Democratic Underground

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (Week 17)
May 7, 2001
Personal Responsibility Edition

Top 10 Conservative Idiots

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While Jenna Bush still does not appear on the Top Ten List, her wacky antics have once again exposed the hypocrisy of the personal responsibility blowhards on the right wing. Her Legal Defense Team (1) serves as a stand-in for all the conservative idiots whose motto seems to be "do as I say, not as I do." Meanwhile, Dick Cheney (2) brings disrespect upon himself, George W. Bush (3) destabilizes the globe, and Donald Rumsfeld (5) refuses to take responsibility for his actions.


Jenna Bush's Legal Defense Team - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - So, it looks like President Bush's daughter Jenna is in the news yet again, and as usual the news is substance-abuse related. We here at DU are still reluctant label a 19-year-old private citizen a "conservative idiot," particularly for something as commonplace as underage drinking. In fact, Jenna Bush is becoming something of a hero to those of us who take pride in exposing conservative hypocrisy. I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing self-righteous pricks in the so-called "Party of Personal Responsibility" preach to the rest of us about the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions, while they (and their children) refuse to take responsibility for their own mistakes. No doubt the responsible thing for Jenna to do is to admit she broke the law, pay the fine, do the community service, and get on with her life. Of course, when your father is a multimillionaire and the most powerful man on the face of the earth, you don't have to do the responsible thing. Instead, daddy can hire some hotshot lawyer to fight the thing tooth-and-nail, which appears to be exactly what happened. Despite all indications that the judge and the prosecutor were going to let Jenna off the hook with a smile and a slap on the wrist, her lawyer filed a continuance so he could have more time to prepare for the case. Um, what, exactly, is he preparing for? The trial of the century? In a related story, Johnny Cochran was recently overheard in an Austin courtroom saying, "if her daddy's a twit, you must acquit."


Dick Cheney - RETURN! Weeks on chart: 7 - After a prolonged energy crisis in California, Dick Cheney finally got around to outlining the Bush Administration's approach to energy policy. Here's a surprise: He called for more energy production, and less reliance on energy conservation. The centerpiece of the Administration's proposal is their plan to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), an environmentally disastrous idea that wouldn't provide relief to Californians until years after the state has solved it's own problem. If I were a cynical person, I might just think that oil-slick Dick was using the California thing as an excuse to pay back his old buddies in the oil business. "Hey, thanks for the $30 million in stock options you gave me. Here's some pristine wilderness for you to despoil!" To their critics, Cheney says: "President Bush and I are westerners The quickest way to lose respect in my part of the country is to act harshly or selfishly toward the natural world and its habitants." Indeed.


George W. Bush - LAST WEEK: 4 Weeks on chart: 14 - Dubya is on a foreign-policy roll, bringing honor, integrity, and most of all, consistency to our nation's international affairs. After handing a spy plane over to the Chicoms, killing a bunch of school kids in a Japanese fishing boat, pulling out of the Kyoto agreement, and misspeaking about Taiwan, The Stupid One decided that now would be a great time to piss off everyone else on the planet by scrapping the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty so he could spend another hundred billion dollars on the Star Wars program. Never mind that the engineering geniuses at military-industrial behemoth Lockheed-Martin-Northrop-Grumman-Boeing couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a broomstick (or a Patriot missile).


Tom DeLay - RETURN! Weeks on chart: 7 - The Hammer continued his jihad against campaign finance reform last week, arguing before a House committee that the U.S. should eliminate all restrictions on political fundraising. To drive home his point, Delay said: "I don't think there is enough money in the campaign finance system today." Apparently Tom inhaled a few too many pesticides when he was an exterminator back in Texas, 'cause if there's one thing our campaign finance system ain't lacking, it's cash. But what do you expect from a guy who has spent most of his life shaking-down people for bribes - er, campaign contributions? The Hammer won't rest until every man, woman, and child in the US has "maxed out" to the NRCC.


