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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 122)
August 18, 2003
Dubya In The Dark Edition

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Poor George W. Bush (1). You're trying to enjoy your vacation, raising a bit of money here and there, and then the whole damn Northeast has to lose power and ruin your day. Still, don't let it get you down. At least you're not Fox News (2), who are desperately fighting a losing battle like the big losers they are. Meanwhile the Pentagon (4) have been toying with the idea of rewarding our brave troops with a pay cut, Roy Moore (5) is breaking the law, and Paul Bremer (6) is winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis. Finally, Jerry Duncan (8) wants to drop a dirty bomb on liberals, and Jeb Bush (10) cracks himself up. Enjoy, and as usual, here's the key!

1George W. Bush hypocrisy dumb
It's becoming a ritual of sorts: disaster strikes the Northeast, and George W. Bush is nowhere to be found. Obviously the power outages which swept several states and parts of Canada last week were nowhere near as bad as the September 11 terrorist attacks, but millions of people could probably have used a bit of support from their "leader" - who was unfortunately too busy raising money for his 2004 election campaign in San Diego. When George finally did manage to tear himself away and get in front of a microphone (hours after he was allegedly reported as saying that the unprecedented blackout was "just a domestic problem" that "didn't require White House input") he told the assembled reporters, "Of course, we'll have time to look at it and determine whether or not our grid needs to be modernized. I happen to think it does, and have said so all along." Oh really? Then why, back in 2001, did the Bush White House lobby congressional Republicans to vote down three times a Democratic proposal which would have provided $350 million to improve the nation's power grid - a proposal which, at the time, Tom DeLay called "pure demagoguery?" Perhaps it's because Our Great Leader is so busy groping people like Ken Lay for cash that he doesn't have much time to care about the real needs of the American people.

2Fox News dumb dumb dumb
Al Franken's new book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" leaped to the top of sales charts last week after Fox News aimed a frivolous lawsuit at the author, claiming that they'd trademarked "Fair and Balanced" back in 1998. This rather pathetic attempt at revenge, presumably instigated by Bill O'Reilly - who took a verbal thrashing from Franken at a book expo earlier this year (see Idiots 113) - was greeted with amusement by everyone from Franken himself to a slew of Internet bloggers who promptly pasted the words "fair and balanced" all over their sites. The suit itself is partially a laughable tirade at Franken and partially a self-aggrandizing advertisement for Fox News, one moment ranting at Franken for being "intoxicated or deranged," the next moment going off on a tangent about the Fox line of neckwear. And let's not forget such gems as, "Moreover, since Franken's reputation as a political commentator is not of the same caliber as the stellar reputations of FNC's on-air talent, any association between Franken and Fox News is likely to blur or tarnish Fox News' distinctive mark." Stellar on-air talent? Perhaps Al Franken should stick to political commentary and Fox News should go into the comedy business. And is it just me, but by trying to claim that the title of Al's book is so confusing that they could suffer "irreparable harm," aren't Fox News essentially admitting that their grip on the cable news ratings lead is solely down to the fact that their viewers are incredibly stupid? Could be...!

3Arnold Schwarzenegger cyborg election stealing
The Groping Austrian Beefcake's aides say that Arnold "takes the right and privilege of voting very seriously." So seriously, in fact, that he couldn't quite manage to drag himself off his muscle-bound ass to vote in five of the last eleven statewide elections. Quite an achievement. He just missed out on voting for George W. Bush (in the California primary as well as in the general election) in 2000, and was a hair's breadth away from voting for Bob Dole (both in the primary and the general) in 1996, but couldn't quite make it due to promotional obligations for Jingle All The Way. Still, despite a lack of issues and positions, a spotty voting record, and and no experience whatsoever, Arnold can't wait to "pump up Sacramento." Oh, I almost forgot: Arnold did manage to find the time to get out and vote for Proposition 187 in 1994 - an initiative which, according to the Los Angeles Times, "barred public services to illegal immigrants, passed by a large margin and was thrown out by the courts. It remains one of the most divisive in recent state history in part because it reflected a tension between white voters, who have long dominated politics in California, and the growing number of Latino voters." Which is odd, because Arnold has recently been spotted making attempts to reach out to Hispanics with "frequent reminders of his own arrival in California as a penniless immigrant." I guess it's one rule for the rich, another for the poor...

4The Pentagon greed dumb
Support the troops! Support the troops! Support the troops! Wave those flags and tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree, because here comes the Pentagon, ready, willing and able to support the troops just about any way they can. How about this, for example: according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "The Pentagon wants to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, who are already contending with guerrilla-style attacks, homesickness and 120-degree-plus heat. Unless Congress and President Bush take quick action when Congress returns after Labor Day, the uniformed Americans in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase approved last April of $75 a month in 'imminent danger pay' and $150 a month in 'family separation allowances.'" Gee, those guys at the Pentagon sure know how to treat our soldiers, don't they? Who would have thought that the basic subtext behind all those pre-invasion pro-war rallies was actually send our boys to Iraq to die for no reason - and if they survive, give them a pay cut! You know, I had literally no idea just how much the gung-ho pro-war folks hate our troops!

