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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 89)
October 28, 2002
Second Election Countdown Edition

The penultimate Idiots before the elections has brought us a curiously low turnout of campaign-related idiocy. But it's okay, because our old friend George W. Bush is back in charge, crashing into the list three times this week. Unfortunately he can't quite squeeze into the top spot - that's reserved for the White House and their interesting email forwarding policies. The Tennessee Republican Party (3) are indulging in arch-hypocrisy this week, Scott Jensen and Steven Foti (5) are key members of the party of law and order, and Rita Cosby (8) has some kind words for a serial killer. Finally, Dennis Cleary (10) is a candidate that literally everyone loves to hate. Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key.

1The White House dumb warmongering
Look out - this is really dumb! Last week Fernando Oaxaca, former chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, emailed a memo to Republicans nationwide, including some White House officials. A senior Bush aide liked the memo so much that he ordered a junior aide to send it to Hispanic Republican activists. Unfortunately, the junior aide managed to send it to Hispanic Democrats instead. So what's the problem? Here's the problem: the memo - which, remember, was officially forwarded by the White House - called Senator Robert Byrd "doddering old Bob Byrd, the senile senator from West Virginia" and called Hispanic House Democrats "self-centered, do-nothing, $150,000/year plus perks yo-yo's," adding, in reference to the vote on Dubya's Iraq resolution, "If they have a defense for their actions they should deliver it to the kids in uniform that could one day have their ass shot off to protect these ninnies!" How sweet. Democrats were understandably pissed, and the White House was forced to issue a formal apology. Funny, we thought that according to George W. Bush, the Iraq vote wasn't supposed to be about politics...

2George W. Bush greed dumb
In a related email-screwup story, George W. Bush last week personally sent out an email soliciting campaign donations. Unfortunately the email, which was intended for GOP supporters, managed to find its way into the inboxes of several federal employees at their .gov email addresses. Which is, in the words of Henry Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, "Obviously inappropriate, obviously illegal, and obviously a reflection that the administration will do anything to raise campaign dollars." Well, obviously!

3The Tennessee Republican Party hypocrisy
You know how Republicans are always going on about Democrats committing voter fraud and other such nonsense? Well check this out. The Tennessee GOP have been mailing out postcards to senior citizens telling them how to apply for an absentee ballot. Are the Democrats doing this? No, because they were advised that it was illegal. Apparently it's a misdemeanor to "solicit anyone to vote absentee." The Tennessee GOP's lame excuse? It's not a solicitation. Hmm. Meanwhile, according to, "The GOP also is encouraging Republican lawyers to pursue suspected vote fraud to the point of seeking court action." How about that for hypocrisy?

4George W. Bush lying warmongering
Finally, the press is reporting what we knew all along - that George W. Bush will blatantly lie for political gain. Remember the 2000 election, when reporters were falling over themselves to brand Al Gore a serial liar, and George got a free pass? Well it's about time somebody called him on his nonsense. Writing in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank reported last week that Dubya told at least three whoppers in his recent speech to the nation, as he tried to persuade America to fall into line and invade Iraq. For example, George claimed that Saddam has unmanned aircraft that could attack the United States, that Iraq is six months away from developing a nuclear weapon, and that Iraq could attack with terrorists groups "on any given day." A quick check of the facts reveals these statements to be, well, completely untrue. But then, it's not like he has an obligation to get this kind of thing right, you know? I mean, it's just a war...

5Scott Jensen and Steven Foti arrest
The Republican Party. The party of law and order. The party of personal responsibility. The party of truth, justice and the American Way. And, of course, the party of felony arrests for misconduct in office. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen and Assembly Majority Leader Steven Foti were charged last week for taking part in "Wisconsin's biggest political corruption scandal in modern history," according to the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal. Turns out that these two distinguished Republicans committed a variety of campaign-related crimes for which they're now in deep trouble. But then what do you expect from the party of honesty, integrity, dignity...

6Florida Republicans election stealing
...and let's not forget, of course, the party of dirty, dirty tricks. Bob Poe, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, got a phone call last week "urging him to cast his absentee ballot on Nov. 10 - five days after Election Day," according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The phone call appeared to come from a call center, and the caller claimed to be from Bill McBride's gubernatorial campaign. Oh really... so Bill McBride has workers calling Floridians telling them to cast their ballots when it's far too late for them to be counted? Yeah, I bet. I'm sure it's not some kind of scam by Republicans to trick people into voting late. Bob Poe has asked John Ashcroft to investigate where the call came from, meanwhile Jeb Bush and the Florida Republican Party say they had nothing to do with the call. And hell, that should be good enough for Ashcroft. Nothing to see here, folks, move along...

ELECTION 2002: Visit Jeb Bush's Democratic opponent, Bill McBride!

7Dave Wilson homophobia homophobia
Pop quiz: why would GOP activist Dave Wilson be cold-calling Republican voters in Houston and urging them not to vote a straight Republican ticket on November 5? Think you've got the answer? Let's see. If you said it's because Dave Wilson is a raging homophobe - congratulations, you're right. Wilson's target is Alex Wathen, candidate for justice of the peace, who also happens to be president of the Houston chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans. In a recorded message to Republican voters, Wilson urges them to "vote principles over party politics." (Which is going to be pretty tough for a party without any principles whatsoever.) Heck, if Wathen loses, it's no skin off our noses. It's just that calling for people to vote against a candidate of whichever party because of their sexual orientation is, well, despicable.

8Rita Cosby pandering
How low will Fox News go for a story? Pretty low. Before the Washington DC-area serial sniper was caught, Fox reporter Rita Cosby decided to try and solve the crime all by herself - with just a little help from the Son of Sam. Cosby wrote to killer David Berkowitz to ask for his help catching the sniper (of course, she wasn't at all motivated by a thirst for ratings) saying, "Your personal story and spiritual growth inspired me to write to you." Incidentally, Rita Cosby also corresponded with Timothy McVeigh before his execution. Not bad. I wonder if, in say twenty years time there is another publicized serial killing, Rita Cosby will be writing to John Allen Muhammad praising him for his "personal story" and "spiritual growth?" Wouldn't bet against it.

9 George W. Bush greed quid pro quo
Guess what George W. Bush was doing while he was working full time on his father's presidential campaign in 1988? That's right - he was sitting on the board of directors at Harken Energy and overseeing complex trades with - you guessed it - Enron. Poppy Bush's campaign even paid for Dubya to fly to Texas and New York, and were then reimbursed by Harken afterwards. Sounds like a nice cosy relationship, eh? And there was poor George, trying to pretend he never even knew Ken Lay. Funny really - for a man who said he didn't even want to see an "appearance of impropriety" in his administration, he sure has his sticky fingers in a lot of smelly pies.

10Dennis Cleary dumb
And finally: if this doesn't cheer you up, nothing will. Check out Dennis Cleary, who is seeking a seventh term as a State Representative in Connecticut. Mr. Cleary is facing an interesting foe in his battle for re-election - his own family. That's right, Cleary's own mother, brother and sister have endorsed his rival for the upcoming election. And not only that, they've taken out a newspaper ad which reads, "We're tired of Dennis... Are you?" and calls him "corrupt" and "self-serving." Ah, family. See you next week!

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