Democratic Underground

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (Week 25)
July 2, 2001
Silver Jubilee Edition

Top 10 Conservative Idiots

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Well would you believe it, it's Week 25 already. To celebrate we wanted to pop the cork off a nice bottle of Dom Perignon, but sadly we had to make do with some sparkling wine out of a cardboard box. Fortunately though, if you shake the box real hard and shout BANG when you turn the plastic spigot, you can achieve a similar effect. And hey - it doesn't really matter whether it comes out of a box or a bottle. As long as it gets you there, right? So let's see who's on the list this week. We've got Tom Shortridge (1), for whom managing Republican campaigns and taking nudie pics of underage girls go hand in hand. We've got John Stossel (2), for whom kids say the darndest things - as long as you ask them the right questions. And we've got Katherine Harris (5), for whom partisanship is a twelve letter word. Elsewhere you'll find Tom DeLay (6) doing his best for inter-party relations, and Pat Robertson (10) trying to buy his way into heaven. Enjoy!


Tom Shortridge - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - Tom Shortridge, a South Bay Republican campaign consultant, was given three years probation last week. His crime? Taking dubious photographs of teenagers. Shortridge's attorney, Carl "Tony" Capozzola said his client acknowledged that mistakes were made, but did not believe the photographs of the 15- and 16-year-old girls were sexual in nature. Which is odd, because the investigation was started when a girl told police that her 16-year-old friend was given $100 and a beer to model topless for Shortridge. Apparently her friend told her that Shortridge had "about 50 pictures of naked girls," of the same age group. But of course Shortridge wasn't up to anything fishy. They were, um... modeling shots... officer. Shortridge could have gone to prison for six years if he had been convicted of molestation, but he pleaded "no contest" and was sentenced to apologize to the girls and their parents, undergo psychiatric counseling, perform 200 hours of community service, and refrain from contact with girls under 18 unless in the presence of another adult. His plea bargain (which incredibly reduced three misdemeanors and a felony to two misdemeanors) also assured that he would not have to register as a sex offender. It's family values and personal responsibility - conservative style!


John Stossel - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - Last week, ABC's John "Cheesemaster" Stossel appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to smarmily defend his new prime-time investigative special Global Warming Doesn't Exist And All Your Kids Are Brainwashed (I think that was the working title). For his special, Stossel decided that the best way to illustrate that global warming is all a big hoax would be to throw questions like "There are no scientists who think global warming is not occurring, right?" at ten-year-olds. After the interview, the kids' parents became worried that Stossel would manipulate the footage (duh), and asked for the interview to be pulled. Uproar ensued. Later in the week, Stossel was welcomed onto The O'Reilly Factor by a simpering Bill O'Reilly, who gently tossed him fluffy little softball questions. Stossel wrung his hands, shrugged his shoulders, and rolled his eyes in a sort of "oh, why me?" kind of way as O'Reilly sycophantically sympathized with him. Bill didn't even blink when Stossel said that the global warming lies were being perpetrated by the "totalitarian left." Ah, fair and balanced coverage. That's what we like to see. Still, at least O'Reilly doesn't have to play with the minds of small children to achieve the results he's looking for. Unless you count his entire audience of course.


Two Small Utah Towns - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - Welcome to the wonderful Utah towns of La Verkin, population 2000, and, um... Virgin, population 400. These small rural burghs, located just west of Bumblefuck, are home to a new uprising against those evil enemies of freedom, the United Nations. Yes, La Verkin and Virgin (sound like a pair of seventies TV detectives, don't they?) plan to vote next month on ordinances that declare the United Nations unwelcome within their town limits. As if this wasn't forehead-graspingly stupid enough, the ordinances would also ban the U.N. symbol on town property, and residents who support the United Nations must post signs that read "United Nations work conducted here" (presumably so they can be rounded up later). More fascinating Virgin facts: the town, whose residents have described themselves as "freedom-loving, independence-declaring folk" last year passed a law requiring each head of household in the town to own a gun. (Cue duelling banjos).


Vincent Morris - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - More lovely lies from the conservative propaganda machine, this time courtesy of the New York Post's Vincent Morris. "Hillary Hijacks Senate Office," screamed the headline to Morris's breathless "exclusive" last week, which pounded Hillary Clinton for "grabbing" extra office space since the Democrats won control of the Senate. Hillary Clinton "is the only Democrat in the Senate to get extra rooms since her party took control last month," fumed Morris. "The Democrats have had the gavel for two weeks and the first thing they do is give Hillary more space." If Morris had bothered to check his facts before writing his little hit piece, he would have discovered that according to Senate rules, Hillary now has exactly the amount of office space that the state of New York is entitled to. Prior to the Senate switchover, the two extra rooms which belonged to New York were being wrongfully occupied by Trent Lott. But now that Trent's outta there and the rooms have been returned to their rightful owner, it's apparently a "space grab." Don't hold your breath for a correction any time soon though - the New York Post aren't likely to let the facts get in the way of a little Clinton-smearing.


