Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 163)

July 12, 2004
Ready, Fire, Aim Edition

The wingnuts of Team Bush (1,2) were out in force last week trying to knock down John Kerry's selection of John Edwards as his running mate - to very little avail. Ken Lay (3) was indicted, which was exciting, and George Bush pretended not to know him (again). Meanwhile it was revealed that the Bush Administration (4) are already in the process of organizing an October Surprise - or a "July Surprise" if they get really lucky. And if just in case anyone started asking awkward questions, along came Tom Ridge (5) to scare the pants off everyone with another terror alert - well, more of a terror reminder really. Elsewhere, the Boston Herald (6) are really stretching it by pretending that there's a link between John Kerry and Enron, Jeb Bush's Banana Republic of Florida (8) is doing what it can to win the election for Dubya, and the Pentagon (9) has mysteriously mislaid Our Great Leader's military records. How peculiar. Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!

Note: You can now link directly to a Top Ten item by adding "#" plus the number of the item to the URL. So if you wish to point someone directly to, for example, number 6 on this week's list, add "#6" to the end of the URL so it looks like this:

1Team Bush partisanship excessive spin lying
John Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate last week - and the Republican attack machine immediately went into overdrive. Unfortunately Team Bush ended up spinning their wheels because they really couldn't find anything that bad to say about Edwards. About the worst they could come up with was the suggestion that Edwards was John Kerry's second choice after John McCain, and they attempted to hammer this message home all week. RNC spokeswoman Tara Wall referred to Edwards as "sloppy seconds" (video: skip to 6:30) which, in case you were wondering, is the term for the second person in line at a gang-bang. Charming. And when the RNC launched a video showing McCain praising Bush, the DNC promptly released their own video showing McCain demolishing him (funny how nobody ever calls McCain a flip-flopper, isn't it?). It should probably also be pointed out that Dick Cheney was Bush's second choice in 2000 (his first was - you guessed it - John McCain). But the dumbest thing about this whole GOP charade is the unfortunate fact that McCain was never Kerry's first choice - the Arizona senator told Tony Snow on Fox News that the VP slot "was never offered" to him. So as usual, Team Bush are just making shit up.

2Team Bush (again) dumb dumb homophobia
Of course, the McCain thing wasn't the only way Team Bush tried to denigrate Kerry's veep selection last week - in true "Ready, Fire, Aim" style several GOP arrows were launched at Edwards, all of which missed handily. For example, one Team Bush tactic has been to harp on Edwards' alleged lack of experience for the position of vice president. Edwards has only been a senator for six years - although Team Bush seem to forget that George W. Bush only had six years of political experience before he ran for president. And while Edwards has served on the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee, all Bush had to do as governor of Texas was swan about shaking hands and executing people. Another GOP tactic is to describe Edwards as a - gasp - "trial lawyer." Which is pretty funny since Edwards has spent his life helping folks who get shafted by companies run by people like Dick Cheney and Ken Lay. But last week's most bizarre attack had to come from Matt Drudge, who for some reason decided to insinuate that Kerry and Edwards are gay lovers. Oh boy, they're getting so desperate!

3Ken Lay prison fiscal irresponsibility
Unfortunately Team Bush's attacks on Kerry/Edwards were somewhat undermined last week when long-time Bush pal Ken Lay surrendered himself to authorities and did the perp walk after he was indicted with "undisclosed criminal charges for alleged misdeeds." Last week the White House attempted to distance Our Great Leader from Lay, saying that "it has been a long time since they talked and suggesting it was only a passing friendship," according to the Associated Press. Ah, a passing friendship. Well that would explain why the Bush campaign only used Enron private jets a dozen or so times during the 2000 presidential election (and four times during the recount). And it would also explain why George W. Bush sent this extremely formal birthday note to "Kenny Boy":

Source: The Smoking Gun

And I guess it would explain why Poppy Bush says in this video, "You have been fantastic to the Bush family. I don't think anybody did more than you did to support George..." And I guess it would explain why Dick Cheney had a series of secret meetings with Enron executives - including Ken Lay - in 2001, and why Ken Lay was part of the Bush transition team. You know, just the normal things that happen during a "passing friendship." In fact, this kinda reminds me of the "passing friendship" the White House had with Ahmed Chalabi. Incidentally, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan tried to suggest last week that Lay has been a supporter of "Democrats and Republicans in the past." Right. Well, I guess since in the last five years Lay has donated 91% to Republicans and 2% to Democrats, McClellan's statement is technically true...