Donald Rumsfeld - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - Further confusing US-China relations, the Rumsfeld-Bush (AKA "Rum and Coke") Defense policy juggernaut released and then retracted a memo suspending all military ties with Beijing. It turns out that Defense Secretary and Nixonian Cold-War Relic Donald Rumsfeld instead meant to weigh future contacts on a case-by-case basis. In what is becoming an honored tradition in the Bush Administration, the Rumster placed the blame on some faceless underling who "misinterpreted the secretary's intentions." So, looks like we've got a pattern developing: 1) Cabinet member (Rumsfeld, Whitman, Veneman) announces extreme policy decision which he/she is led to believe the president approves of; 2) announcement is poorly received; 3) at behest of White House hack (probably Karl Rove or Karen Hughes), President stops napping and/or backslapping for a moment to reverse cabinet member's decision; and 4) cowardly cabinet member blames staffer. It's personal responsibility, Republican-style.


CNN - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - According to US News and World Report, the executives over at CNN, worried that their network "looks too liberal," are "making overtures to congressional conservatives practically begging them to come on." Hmm, that's funny. As far as I can tell, the only thing liberal about CNN is how liberally they heaped praise on Dubya during his first 100 days in office.


George Ryan - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - The Governor of Illinois has come under fire for his alleged role in a campaign-cash-for-favors scheme when he was Illinois Secretary of State. An official in Ryan's office has admitted that he was given permission to trade low-digit license plates in exchange for contributions to Ryan's campaign. And according to the Chicago Sun-Times, one individual told a grand jury that he gave Ryan $25,000 cash -- money "that went into Ryan's pocket, not his campaign fund." Federal officials "have obtained a list of people who hold license plates between 1 and 999, a list that includes politicians, their relatives and people who often donate money to politicians. The plates are considered the ultimate sign of clout." I guess Ryan wasn't satisfied to just sell license plates. He just might end up making them one day.


At least 81% of US Ambassadors - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - It is not unusual for an incoming Administration to reward their friends and big donors with ambassadorships to vitally-important posts in places like the Bahamas, Andorra, or Micronesia. But President Bush is handing out plum ambassadorships like lollipops at a birthday party. According to USA Today, so far Shrub has given 22 out of 27 ambassadorships (81%) to "people with political or personal connections and no diplomatic experience" (AKA "conservative idiots"). He even nominated a former college fraternity brother to be ambassador to China. This is a bad sign for already-strained Sino-U.S. relations, considering that the jocks back in DKE house used to think pummeling "pencil-necked Oriental geeks" and stealing their homework was, like, effin' hilarious. On the up side, imagine the bitchin' keggers they'll have in the Forbidden City.


Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - The Kentucky Senator and the Secretary of Labor are the first husband-and-wife team to appear together on the Top 10 List. At issue is a story from the New Republic - later picked up by a hometown paper in Kentucky - outlining connections between the couple and high-ranking Chinese officials, including Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Chao's father was a schoolmate of Jiang, and it appears that Chinese officials used the Chao family to gain influence with McConnell. When Chao became Secretary of Labor, she failed to disclose on a required form that she was director of a firm involved in a joint venture with the Chinese government. McConnell's non-response: The "most rudimentary research by a cub reporter would have revealed that Cross' source, John Judis, is a professional polemicist in journalist's clothing." (In other words, I don't deny any of the facts in the case.) Meanwhile, the silence of the GOP scandalmongers - who slammed Clinton for "kowtowing" to the Chinese communists - is deafening.


Ted Olson - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - And finally, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ted Olson, Bush's nominee for solicitor general, was asked whether he was involved at any time with the so-called "Arkansas Project," a $2 million investigation into the lives of Bill and Hillary Clinton, bankrolled by notorious conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Salon reports that Olson responded that "I was not involved in the project, in its origin or its management." However an audit of the Arkansas Project's books showed that the nonprofit funding the project paid more than $14,000 to Olson's law firm in 1994, and Olson admitted that he was a co-author of an anti-Clinton piece called "Criminal Laws implicated by the Clinton Scandals." When asked by committee Democrats for copies of his law firm's billing records, Olson claimed they were shielded by attorney-client privilege. As the evidence against Olson continued to mount, and his subsequent responses became ever more tortured, Olson finally exclaimed, "Oh, you mean that Arkansas Project!" See you next week!

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