Democratic Underground

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 49)
January 7, 2002
Brand New Year, Same Old Idiocy Edition

Top 10 Conservative Idiots

Hope everyone had a good holiday season - we certainly did, because it gave us an excuse not to have to hunt for conservative idiots for a week or two. If you think it's maddening to read, you should try researching and writing it... good grief! But as 2001 fades slowly into memory, and 2002 is but a few weeks old, conservative idiocy sadly remains a constant presence. Orrin Hatch grabs the number one position this week for telling blatant fibs which would make his mother ashamed. Meanwhile, George W. Bush (2) is following in his father's footsteps, our "good friends" Saudi Arabia (3) are doing their bit to put an end to the gay agenda, and Rudy Giuliani (4) seems to be letting that "Person of the Year" stuff go to his head. Elsewhere we find Bill O'Reilly (7) displaying his complete and utter impartiality, American Airlines (9) taking racial profiling to interesting new levels, and USA Today (10) demonstrating why they should probably think about changing their name to "USA Toady." Enjoy! (Oh, and you'll notice this week that the key is back.)

1Orrin Hatch hypocrisy hypocrisy covering your ass excessive spin
New year, new hypocritical swill leaking from the GOP slop-bucket... Orrin Hatch was spotted bashing Democrats for a "systematic and calculated effort to confirm the absolute minimum number" of George W. Bush's judicial nominees. "Contrary to the widely held belief," he sniffed in a recent column, "the Republicans did not play such games when Bill Clinton was president." Oh really? Here's the Washington Post's take on Hatch's ludicrous claim: "During Mr. Hatch's tenure as committee chairman, the average time between a judicial nomination and final Senate action grew substantially, with individual nominees sitting around for outrageously long periods of time - sometimes years. In 1999, Mr. Hatch went so far as to freeze consideration of all nominees for several months in an effort to force Mr. Clinton to nominate a conservative lawyer favored by Mr. Hatch for a district judgeship in Utah. Before Mr. Hatch complains too loudly about the 28 nominees the Senate confirmed this year, moreover, he should recall that in 1996, the Senate confirmed only 17." So is our Orrin suffering from a rare and unpleasant form of selective amnesia? Or is he just a big fat liar? We report, you decide.

2George W. Bush excessive spin dumb
"Not over my dead body will they raise taxes!" Thus spake Dubya last week. But leaving aside the comedy misphrasing (not over my dead body?!), poor George could end up pulling a "Read my lips - no new taxes" of his very own. Like father like son I guess. However, it looks like Bush Jr.'s administration has come up with a novel new way of hiding his taxes - by simply, um, not calling them taxes. Last week the Department of Transportation issued a rule which will impose a $2.50 "fee" on all air travelers, to help the government pay for the cost of providing security. See, it's not a tax - it's a fee! What's the difference, you say? Duh! Taxes are when you give the government some money so they can pay for stuff. Fees are when you add a little extra money onto the price of something, which then, um, goes to the government so they can pay for stuff. Make sense? Good, I'm glad we cleared that up. I suppose it would be foolish to mention that there's a chance these "fees" might be going to cover the cost of the $14 billion in corporate welfare that the government just gave to the airlines, wouldn't it? Okay, I'll shut up now then.

3Saudi Arabia homophobia just plain evil
"The President, from the first day, has been very satisfied with the actions of the Saudi government and the Saudi people," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in response to the September 11 attacks. Oh yes, they've been a real boon in the war against terrorism, haven't they? Gag. Now, since Bush's goverment translators "accidentally" missed out the embarrasing bits in the now-famous bin Laden video tape, presumably the administration won't want to ruffle any more feathers - which is a shame, because last week Saudi Arabia executed three men for the heinous crime of... wait for it... homosexuality. And what an execution. The men were publicly beheaded in the Saudi mountain "resort town" of Abha (uh, I think I'll pass on a vacation there, thanks) after falling foul of Saudi Arabia's extremely strict interpretation of Islamic law. But don't expect the Bush administration to speak out on these sickening human rights violations - they're too busy whispering sweet nothings into the Saudi government's earholes (see Idiots 48.) Not that Bush would be one to complain about a) more executions, and b) less homosexuals, of course.

4Rudy Giuliani excessive spin massive ego
Rudy Giuliani must now be of the opinion that being Time magazine's "Person of the Year" gives him a free pass to just make stuff up and pass it off as the truth (although of course he is a Republican so what do you expect?) At his farewell speech last week, Giuliani boasted of New York's impressive crime rate drop - apparently there was a 67 percent increase in Boston's murder rate while New York's dropped 12 percent. In addition, Giuliani said, "San Diego has 16 percent more crime than New York. And in the last six months' statistics, San Diego had crime go up by 3.9 percent; New York City had it go down by 7.6 percent." Uh... um... ah... well, no actually. The San Diego Times reported that the crime statistics certainly didn't come from the FBI, and NYPD spokesman Tom Antenen confirmed that the figures had in fact come from a New York Times survey. Oddly enough though, that particular survey stated that New York's drop in murders was 5.2 percent, not 12 percent as Rudy had stated. Oh, and San Diego's 16 percent more crime than NYC was per capita, not overall. Rudy must have simply "misspoken," I'm sure. But the question still remains - why did Giuliani choose to not only lie about his achievements, but base his stats on newspaper surveys instead of getting the correct numbers from the FBI? Well hey, he's the Person of the Year. He can do that you know.