Katherine Harris - RETURN! Weeks on chart: 5 - Awww... can't someone just throw a bucket of water over Ms. Harris and be done with it? (I'm melting!) Last week the Mascara Marauder was shocked, shocked, that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission released a report which accused her and Jeb Bush of "presiding over an election in which blacks were systematically disenfranchised." Surely, exclaimed Katherine, surely this is a bogus report! And why would it be a bogus report, Katherine? Because the chair, Mary Frances Barry, "was rooting for Al Gore." Harris blamed the commission's "partisanship" on the fact that Barry supported Gore in last year's election. Oh dear, Katherine. And everyone hates you why? BREAKING NEWS JUST IN: Katherine Harris announces that everyone who rooted for Al Gore last year will be removed from Florida's voter rolls, in order to prevent any more "partisanship" from corrupting the voting process.


Tom DeLay - NEW! Weeks on chart: 8 - Tom was on Hardball doing his bit for bipartisanship last week, suggesting to Chris Matthews that Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle are, and I quote, "almost good friends with Saddam Hussein with their policies." Whoa, way to engender mutual respect for one's fellow politicians! That'll have them willing to compromise with you on key issues, Tom. He later added, "we have a president that is showing us principle and value in his leadership and we greatly appreciate that." Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Bush's approval ratings continued to slide gracefully down the shitter as the public expressed their appreciation for his principles and leadership. Ah, reality. It's a wonderful thing.


Elliott Abrams - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - Yes, George W. is a man of principle alright. The Bush administration continued its jobs program for criminals last week by appointing Elliott Abrams to a senior position at the White House National Security Council. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Abrams, in 1991 he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of withholding from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence his knowledge of Oliver North's Contra-assistance activities. Abrams was conveniently pardoned before trial by Bush Sr. - obviously he knew something that poppy didn't want people to hear. According to the White House, "Mr. Abrams is eminently qualified for his new position. He is the best person for the job." Well, that's good to know. Note to self: for better job prospects, pad out resume with "I pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress during an investigation into selling arms to Iran."


Michael Bloomberg - RETURN! Weeks on chart: 2 - The media mogul (yawn) turned politico sent out a campaign mailing last week featuring a glowing quote from Rudy Giuliani. "He's been able to run a business, run it successfully ... exactly what the city of New York needs." Now let's see what the quote actually said before it was inserted into the mailing - see if you can tell the difference: "He's been able to run a business, run it successfully, if he can convey a more direct and more honest approach, it might be exactly what the city of New York needs." Did you spot it? Hmmm, yes. Bloomberg's camp said the quote is "grammatically correct" because of the ellipses. Grammatically correct, maybe. Factually correct, well, we'll get back to you on that one. Amusingly, Michael Bloomberg has also been recently involved in a so far unsuccessful battle over the domain name "" which he rather desperately wants to get back from the current owner, Dan Parisi. Ha ha!


Dennis Hastert - NEW! Weeks on chart: 1 - John McCain recently wrote to House GOP members for whom he campaigned last year, seeking their support on a campaign finance overhaul. And last week Dennis Hastert had a little whining fit on Face The Nation, complaining, "I think Senator McCain shouldn't bully members of the House of Representatives, I don't care what party they're in. They ought to be able to make up their mind on what piece of legislation they're going to pass based on the merits.'' Obviously he completely missed the irony of going on TV to try and bully McCain into not bullying people. But if that hypocrisy isn't bad enough for you, don't forget that Dennis Hastert is chief lackey of Mr. Intimidation himself, Tom DeLay. In Idiots Week 24 we noted that GOP Congressmen lost a vote which would allow the IRS to spend $30 million sending out letters to taxpayers praising George W. Bush. So they stopped the clock as time ran out while DeLay went around the floor persuading key Republicans to change their vote. Bullying? Making up their mind on the merits? You decide. But obviously this passes Dennis Hastert's own version of the Dan Burton Smell Test - although frankly we're suprised he can smell anything with his nose shoved that far up Tom DeLay's butt.


Pat Robertson - RETURN! Weeks on chart: 3 - And finally: well oil be damned! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) If you were wondering what the Reverend Pat did with all the money he swindled out of little old Christian ladies, wonder no more. Who knew that Pat Robertson owned an oil company? Last week, Robertson's company applied to build a power plant in Baldwin Hills, CA, but he may need a little help from the man upstairs. Apparently Pat is having problems getting financing, and is blaming "Big Oil" for frustrating his efforts. Better ask your flock to start ponying up a little more cash, Reverend! Now what was that line about rich men, camels, and needles...? See you next week!

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