5Roy Moore unconstitutional religious nut
Agh, he won't go away! Just when I thought we'd seen the last of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, he rears his literally and metaphorically ugly head once again - but this time Our Roy may have taken one too many steps over the line. You may recall that the Chief Justice was responsible for erecting a 5,300 pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building, which a federal court subsequently ordered him to remove (see Idiots passim). Well guess what? Being in charge of dishing out justice doesn't necessarily mean that you have to follow the law yourself - yup, Roy is refusing to remove the monument. According to Mr. Above-The-Law himself, the "question is not whether I will move the monument. It is not a question of whether I will disobey or obey a court order...the real question is whether or not I will deny the God that created us and endowed us with certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Um, actually Jack, it's a question of whether you're going to move the monument or whether Alabama is going to be fined $5000 a day for your belligerence. "$5000 a day?" I hear you cry. "Why not just go in there with a forklift and get rid of the thing?" Easier said than done, friends. See, the House Republicans on-again-off-again love affair with states' rights is on again - last week, according to the New York Times, they "attached an amendment to an appropriations bill that would ban the use of federal funds to enforce the order to remove the Ten Commandments monument." So much for the Constitution. What a bunch of knuckleheads.

6Paul Bremer dumb excessive spin
Months into the U.S. occupation of Iraq, there are still widespread blackouts, shortages of fuel and water, and the streets are not safe. Understandably, the newly "liberated" people of Iraq are getting pretty impatient that basic needs are still going unmet (in marked contrast to the speed with which the oil-extraction-and-exportation infrastructure was brought back on line). With riots and civil unrest breaking out around the country, U.S. civilian administrator Paul "Jimmy" Bremer had some soothing words for the long-suffering people of Iraq: "I think it's important to ... look beyond the shootouts and blackouts and remind ourselves of a range of rights that Iraqis enjoy today because of the coalition's military victory." Like, for example, the right to dehydrate in the 120+ degree heat, or the right to have your house searched by foreign troops with little or no reason, and the ever-popular freedom from employment. Now, I'm a big fan of freedom, and I hope the Iraqi people are free someday. But I think Bremer doesn't get the whole idea that "freedom" doesn't mean much if you can't feed your family. It's a good thing Paul Bremer isn't the mayor of New York (or Cleveland, or Detroit, or Erie, or Toronto). I don't know why everyone's complaining about these silly blackouts. After all, you're free!

7The Iraqi Media Network dumb
And speaking of basic needs going unmet... The Pentagon-backed propaganda television channel in Iraq has been a ratings flop. According to the International Herald Tribune, the Iraqi Media Network is "repetitive and larded with official propaganda." What an embarrassment. We should really be doing better than this, considering the fact that mass-media entertainment is our second-largest export, just behind our military. (No, not military hardware; our actual military.) If we really want to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, we need to enlist the best minds in Hollywood to develop some new reality TV, like... "Survivor: Basra," "Temptation Oasis," "Married by Iraq," "Are you Hot?" "Iraqi Idol," and "Queer Eye for the Kuwait Guy."

8Jerry Duncan hypocrisy dumb
The last time Jerry Duncan made it onto the Top Ten Conservative Idiots list, he was shocked, shocked I tell you at a college professor who had endorsed an antiwar resolution brought before Fresno City council (see Idiots 104). You could almost smell the righteous moral indignation as Duncan huffed, "The reality is they stepped way out of line...It was just horribly wrong...This was a narrow political agenda of a fringe element." But now Jerry Duncan is looking like a bit of a fringe lunatic himself - it was revealed last week that Duncan joked (ha ha) about "terrorist acts against liberals and members of a city commission" in emails which he wrote while the council was in session. In one he wrote: "If I had one dirty bomb ... I could eliminate all the liberals in Fresno at once." Boy, that's some quality humor - well, he thought so anyway. Members of the Human Relations Commission were less amused and took their complaints to the local police, who forwarded the emails to the FBI. Here's an idea - perhaps Jerry Duncan should take his righteous moral indignation and shove it in his dirty bomb chute.

9 Pam Roach election stealing dumb
Pam Roach is a state senator from Washington. Why is she on the list this week? Because she changes her address more frequently than Osama bin Laden. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Roach changed the address of her voter registration July 25 for the second time in two months and the fifth time since March 2001. And it was the second time in two months that she moved into a friend's house to qualify for an elective office." Obviously this is pretty typical behavior for Republicans, who will do whatever is necessary to get into power. But Ms. Roach is causing a bit of a stir even among her former friends and allies, who are miffed that she is trying to cheat the system by not actually living where she claims to be living at any given moment. So Pam Roach wins a dual honor this week - not only is she a cheating conservative election thief, she's also managed to get Republicans fighting among themselves. Hoorah!

10Jeb Bush dumb
And finally, here's what Jeb Bush said about Gary Coleman last week, when Jeb was asked about California's recall election:"I'm glad that Gary Coleman lives in California...A guy like me that believes in limited government probably would have a tough time against a fellow like that because he probably symbolizes smaller government." Hang on, I don't get it. Gary Coleman symbolizes smaller government? Is that supposed to be a jo... wait a second - I think I see what he's done here... Gary Coleman is famously small... smaller government... I think I get it! HA HA HA! HAHAHA! Smaller, get it? Oh my, that's probably the best joke I've ever heard! Governor Bush, you should be a comedian! Boy, you'd give that Jerry Seinfeld a run for his money! Smaller government! HA HA HA!! *SNORT* GUFFAW! Ooh, I think I've ruptured my spleen. See you next week.

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