5Dirk Kempthorne cowardice cowardice cowardice
Welcome to Fort Kempthorne! That's what Idaho residents have renamed the state capital after Governor Dirk Kempthorne recently surrounded it with concrete barriers and other security measures in the wake of September 11. It seems that rather a lot of people are upset that Dirk spent $335,000 on his hidey-hole when the rest of state government is cutting spending in other areas - and not only that, but their Governor is making himself look like a bit of a pantywaist in the process. "I hope the governor feels secure sitting in his fortress while the rest of us are sitting in traffic,'' wrote a Boise resident to The Idaho Statesman. "The office of the governor is not for cowards, something to think about next election." Well quite. Because I suppose if you think about it, there's about as much chance of terrorists targeting Idaho as there is of Rush Limbaugh getting a gig doing SlimFast commercials.

6Marc Racicot quid pro quo anti-environment
In Idiots 48 we made mention of the fact that Marc Racicot, the new head of the Republican National Committee, was also whoring for seven different lobbying organizations. Of course, the GOP claimed that there would be absolutely no hint of a conflict of interest. No sirree. So it is interesting to note that the Bush administration is preparing to announce regulatory changes which would favor big corporations and seriously weaken the 1970 Clean Air Act. "If these changes are implemented as we understand, industry would be allowed to increase their emissions significantly more than what they would be allowed under existing law," said S. William Becker, executive director of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials. Not that this is much of a surprise for an administration as anti-environment as this one. So what does this all have to do with Marc Racicot? Well, as we pointed out in Idiots 48, one of the lobbying organizations he works for have been recently engaged in intensive lobbying to... yes, weaken the Clean Air Act. It looks like having the head of the RNC on your team can do wonders for your lobbying power. Conflict of interest? Nonsense!

7Bill O'Reilly partisanship partisanship partisanship hypocrisy
"No Spin Zone," my ass. Last week, Bill "not a conservative, honest" O'Reilly wrote a fascinating opinion piece suggesting that Bill Clinton acted unwisely by sending $70 million in aid to the people of Afghanistan. "Boy, that was money well spent," sneered O'Reilly. "Did the Taliban ensure that the money got to the poor folks? Did you check out Mullah Muhammed Omar's compound in Kandahar?" It makes you wonder what Bill thinks about the $43 million that George W. Bush sent over there just last year - but wonder is all you'll be able to do I'm afraid, because Mr. O'Reilly has remained curiously silent on the matter. Not that he's just, ooh, I dunno, shilling for the Bush administration or anything. I mean, this is Bill O'Reilly we're talking about here - a man of principles and integrity. An "independent thinker." A fierce non-partisan. A man who is willing to give a fair shake of the stick to those on the right and on the left. The master of "no-spin." A man who will... oh, I'm sorry. My keyboard just exploded.

8Julia Gorin Clinton hating Clinton hating dumb
Last week, we learned (once again) that conservatives' hatred toward Bill Clinton knows no bounds, and observes no standards of common decency. When Clinton's dog Buddy was struck and killed by a car, expressions of conservative compassion toward the former president were few and far between. Imus made jokes about it. CNN's Aaron Brown quipped, "The former president may have acted like a dog; Buddy was the real thing." But then virtual unknown Julia Gorin put them all to shame with her heaping pile of excrement in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "What happened to Buddy is precisely what can be expected to happen to a dog when it's meant to be little more than a pawn in its owners' continuing attempts to impersonate human beings... So Buddy's dead. Socks they gave away. Has anyone seen Chelsea? Personally, I was surprised the girl made it past the '93 inauguration, having already done her part to fulfill the minimum family-unit requirement so her parents could have a political life. Of course, she was a self-sufficient adolescent by then, not quite as vulnerable as a dependent canine." So let me get this straight
- Bill Clinton murdered Vince Foster, Ron Brown, Jim McDougal, and his dog Buddy. And he's been trying to kill his own daughter for the last nine years. Quick! Somebody impeach him before he kills again!

9American Airlines racism
Welcome to the brave new world of airport security. On Christmas day, American Airlines spread a little holiday cheer by kicking an Arab-American Secret Service agent off of one of their planes. American claims that the agent, who is assigned to protect the president, was given the boot because of paperwork "inconsistencies." Later, another passenger came forward to say that the agent was in fact "kicked off the plane because of his race." Boy, this September 11 thing sure is handy. Want to raise taxes? Call it a "security fee." Want to return to deficit spending? Say it's for "national security." And security is a great excuse to keep all of those irritating minorities from riding on airplanes with the rest of us. Looks like the conservative master plan is falling right into place.

10USA Today excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin partisanship
And finally: Add USA Today to the list of newspapers caught whoring for the GOP. A couple days after Christmas, they published an article outlining how Enron, the disgraced energy giant, gave 73% of it's nearly $5.8 million in political donations to Republicans since 1989. During the last campaign, Enron chief executive Ken Lay raised over $350,000 for the Republican Party and his buddy George W. Bush. For most of the year 2001, Enron's donations favored Republicans by a ratio of 9 to 1. Then, only a week before declaring bankruptcy, the company abruptly changed course and gave $100K to the Democrats (who then decided to give the money to charity). So, what does USA Today use as the title of this article? Here at DU, we might suggest: "Enron donations favor GOP by 3 to 1." Or: "Enron tries to hide pro-GOP history with last minute donation." But the folks at USA Today decided to run with this jaw-dropping headline instead: "Enron donates to Democrats just before bankruptcy." Damned liberal media! See you next week!

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