4The Bush Administration just plain evil election stealing
Ties to Ken Lay not enough for ya? Well how about this: it was revealed last week by The New Republic that the Bush administration has been trying to arrange the capture of a top Al Qaeda chief in Pakistan - specifically timed to have an effect on the upcoming election. Yup, it's long been suspected that the administration will have an "October Surprise" up its filthy sleeve but there was no evidence - until now. TNR reported that the administration "significantly increased its pressure" on Pakistan to capture bin Laden or another "high value target" (HVT). Which is fine - except that the Bushies insisted it should happen before November. For example, a Pakistani security official told TNR that they had "been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must." Not only that, but a White House official apparently told Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence director that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July." That's right in the middle of the Democratic National Convention. And what does Pakistan get in return for pulling Osama out of a hat at just the right moment? According to TNR, "During his March visit to Islamabad, [Colin] Powell designated Pakistan a major non-NATO ally, a status that allows its military to purchase a wider array of U.S. weaponry. Powell pointedly refused to criticize Musharraf for pardoning nuclear physicist A.Q. Khan - who, the previous month, had admitted exporting nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea, and Libya... In addition, the administration is pushing a five-year, $3 billion aid package for Pakistan through Congress over Democratic concerns about the country's proliferation of nuclear technology and lack of democratic reform." So there you have it folks - this administration is perfectly happy to turn a blind eye to a Pakistan's nuclear proliferation, provided they get at least one big name terrorist delivered at a politically expedient moment. And Bush is supposed to be making us safer?

5Tom Ridge fearmongering partisanship
But don't get too excited about Our Great Leader's recent political misfortunes - because here comes Tom Ridge to save the day! Tom who? Tom Ridge! You remember, that guy who disappears for months at a time and reappears when the nation needs him most, ie. when Dubya's re-election prospects are looking dismal. Last week - coincidentally on the same day that Ken Lay was indicted, the same day it was revealed that the Bush Administration had turned a blind eye towards the threat of nuclear terrorism in order to announce the capture of Osama bin Laden in the middle of the Democratic National Convention, and just two days after Kerry revealed his choice for vice president, thus generating a ton of positive coverage of the Democratic ticket - Tom Ridge took to the airwaves to remind everyone that we're all going to die. Ridge announced that Al Qaeda was planning to attack the United States before the election "in an effort to disrupt the democratic process" (read: a vote for John Kerry is a vote for Osama bin Laden) and so everybody had, um, uh, better watch out. But Ridge didn't raise his famous color-coded terror chart to "orange alert" - no, he just made the announcement as, well, a handy reminder. Yes, despite the fact that his warning pushed all the other news off the front page and yet contained absolutely no new information, the timing was purely by chance. You know, they keep going on and on about attacks affecting the election and America's resolve and how we shouldn't be scared of the terrorists (except when they remind us we should be). But I'll tell you this - I'm sick of their bullshit. If America isn't attacked before the election, I'm voting for John Kerry. And if America is attacked before the election, I'm voting for John Kerry.

6The Boston Herald dumb excessive spin partisanship
Let's get back to Enron for a moment... last week the Boston Herald splashed on their front page that John Kerry and John Edwards are "LEFT OF TED!" - that's Kennedy, in case you were wondering - which they presumably think is some kind of insult. But a few days later it was out with the giant banner headlines and in with, well, just plain nonsense when the Herald tried to tie Kerry to Kenny-Boy Lay. According to the Herald, SHOCK! "Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry reported more than $250,000 in Enron stock ownership before the firm's 2003 collapse." HORROR! "Kerry also was forced to return a campaign contribution from an implicated Enron executive." DISASTER! "Heinz Kerry served on a charity board with Lay, even after he was implicated in the alleged fraud." My goodness, it certainly sounds like John Kerry was in cahoots with the evil Enron mastermind. Let's read on a little to find out more. "Kerry's campaign took $1,000 from an executive of Enron Wind in November 2001, a check he returned a few months later." Hmmm... well that doesn't sound quite as bad as him being "forced" to return it. "He also took $250 from an Enron accountant in May - a check he won't return... because that donor hasn't been implicated in the alleged fraud." A $250 donation from someone who hasn't been implicated in the alleged fraud, eh? Call the cops! "A Heinz family trust bought between $250,000 and $500,000 of stock in December 1995... The stock brought between $5,000 and $15,000 in dividends in 1996 before it was sold in 1997." Okay, so a Heinz family trust bought Enron stock in 1995 and sold it in 1997... hang on a second, what the fuck is the point of this article again?

