Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 231)

February 6, 2006
The State Of The Union Is On Hold Edition

Ask most Americans and they'll tell you that the State of the Union sucks. Not according to Our Great Leader, who last week gave a big ol' speech full of... stuff. A great deal of that stuff was clearly intended to keep him afloat politically, rather than to achieve any meaningful ends. But if you were looking for lies, distortions and misrepresentations, you couldn't have found a better place to be than in front of the television last Tuesday night. This week we're going to focus solely on the State of the Union Address, so buckle up, and as usual don't forget the key!

Note: all quotes from the speech can be found in the official White House transcript here.

1Well Oil Be Damned lying lying lying flip-flopping flip-flopping
Let's begin with what appears to be an attempt at humor by the White House. One of the "major themes" of the speech previewed by the media was Bush's intention to address American's dependence on foreign oil. Here's what he had to say:

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil.

...Says the former oil executive whose vice-president also happens to be a former oil executive. Congratulations, George! You just joined the "blame America first" crowd. Do go on.

Tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative - a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research - at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

Oddly enough, despite the hours of preparation which supposedly went into this speech (did you see those photos of Bush pretending to read?) the energy secretary had to next day "clarify" the president's declaration to reduce oil imports.

"This was purely an example," said Samuel Bodman. According to tenessean.com, Bodman said that "the president didn't mean it literally." Didn't mean it literally? So much for a "great goal."

As for those alternative fuels Bush was touting, according to the New York Times:

The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.

A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports.

But despite the president's best efforts, addiction to oil is something we should all worry about, and be vigilant against. Tell me George, if we suspect that someone we know is addicted to oil, what kind of warnings signs should we look for?

Oh, I'm sorry - I see you're busy.

2Well Oil Be Damned (Part Two) hypocrisy
Let's stay on the subject of reducing foreign oil imports for a moment, because of the many lies and distortions in Bush's speech, this is perhaps the most egregious. Let's face it: if America is addicted to oil, then the Bush administration is the pusher.

According to Think Progress, "Sixty-six percent of oil consumed in the United States comes from foreign sources." That's a lot. But here's the kicker - that's "up from 58 percent in 2000." Yes, America has greatly increased its dependence on foreign oil since the Bush administration came to power.

Not only that, but the House Committee on Government reform noted last year that Bush's energy bill "rejected a Senate provision that required reduction of oil consumption by one million barrels per day by 2015."

And now Our Great Leader is lecturing us about this "serious problem?" That's a bit like the pot calling the oil well black.

3Kiss My Act unconstitutional
During the address, Bush exhorted Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act. But before the speech even began there was a graphic display of the erosion of civil liberties that the Patriot Act represents.

Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother who kickstarted Bush's slip-sliding poll numbers when he refused to meet with her last summer, was offered a ticket to the State of the Union by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. Cindy writes:

I knew George Bush would say things that would hurt me and anger me and I knew that I couldn't disrupt the address because Lynn had given me the ticket and I didn't want to be disruptive out of respect for her. I, in fact, had given the ticket to John Bruhns who is in Iraq Veterans Against the War. However, Lynn's office had already called the media and everyone knew I was going to be there so I sucked it up and went.

Cindy had attended a rally that afternoon, where she received the ticket from Rep. Woolsey. She was wearing a T-shirt which simply read "2,245 Dead. How many more?" After arriving at the Capitol Building, Cindy went through security twice before climbing to the fifth gallery. She continues:

I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled, "Protester." He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. ... The officer ran with me to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. ... I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things...I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful conduct."

At around the same time, a Republican Congressman's wife was removed from the building for wearing a T-shirt which read, "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom." Apparently the Capitol cops think that anyone wearing a T-shirt is a protester. But I guess they figured it out, because for some reason the Congressman's wife was not arrested.

The next day, Capitol Police dropped the charge of unlawful conduct against Cindy. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer apologized, saying, "The officers made a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol."

So the cops finally figured out Cindy Sheehan too. But not until she spent four hours in jail... for the crime of wearing the wrong T-shirt.

4Terror! Alert! helping the terrorists
One of the most interesting moments of the State of the Union was Bush's admission that his war on terror has been a failure. After waffling about ending tyranny in the world, the "future security of America," acting "boldly in freedom's cause," remaining on the "offensive against terror networks," and killing or capturing "many of their leaders," Bush dropped this bombshell: "The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us."

Well excuse me, Mr. War President, but what exactly have you been doing since 9/11? You've had four and a half years, countless billions of dollars, and sacrificed the lives of more than 2,200 of our soldiers, and you haven't managed to degrade the enemy's desire or capability to attack us? What the hell?

Perhaps it's time for America to get a president who can actually show some results... or at least, results other than enormous profits for his buddies in the military-industrial complex while a steady stream of flag-draped coffins returns from the Middle East.

At least Our Great Leader finally managed to remember the name of his arch-nemesis, Osama bin Laden. Bush declared, "Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder - and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously."

