Democratic Underground

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (Week 48)
December 17, 2001
Don't Bogart That Braincell Edition

Top 10 Conservative Idiots

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We're not sure what Asa Hutchinson's been smoking, but it must be some good shit - because he's made it all the way to the top of the chart this week. America's finest - the Enron Executives - have bankrupted themselves into second, and George W. Bush makes his customary appearance, this time in the third slot. Meanwhile Tommy Thompson (4) wants us all to slim for victory, Charles and Frances Witcomb (5) are making complete fools of themselves, and Junius P. Fulton (6) gives everyone a much-needed lesson on the consequences of irresponsible gun ownership. Bringing up the rear we've got Mark Racicot (9), greasing the wheels of power with his own slime, and the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson (10), who is really just a great big crybaby. Enjoy...

1Asa Hutchinson
Do you drink beer or coffee? Eat corn chips or snack bars? Then you could be a closet junkie! The Pittsburgh Post Gazette recently turned up an interesting tidbit buried deep in the Federal Register, which indicates just how far conservatives will go to fight their ridiculous war on drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency, headed by former GOP congressman Asa Hutchinson, has announced that it will take steps to ban certain brands of a wide variety of foods because they contain hempseed oil, and thus trace elements of THC. THC, in case you didn't know, is the evil substance which turns straight-laced, productive members of society into wild-eyed, crazy swingers who party till dawn to the sound of the jungle drums and engage in all-night orgies with multiple partners of either sex. Or something like that. So no more tortilla chips for you, stoner boy! But what the DEA don't realize is that this ban will only serve to drive snack-food addicts onto the streets, traveling to seedy neighborhoods and selling their bodies for just one more hit of those sweet, sweet Doritos. Of course, all joking aside, the real irony is that you could smoke a pound of top-drawer Amsterdam Skunk and still be less paranoid than Asa Hutchinson.

2Enron Executives
After a sudden and precipitous collapse, Congress is starting to take an interest in Bush & Co.'s bosom buddies at Enron. And considering the stink over that nonevent called "Whitewater," you'd better damn well think so. Funny really, how our great new president was supposed to return honor and integrity to the White House, and now we're going to find out that he and his cronies are up to their necks in Enron poo. But one step at a time, my friends, one step at a time. The first job was for Congress was to call Enron executives, including Chief Executive Ken Lay, before a special investigative subcommittee. Enron's response? "Uh, nah, I think we'll give it a pass thanks." Yes, that's right - the executives decided that they had better things to do than appear before a Congressional subcommittee to explain why their fraudulent accounting and securities law violations caused thousands of people to lose their jobs. Poor Enron spokeswoman Karen Denne, who'd obviously been thinking all night, was left to come up with the worst excuse since "the cat ate my homework." Quote: "We don't believe that we would be able to adequately serve the interests of the committee while at the same time we're trying to serve the interests of our creditors' shareholders, and former and current employees." Oh, how very considerate of you Enron.

3George W. Bush
We don't need no steenkin' missile treaties! Our great president announced last week that he was about to abandon the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty so he can chase his missile defense pipe-dream. Apparently, while he was in Crawford, Vladimir Putin had assured Bush that abandoning the treaty would be just fine, which would explain why he turned around last Tuesday and called it a "mistake." Looks like it only takes a couple of glasses of Texas chardonnay and our George'll let anyone put their hand down his pants. Anyway, the great news is that the brand new defense contractor welfare program, um, I mean, National Missile Defense system, is going exactly according to plan, flunking a test last week when an interceptor veered off course thirty seconds after launch and had to be blown up by operators on the ground (perhaps they should build a missile defense system to protect us from the missile defense system?) So I guess we'll only have to sink a few more tens of billions of tax dollars into the program before the defense contractors declare it a failure and sell the new technology back to us for a profit. God bless America!