7Dick Cheney lying
After the 9/11 Commission announced that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, Dick Cheney appeared on CNBC to refute their conclusion and insist that he "probably" had information that the Commission did not. Last week, the Commission told Crashcart to get lost. In a statement, the Commission said that it "believes it has access to the same information the vice president has seen regarding contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq prior to the 9-11 attacks." They came to this conclusion "after reviewing available transcripts of Cheney's public remarks on the subject," according to Reuters. Is there an explanation for Dick's delusions of grandeur? Perhaps his doctor slipped him a mickey. That's right, Cheney had to fire his doctor last week after it was revealed that the doctor is a long-term prescription painkiller addict. This is the same doctor that announced Cheney was fit to run for vice president back in 2000, and has given us regular updates on Cheney's health ever since. Hmmm... I guess since he used to work for Dick Cheney he won't be going to prison anytime soon, so he'll be looking for a new job. Let's see... Rush Limbaugh can be contacted between 12pm and 3pm ET, Monday to Friday, at 1-800-282-2882...

8Jeb Bush's Banana Republic of Florida election stealing
Karl Rove said last week that "The conditions for a Bush victory are all there." Yup, when you take Diebold voting machines, the partisan 5-4 Supreme Court, and the disenfranchisement of minority voters into account, the conditions for a Bush victory are all there. Especially, as was revealed in Florida this week, if you avoid purging the right kind of minorities from voter rolls. See, in Florida, Hispanics traditionally vote with the GOP. All but one of the state's Hispanic lawmakers are Republican. Florida is 17 percent Hispanic. So why, I wonder, of the 47,763 people on Florida's "purge list" - the list which is supposed to prevent felons from voting - are only 61 identified as Hispanic? In case you were wondering, that's less than one tenth of one percent. Florida election chief Dawn Roberts insisted that no names were left off for political reasons. "That was simply not a factor in our database," she said. Sure thing, Dawn. And Katherine Harris was impartial.

9 The Pentagon partisanship
In Top Ten 162 we noted that the Justice Department couldn't provide the Center for Public Integrity with information on foreign lobbyists because by retrieving the information, they apparently risked destroying their database. I commented that their next excuse would be "the dog ate it." This doesn't quite reach that level - but it's close. Last week the Pentagon announced that - coincidence of coincidences - "Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed," according to the New York Times. Inadvertently destroyed, eh? My, how con-vee-nient. From the Times: "[The Pentagon] said the payroll records of 'numerous service members,' including former First Lt. Bush, had been ruined in 1996 and 1997 by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service during a project to salvage deteriorating microfilm." Hmm. 1997, eh? That would be right around the time that Lt. Col. Bill Burkett saw Bush's performance record in a trash can. And hmm... deteriorating microfilm? I thought microfilm was supposed to be extremely durable and last for more than 100 years. My my, isn't it odd how things like George W. Bush's military records and driver's licenses just disappear? Lucky for him, I guess...

10The New York Post dumb
And finally, we couldn't let this edition of the Top Ten close without mentioning the New York Post's "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment last week. The Post's editors attempted to scoop everyone by predicting that John Kerry had selected Dick Gephardt to be his running mate, and sadly ended up looking like massive tools when it turned out that wasn't the case. Apparently the big inside tip came from none other than head honcho Rupert Murdoch himself, which makes the Post's embarrassment even more delicious. See you next week!

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots list is back on the radio! The Air America Radio Network's Ring of Fire show is currently broadcasting "Cuckoo Conservatives" - excerpts from the Top Ten read by 30+ year radio veteran Dean Randall. Dean has worked in broadcast markets from the Midwest to the west coast including an overseas hitch in Wellington, New Zealand, and most of his radio experience was spent as a morning show personality. He is currently employed by a local ABC TV affiliate and is active in politics on a local, state and national basis. Dean says, "My liberal roots went down and deep early when my father hosted a Minnesota state DFL rally in 1961. Ever since I have had a keen interest in politics and the Democratic philosophy and history." You can drop him a line at [email protected].

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