different views, and two it has credibility," said McCain.

McCain's words recall his criticism of George W. Bush's carefully staged town hall meetings during this year's failed Social Security tour, where people identified as Democrats were barred from attending. The Washington Post reported back in March that "McCain has been especially supportive of his onetime rival, appearing with Bush at three events over the past two days in trying to prod Democrats into negotiations to include private accounts in a plan to revamp Social Security."

Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right.

Perhaps McCain was more critical of George Bush and Dick Cheney's staged campaign appearances during the 2004 election presidential campaign. At some of those events, attendees were required to sign loyalty oaths.

Here's a picture of McCain sternly taking Bush to task at a campaign rally in 2004:

What was that about credibility again? See you next week!

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