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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 52)
January 28, 2002
Clinton Surplus ... Bush Deficit Edition

Top 10 Conservative IdiotsThis week we celebrate the joys of fiscal irresponsibility. Why, here's George W. Bush (1), topping the list for managing to get rid of the Clinton Surplus within a year. Good job, George! We also have Arthur Andersen LLP (2) - ready, steady, shred! And look, here's Jeb Bush (5), who, by any Congressional Republican's definition, is raising taxes in Florida. Meanwhile, fundamentalism is creeping elsewhere on the list, with the Penryn Police Department (4) deciding that it's Christian to strike, and Pat Robertson (9) deciding that you're next, San Francisco. Bwahaha! Finally, we're pleased to note that George W. Bush (8) has made it onto the list twice this week, since we can't figure out whether he's more comfortable sitting behind the wheel of a combine harvester or driving the economy into the ground. Enjoy! (Here's the the key to the icons.)

1George W. Bush fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility greed dumb
Back when those fiscally-irresponsible, big-government, tax-and-spend liberals ran the show, the federal government was running yearly budget surpluses stretching into the future as far as the eye could see. Oh, what a difference a year makes. After the Bush Recession and the Bush Massive Tax Giveaway to the Rich, we now have the Bush Deficit. To be exact: the $127 billion surplus of 2001 has morphed into a $106 billion deficit for 2002. The Washington Post called it "the swiftest plunge in the nation's fiscal health in a half century." That's worse than Bush I, and even worse than Mr. Budget Deficit himself, Ronald Reagan. In fact, no lesser authority than the current White House budget director said that the budget would be in deficit for the rest of President Bush's term. So conservative ditto-monkeys, repeat after me, slowly: "Clinton Surplus Bush Deficit Clinton Surplus Bush Deficit Clinton Surplus Bush Deficit." There. How does it feel to have your entire economic worldview come crashing down in only one year?

2Arthur Andersen LLP cowardice cowardice cowardice
Two weeks ago we reported that the accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP had destroyed documents relating to it's client Enron. Since then it has become clear that this wasn't just a routine house cleaning, but rather an orchestrated effort to cover up the truth. It turns out that just two days after Enron announced publicly that the Securities and Exchange Commission was mounting an informal investigation of the company, an Arthur Andersen executive issued a frantic memo demanding that employees work overtime in order to shred Enron documents. This revelation came as David Duncan, the Arthur Andersen exec who handled the Enron account, refused to testify before Congress about his role in the affair. In another strange coincidence, it would seem that Nancy Temple, an attorney at Arthur Andersen, sent out an email shortly before the infamous shredding memo, reminding employees about the company's oxymoronically-named "document preservation policy," which (conveniently) calls for a whole lot of document desecration, ifyouknowwhatimean. Hmm. It makes me wonder what the "document preservation policy" is over at the White House.

3Thomas White crybaby greed greed
The Boo-Freaking-Hoo-Of-The-Month Award goes to Army Secretary Thomas White, a former Enron executive who last week revealed that he had suffered "significant personal losses" since the company went into bankruptcy. Wow - then surely Secretary White can relate to all the poor bastards who toiled for Enron for years before losing their jobs and their retirement savings! Why, he certainly can. I mean, sure it's true that White received $12.1 million when he was forced to sell his Enron stock before taking office last year, but do you have any idea what the cost of living is for a man with a seven-figure bank account these days? Goodness, there's the payments on that nice new Jag, Beluga caviar doesn't come cheap, and since 9/11 it's been practically impossible to hire illegal immigrants, you know. But despite the hardship he must be facing, Secretary White is putting on a brave face. Responding to an inquiry from Henry Waxman about his recent contacts with Enron, White wrote, "The nature of both conversations was a concern on their part for the impact that the bankruptcy of Enron may have had on my personal well-being. My response in both cases was that I had suffered significant personal losses, but that I would persevere." Woof. Thank goodness that our great army is led by a man of such fortitude, strength, and courage-under-fire.

4The Penryn Police Department dumb dumb dumb dumb
So it seems that the police can now pick and choose whom they will serve and protect. Last week Police Captain Robert Fichtorn of Penryn, PA, announced that his eight-man force would not be directing traffic at the local YMCA triathlon because - hold on to your hats - the club reads Harry Potter books to children. "I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft)," said Fichtorn. Oh, well, that's fair enough then! Yep, no need to actually do your job or anything like that. Kinda makes you wonder what will happen next... can we expect to see the Penryn PD refusing to assist Jews? What about atheists? Or will Robert Fichtorn only come to the aid of upstanding members of the community who go to church once a week, hang the Ten Commandments from their rear-view mirrors, and only engage in sexual intercourse for the purposes of procreation? Incidentally, about 600 athletes will compete in the triathlon, although that number is expected to swell to around 1,200 after you take looters into account. See you there!