4Tommy Thompson
Is there anything that this administration won't call "patriotic" if it suits them? Apparently not. According to the LA Times, the latest piece of dumb propaganda comes straight from the mouth of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who wants people to lose ten pounds for their country. A recent study shows that 62% of Americans are overweight, up from 48% in 1980. And so, quite rightly, Tommy Thompson is asking people to watch what they eat. Unfortunately, as is de rigeur these days, he obviously felt the need to add "as a patriotic gesture." So what, we're going to win the war on terrorism if everyone does a bit of jogging? Gimme a break. And what happens if you don't lose ten pounds? Do you get arrested for sedition? But on the other hand, this could work out: perhaps in light of Tommy's suggestion, we should call on Rush Limbaugh to do his bit for these fine United States, and get on the treadmill. C'mon Rush - you don't want anyone to think you're being unpatriotic do you?

5Charles and Frances Witcomb
Here's another splendid example of conservatives trying to stick their noses in where they don't belong. Step forward Charles and Frances Witcomb of Dover, NH. The Witcombs are members of Dover's oxymoronically (with the emphasis on moronically) titled "Common Sense Conservatives," and they have quite a beef with the Dover Coalition for Youth (DCY), a community support group for local teenagers. Why on earth is that, you ask yourselves? Well it seems that the DCY have audaciously included a gay support group on the list of resources in their pamphlets. And not only that, but they have refused to consider the Witcomb's requests to include Exodus International, an "ex-gay" ministry which practices the extremely dubious methods of gay conversion "therapy." Shock! Horror! What's a "common sense conservative" to do? Well, taking a page from the Linda Tripp playbook, Frances Witcomb brought along a tape recorder to a DCY meeting. (Although we have no idea what she was trying to achieve - uncovering evidence of the "gay agenda," perhaps?) Predictably, DCY members told her to piss off. So, in Common Sense Conservative fashion, Charles and Frances sued the city. Nobody was particularly surprised when the city told them to piss off as well, since the DCY is a private group which holds private meetings, and does not receive tax dollars. And can thus do pretty much what they like. Oh, and I must have forgotten to mention that state wiretapping laws require permission from those being recorded. Undaunted, the Witcombs are currently appealing to the state Supreme Court. Conservative common sense at its finest.

6Junius P. Fulton III
Question: what do you get if you play around with a gun in your front yard, and it accidentally goes off and kills someone in the house next door? Answer: if Junius P. Fulton III is your judge, you get off scot free. And that's exactly what recently happened to Timothy Woods of Ocean View, VA. After Woods heard two gunshots outside his home one night last January, his first reaction was to get his new gun, go outside, and fire off a warning shot. You know. As you would. Anyway, according to the Virginian Pilot, after going outside Woods didn't fire a shot but instead, "held the gun and admired it. He pulled the trigger several times while keeping the hammer from striking the casing." Um, that is, until it went off. The bullet traveled across the street, went through Scott Rein's back door, hit him in the back, and killed him. Woods told detectives that he didn't know where the bullet had gone, but became suspicious that he had killed someone after he came home from a party late that night and found police crawling all over Rein's house. So Woods did the honorable thing - he took the shell casing down to the dock the next morning, and threw it into the water. Two weeks later he was arrested and charged with murder, which was eventually reduced to involuntary manslaughter. But the trial concluded last week with Judge Junius P. Fulton III dismissing all charges, calling the occurrence a "tragedy." Yes, Woods clearly had no culpability in the matter whatsoever, and surely could not be called negligent. He just happened to be there playing with his gun when it went off all by itself. You know, it's like if you're driving your car down the street, looking for a CD on the floor, and you accidentally jump the curb and mow somebody down, well hell, it's not your fault right? Oh, but I forgot - irresponsible gun ownership is a right, not a privilege.

