Democratic Underground

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (Week 38)
October 1, 2001
Ari Force One Edition

Top 10 Conservative Idiots

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The national crisis seems to be bringing out the best in some people, and the worst in others. Ari "come fly our friendly lies" Fleischer (1) is steadfastly failing to follow his own advice, Bret Schundler (2) has figured out that using the World Trade Center disaster for his own political ends is surely a great idea, and Dick Armey (3) is waiting until people are down, then stepping on their necks and going through their wallets. Meanwhile Poppy Bush (6) is involved in a spot of dodgy dealing, Michelle Malkin (7) figured that the best thing she can do for New Yorkers is bash their junior Senator, and Rush Limbaugh (10) is frothing at the mouth (no news there then). A big thanks goes to Elad for contributing to this week's list, and you can be sure that the icons will be back next time. Until then...

1Ari Fleischer
Has anyone noticed that you can't spell LIAR without an A, an R and an I? You know, most people would have given Bush the benefit of the doubt when he was shipped off to Nebraska by the Secret Service - they knew there was danger and were trying to protect his ass, and rightly so. So why did Ari have to reflexively make up a fraudulent cover story about Bush being directly in the line of fire? According to Ari, Air Force One received a phone call containing "code words" which indicated that it was a target - except no, actually there was no such phone call. Ari later backed down - White House staffers had "apparently misunderstood comments made by their security detail." Hmm. Maybe they were too busy still fixing all that damage from the last time the Clintons flew on Air Force One, eh Ari? But as if that wasn't enough, Ari later decided to give us a little insight into the administration's current feelings on freedom of speech: "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say." I guess those two reporters who were fired last week for writing articles critical of Bush found that out the hard way. You can read Ari's remarks for yourself at the White House website - well, actually you can't, because they were deleted from the transcript (the White House claimed a "transcription error" - how convenient. Funny that they haven't fixed the "error" yet.) Fortunately the Associated Press got it right.

2Bret Schundler
Our congratulations go out to Bret Schundler. Last week Bret became the first candidate to air a TV ad featuring scenes of the destroyed World Trade Center for the purposes of trying to gain political points. Didn't take long, did it? Ironically, Schundler was taking heat recently for bashing New Jersey's emergency services' response to the September 11 attacks, and now he's done a quick one-eighty - oh, but not for his own political gain, of course. Why, that would be shameful. But don't just take it from me - here's Thomas P. Canzanella, president of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey: "I find it almost disgusting and despicable that a person who aspires to be the governor of the state of New Jersey needs to trade not only on a horrendous situation, but with New York firefighters... You have someone who's attempting to portray, if you will, his alliance with police and firemen, when he doesn't have one." (Oh, by the way - Schundler's spin doctors tried to portray Canazella's remarks as a partisan attack on a candidate who was merely trying to bring people together, if you can believe that.)

3Dick Armey
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, airlines were faced with the grim prospect of staying in business after losing days of income and with the inevitable massive drop-off in air travel. In the sprit of good capitalism, Congress signed a $15 billion bail-out program for the airlines so they could stay in business. But despite thie bail-out, tens of thousands of airline employees were laid off. So, of course, Congress moved to make sure that the working people who were violently thrown out of their livelihood because of the terrorist attacks were taken care of, right? There's no way that we would let the terrorists put tens of thousands of hard-working American citizens out of a job, right? If keeping the airlines in business is important, than surely helping out all those middle- and lower-class workers is TWICE as important, right? Well, not if you ask Dick Armey. In response to a Democratic proposal to extend benefits to the laid-off workers, Armey said, "the model of thought that says we need to go out and extend unemployment benefits and health insurance benefits and so forth is not I think one that is commensurate with the American spirit here." Yep - it seems that the "American spirit," in the eyes of Republicans, is to make sure huge corporations still have a bottom line. The tens of thousands of American citizens who now can't feed their families should probably just, what, pull themselves up by the bootstraps?

4Kay O'Connor
She's an "old-fashioned woman" - damn straight! Yes, Kansas state senator Kay O'Connor recently took the unusual step of declaring the 19th Amendment to be a load of hogwash when she was asked to appear at the Johnson County League of Women Voters' ''Celebrate the Right to Vote'' luncheon. She declined, telling organizer Delores Furtado that ''You probably wouldn't want me there because of what I would have to say.'' Well at least she's as honest as she is bonkers. According to O'Connor, ''Men should take care of women, and if men were taking care of women (today) we wouldn't have to vote.'' Apparently O'Connor doesn't care much what her constituents think of this view. ''If I don't get re-elected, my only punishment is to go home to my husband and my roses and my children and my grandchildren.'' How nice.