5Jeb Bush fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility flip-flopping nepotism
For the last few weeks, President Bush has been slamming Democrats in Congress, saying they want to "increase taxes" because some of them had the gall to suggest that perhaps we should put the tax cuts on hold for a bit until we get our economic house in order. Strangely, he hasn't been slamming his own brother — or three other Republican governors — for doing exactly the same thing. It would seem that poor Jebbie bit off a little more than he could chew with his own compassionate conservative tax cut, and has created a miniature sunshine-state version of the (above mentioned) Bush Deficit. When (surprisingly) Florida's books didn't balance, Jeb did what he had to do. USA Today says he "signed a bill depriving Floridians of $128 million in tax relief promised through mid-2003." Hey, wait a minute, that's not Jeb's money! That's the taxpayers' money! How can he raise taxes like this simply because the economic health of the state is at stake? It's irresponsible!

6Ari Fleischer excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin
Not that this is any big surprise, but Ari was caught blowing smoke all over another big issue last week - we still find it incredible that he can get away with such blatant bullpoop, but there you go. Ari's latest indiscretion comes courtesy of some pointed questioning about Ken Lay's access to the president. "The President thinks that access should be across the board," answered Ari. "And that's why the Sierra Club, for example, as you know, met repeatedly with the energy task force." Well, uh, not quite, actually. You see, Ari forgot to mention that the Sierra Club wasn't allowed to meet with anyone from the White House until after the energy policy was written and released, and even then, they were prevented from meeting with the full energy task force. Meanwhile Ken Lay was treating Dick Cheney like a cheap hooker, and the White House was busy writing "Enron" into every line of its energy policy. Which was really smart, wasn't it? Ah yes, Ari, when all else fails, simply compare the Sierra Club to Enron. That's bound to work every time. You chump.

7Linda Chavez flip-flopping lying just plain evil
And while Ari may be as predictable as ever, here's a story which took us completely by surprise. If you recall, Linda Chavez was given the boot before she could be confirmed as Secretary of Labor, because, um, Dubya found out that she was employing an illegal alien as a live-in housework slave. Shortly after that, Chavez appeared on CNN to bemoan her booting and show what a compassionate conservative she was. "I think organized labor, I think quite mistakenly, somehow thought that I was going to be their worst nemesis," she told Wolf Blitzer. "I think I would have actually been very helpful in trying to bridge a gap that exists between the Republican Party and organized labor." Funny then, that a recent fundraising letter from Chavez says that "big labor has a radical socialist agenda." And in the letter, Chavez recalls that after she was nominated, "members of the media were calling me Big Labor's Worst Nightmare. And they were right!" Wow, didn't see that one coming, didja?! Chavez goes on to compare labor boss John Sweeney to Osama bin Laden, and then complains that "labor pulled out all the stops to defeat my nomination," which is odd, considering her nomination didn't even get to the Senate. Linda darling, you really must stop letting that little housework slave incident slip your mind, otherwise you sound like you're blaming other people for your own problems. How very un-Republican of you. Anyway, it sort of makes you wonder about all the nice things that people like John Ashcroft and Gale Norton said in their confirmation hearings, doesn't it? Because if Linda Chavez's example is anything to go by, we're all in very, very deep doo-doo.

8George W. Bush (again) dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb
A vicious struggle with a killer pretzel was clearly not enough to knock the wind out of George's sails. Shortly after the now-infamous snack food incident, our great president took a tour of a John Deere farm machinery plant in East Moline, IL. Seemingly unfazed by the nasty scrape (bruise? rug burn? dog bite? Laura bite?) Bush was clearly delighted by the enormous combine harvesters. According to wire reports, "he spent several minutes honking the horn and flashing the lights on one of the company's trademark green and yellow combines." Now, we understand that Mr. Bush may have been interested in a little horse-play for the cameras, but several minutes? Surely that's the behavior of a man with a serious problem! And just in case you need further evidence that the most powerful man in the world seems to be reverting to childhood, we recommend that you study the following photograph closely...

9Pat Robertson excessive spin flip-flopping just plain evil homophobia homophobia homophobia
Mad Pat is at it again. First he informed the world (or at least, that very select and mentally-challenged part of the world which watches and enjoys the "700 Club") that the attacks on America were all the fault of gays, atheists, and abortionists. Then he tried to back away from the statements, saying that his remarks were "inappropriate." But obviously not inappropriate enough, because Pat has wheeled them out again. On the "700 Club" recently, Robertson, referring to terrorists, said that, "I do believe that San Francisco is going to be a target of these people." Yeah, yeah. San Francisco is going to burn in hell, blah blah blah. You know, you'd think Pat would have figured out last time that blaming terrorism on gays is really not a very good idea. Still, when you've got a direct hotline to God (and, it would seem, Al Qaeda's advanced planning team) then I guess you just can't be wrong.

10James F. Daigle, Jr. sex sex dumb dumb
And finally, here's an interesting little story from Norwich, CT. A police officer named James Daigle, Jr. - who also just happens to be chairman of the Republican Town Committee - has been put on paid leave for taking topless pictures of women who had volunteered to take part in underage drinking stings. On at least three separate occasions, he apparently told the volunteer that he had to take the pictures to show that they weren't carrying identification or wearing a wire. Oh, and then he paid them $30 not to tell anyone, so it was all obviously aboveboard and perfectly normal behavior. Hmmm. Put this together with the accusations that Daigle was drinking on duty while taking part in some of these stings, and you definitely have one of the finer examples of modern-day compassionate conservative morals and values. See you next week!

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