7The Bush Administration and Friends
According to the Boston Herald, Saudi Arabia is, "perhaps the biggest incubator for anti-Western Islamic terrorists." So it's interesting to note that for all the talk of "rooting out the evil-doers" and "you're either with us or you're against us," the Bush administration and friends are making out like bandits in Saudi Arabia. Take for example former president George H.W. Bush, senior adviser with the Carlyle Group, an organization which has deep ties to the Saudi royal family. Or Dick Cheney, who as head of Halliburton, Inc. worked to secure several large contracts with Saudi companies. Or Condoleeza Rice, who was a member of the board of directors of Chevron, another company with a LOT of business in Saudi Arabia. So since it doesn't look like the Bush administration is going to be clamping down on Saudia Arabia's pro-terrorist activate any time soon, may we ask just who is the "us" Bush refers to in his mantra "you're either with us or you're against us?" Is he talking about the American people, or just a bunch of his fat-cat oil baron friends? Gee, I wonder...

8Telecommunications Lobbyists
Congressional Republicans have never met a poor, ailing corporation they didn't want to take home and snuggle up to. Take NextWave Telecom, for example, who in 1996 purchased 63 wireless licenses from the government for $4.7 billion. Two years later NextWave went bust, after only paying $500 million. The FCC repossessed the licenses and re-auctioned them, but NextWave sued - and won. Here's where it gets interesting. When the FCC re-auctioned the repossessed licenses, back in December 2000, they received bids up to $16 billion from a variety of companies. But a court ruled that NextWave owns the licenses until 2006. So in order to settle the case, the plan is that the companies which won the bidding for the re-auctioned licenses would give the government $16 billion. The government would then give NextWave Telecom $6 billion. So if you've been doing the math, that's a $5.5 billion dollar profit for a company who had to do nothing (they never signed up a single customer by the way) but go bankrupt. And, according to FCC head Michael "son of Colin" Powell, the government doesn't have much choice. So chalk one up for the special interests - that's $6 billion of government money down the drain.

9Mark Racicot
When poor old Jim Gilmore got the boot as head of the RNC earlier this year (fancy handing the governorship of Virginia to a Democrat for goodness sake. Oh, what's that? He wanted to spend more time with his family? Uh, right, sure) his replacement was chosen quickly. Marc Racicot - successful politician and close friend of George W. Bush, was nominated to fill the empty chair. But interestingly, according to the Washington Post, Racicot is also a "major player in Washington's lobbying industry." And guess what - he has no intention from stepping down from that role, even as he heads the party which holds both the White House and the House of Representatives. Gee, can you spell "Konflict of Intrest?" (I can't.) Racicot is currently registered as a lobbyist with seven organizations, although he has wisely decided to back away from one of them (yep - it's Enron.) But he is sticking with the National Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, who are currently engaged in intensive lobbying to weaken the Clean Air Act. Last week, Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the DNC, said, "There is a real potential there for abuse, but the decision is ultimately up to the Republican Party." So there's absolutely nothing to worry about then. I'm sure we can leave it in the GOP's safe hands.

10Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson
And finally: Drama queen of the week award goes to the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a conservative "civil rights leader", who recently showed up to disrupt a trade bureau event. The event was scheduled to announce a settlement between Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH organization and Toyota Motors. (Toyota have pledged to spend $700 million on minority outreach programs.) Peterson used a question and answer session to insist that Jesse Jackson would benefit personally from the deal - the crowd turned ugly, and Peterson was escorted out. But the real theatrics began when Peterson appeared on Sean Hannity's radio show and claimed that he now feared for his life. "After leaving that meeting Monday I realized that these people are so mean and desperate that they would take me out," he lamented. And then, to put the icing on the cake, "Sean, if anything happens to me I want you to make sure you turn this tape over to the authorities and have them look into Jesse Jackson's organization or anybody that's connected with him. Jackson may not personally do it himself, but I personally believe that he would order it done." Sounds like somebody needs to take a chill pill. Incidentally, Rev. Peterson also appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" last week - before every commercial break a teaser breathlessly insinuated that he'd been roughed up by Jesse Jackson - until he appeared in the final segment and lamely explained that some people had been a bit annoyed with him. See you next week!

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