5Silvio Berlusconi
The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder in Berlin last week to discuss anti-terrorism strategies - and managed to end up doing a passable impression of the biggest terrorist in history, Adolf Hitler. Comparing Western civilization to Islamic countries, Berlusconi said, "We should be confident of the superiority of our civilization," and, "[the West] is bound to occidentalize and conquer new people. It has done it with the Communist world and part of the Islamic world, but unfortunately, a part of the Islamic world is 1,400 years behind. From this point of view, we must be conscious of the strength and force of our civilization." But it gets better (or worse, as the case may be.) Berlusconi then attempted to capitalize on the World Trade Center disaster and defend his brutal treatment of anti-globalization protestors in Genoa earlier this year. According to him, you see, anti-globalization protestors are no better than terrorists: "[the terrorists were trying] to stop the corrupting effect of Western civilization on the Islamic world," he said, while "the antiglobalization movement criticizes from within Western civilization the Western way of life, trying to make Western civilization feel guilty." Yes, it wouldn't do to have people criticizing the status quo, now, would it? Funny really, all this time I thought that one of the beauties of Western civilization was the freedom to criticize without being locked up and beaten. My mistake...

6George H. W. Bush
Did you know that the President's dad works for the bin Laden family business? It's true - The New York Times reported back in March that ex-President Bush was touring Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Carlyle Group, using his political contacts to further his business interests. Interestingly, according to Judicial Watch, the bin Laden family has a substantial investment in the Carlyle Group, and have met with George Bush Sr. on several occasions. The tough part for Poppy is that the bin Laden family are currently under investigation following the September 11 attacks - the FBI recently subpoenaed their bank records to find out whether they're funding Osama or not. So considering this obviously massive conflict of interest, will Poppy resign from his position at Carlyle? Don't bet on it. Since when does international terrorism get in the way of making a fat profit?

7Michelle Malkin
Conservatives are more than happy for the left-wing to bend over for the cause of "unity" (why, for us to do anything else would surely be unpatriotic) but it seems that they don't mind giving us a swift kick in the pants while our butts are up in the air. Columnist Michelle Malkin ripped into Senator Clinton last week, comparing her to a "5-year-old," and saying, "she suffers from a fatal inability to put love of country above love of self." Yes, once again we see that in order to be true patriots and Americans we must simply agree with whatever the Republicans want, and stand idly by while they do and say whatever they please. I'm curious what Ms. Malkin would have said if Senator Clinton had chosen not to go to the aid of her constituents in New York. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

8Michael Reagan and "the Webers"
Speaking of unity... of all the incomprehensible blather we've heard from conservatives in the last couple of weeks, this pretty much takes the cake. Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan (now making pots of cash off his father's name), posted an open letter to George W. Bush from "the Webers" on his website last week which claims that the REAL terrorist we have to stop is none other than - you guessed it - Bill Clinton. "If you are a man true to your word, we have one international terrorist whom we suggest that you arrest immediately," quoth the Webers. "Mr. President, your actions against terrorism are good. But, if you are truly serious, you must also bring 'Evil Bill' Clinton to justice. It is abundantly clear that he is a domestic criminal." Sigh. So let's get this straight... terrorists crash airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, kill thousands of people, and Michael Reagan is endorsing the Webers' suggestion that Bush should hunt down and arrest Bill Clinton. Why aren't we surprised?

9The Family Research Council
And... we're back. Politics as usual is slowly returning to Washington - last week it was the turn of the conservative Family Research Council to lay into George W. Bush. Hang on a minute, I thought we weren't supposed to be criticizing Bush? Well, it seems that certain criticisms are more equal than others, especially when it comes to picking on Bush for being too "pro-gay." Yep, in a time when Americans have to "watch what they say," the Family Research Council seems to be getting a free pass for criticizing the President over his "implicit endorsement" of the "homosexual political agenda." In a memo last week, FRC President Ken Connor wrote down a whole list of beefs he has with Bush: letting openly gay Rep. Jim Kolbe speak at the GOP convention, naming a "militant advocate of homosexual rights," as ambassador to Canada (Paul Celluci), choosing "prominent gay activist" Scott Evertz to head the White House AIDS office, and more. The memo was also critical of Colin Powell for presiding over the swearing-in of "openly homosexual foreign service officer" Michael Guest as ambassador to Romania. Presumably, though, Ari Fleischer won't be making much of an effort to get the FRC to shut up. For starters, they're not liberals - and let's face it, if there's one thing conservatives hate more than criticism of Bush, it's the "gay agenda."

10Rush Limbaugh
And finally: it's good old Rush and his reliable sources. El Lumpo went on the rampage last week after ABC news anchor Peter Jennings accused President Bush live on air, September 11, for not returning to Washington immediately. Outraged, Rush pounced on his microphone like it was a double Whopper with cheese. "Little Peter couldn't understand why George Bush didn't address the nation sooner than he did," said the Tonnage On Loan From God, "and even made snide comments like, 'Well, some presidents are just better at it than others,' and 'Maybe it's wise that certain presidents just not try to address the people of the country.'" Rush went on to explain that Jennings was foolish, whining, babyish, and an example of liberals' unrealistic selfishness. It's a shame that Limbaugh went off on this tirade when the only evidence he had was an e-mail from a friend, because - surprise - it turned out to be completely false, and he had to make a full on-air retraction after ABC protested. Said Rush, "we will correct this and be upfront about it, so as to avoid any uncertain angst and unnecessary angst on the part of our colleagues at ABC." A bit late really, considering that Jennings had already received 10,000 angry e-mails and phone calls. My advice: Instead of hiring people to carry him to the bathroom, Rush should employ some researchers. See you next week!

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