That's rich coming from someone who didn't mention bin Laden's name in a single State of the Union address prior to this one. (Although Bush has managed to namecheck Saddam Hussein 26 times.)

5 Eavesdroppings unconstitutional covering your ass
Bush got crazy when the time came to defend his illegal wiretapping operations. His voice rose in pitch and volume, his eyes popped from his head, and he jerked violently from side to side. Oh yes, he knows he's in trouble all right.

According to Dubya:

It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack - based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute - I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. ... The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America.

Now, considering that Bush's only defense against the illegality of his warrantless wiretapping scheme is to keep insisting that he has the Constitutional authority to do whatever it takes to protect the American people, you'd think he might want to get his facts straight on this. But the New York Daily News reported last week that:

The National Security Agency's secret domestic spying hasn't nabbed any Al Qaeda agents in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress yesterday.

Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his agents get "a number of leads from the NSA," but he made it clear Osama Bin Laden's henchmen weren't at the end of the trail.

Oh dear. George had better start practicing that perp walk.

6Boehner Pops Up hypocrisy
Our Great Leader barely stuck his toe into the issue of ethics; understandable really, since Republicans are currently up to their necks in it. Here's how the speech went:

Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington - I support your efforts. Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility - and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray.

I'm not quite sure what kind of "public responsibility" Bush might be talking about. I mean, I know presidents don't get impeached for breaking the law or lying to Congress or lying to the American people any more.

Of course, the good news for Republicans is that last week they officially got rid of disgraced former exterminator, Rep. Tom Delay (R-Shit Creek). The GOP picked Rep. John Boehner of Ohio to replace him as House Majority Leader.

Boehner is charged with cleaning up the Republican party's tarnished ethics image, which has been severely damaged by repeated charges of corruption, bribery, cronyism, and dirty dealings with shady lobbyists. Here's the punchline: Boehner doesn't just have potential ethics problems of his own, his candidacy for majority leader was strongly supported by, er, lobbyists.

6Please, Hold Your Applause loser loser
Now we get to my favorite part of the speech - the part where the Dems make Bush look like a giant ass. Last year Bush went on tour to promote his other "great goal" (ruining Social Security) and the response was universally dismal. His privatization plans didn't even even get off the ground in Congress, and at the State of the Union he was determined to give his detractors a little verbal spanking.

Unfortunately things didn't quite go according to plan. Bush got as far as, "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security," before applause broke out from the Democratic side of the House - which quickly turned into a lengthy standing ovation, complete with loud cheers.

Poor George, standing up there all by himself while those rotten Democrats made fun of him. Not only that but Dick Cheney and Dennis Hastert looked like they were trying to figure out which torture device to warm up when they got him back to the Oval Office.

8Foetus Don't Fail Me Now excessive spin hypocrisy
Bush was quick to claim credit for a number of encouraging statistics. On abortion, he said:

There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.

These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation - a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment.

Actually these gains are evidence of increased availability of the morning-after pill - at least, according to 2003 research by the the Alan Guttmacher Institute. The study did find, however, that "the rate of abortion among poor women has increased substantially." Which makes sense - poor women are far less likely to have access to the morning-after pill.

But George W. Bush probably shouldn't be crowing too loudly about the decrease in abortion rates, since in November 2005 the FDA refused to approve the Plan B morning-after pill for over the counter sale. The refusal came after Bush administration officials meddled in the FDA's review - according to the UK's Daily Telegraph, "'four aspects of [the FDA] review process were unusual' and the entire decision-making process was 'not typical.'" The Telegraph reported:

Several FDA middle managers have testified that, four months before the decision was announced, they were told by the office of Mark McClellan, a Bush administration appointee then running the agency, that Plan B would not be approved in Jan 2004.

So much for "a revolution of rising conscience." When will the fundies figure out that the Republican party is going to keep dangling this moldy carrot in front of them over and over again?

9We Don't Need No Education hypocrisy
Back in cloud-cuckoo land, Bush was busy touting science education. He told the nation:

...we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country.

Funny, then, that Bush's 2006 budget proposal slashed education spending, reducing the Department of Education's budget by half a billion dollars. Not only that, but a 2004 report by Business Week indicated that "No Child Left Behind may be exacerbating the problem" of slipping science standards.

According to the report, "NCLB now requires that students be tested just in reading and math (science tests won't be added until 2007)." Said Gerald Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, "some teachers are being told to stop teaching science and get back to reading and math."

ThinkProgress has the rest of the story. But you know, perhaps the continued dumbing down of the nation isn't really bad thing. After all, we all know what kind of horrors of science can bring...

10Animal Magnetism
And finally, forget Osama bin Laden - George W. Bush has a new enemy in the war on terror. His name is Dr. Moreau, and apparently he lives on an island. While discussing scientific and medical research, Our Great Leader dropped this bombshell:

Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.

Human-animal hybrids?

You know, perhaps Congress does need to take the human-animal hybrid threat seriously.

See you next week!

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