Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 165)

August 9, 2004
Swift Kick In The Balls Edition

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So it seems that while we were away at the Democratic National Convention, conservatives failed to stop being idiots. Sigh. Oh well, better get on with it then. First up this week are the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" (1) who are helping George W. Bush run one of the dirtiest campaigns in recent history. Next we've got Dick Cheney (2) who seems to think it's the Democrats' fault that gas prices are going up. Aha. Meanwhile the Florida GOP (3) have made themselves - and Jeb Bush - look very foolish indeed. Elsewhere, Team Bush (4) is asking for signed loyalty oaths, Richard Shelby (6) is apparently not in any trouble after leaking top secret information to the press, James Hart (8) is not just a nutjob but a Republican all the way, and George W. Bush (10) reveals why things have been going so poorly for the last four years. 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:

1Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" partisanship lying lying lying lying
Last week, thanks to constant plugs by the Drudge Report, a book entitled Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry reached Amazon's number 1 spot based on pre-orders. At the same time, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth released a TV ad which attempted to call Kerry's honesty into question and insisted that he'd "betrayed" his fellow troops and was not fit to lead the country. The ad begins with a clip of John Edwards saying, "If you have any questions about what John Kerry's made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him." The screen goes black, and writing appears which says "Here's what those men think about John Kerry," before launching into a series of clips of Vietnam veterans personally attacking Kerry and accusing him of lying. Let's break this down shall we?

  • Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is supposed to be a non-partisan organization. But it was organized with the assistance of Merrie Spaeth, a Republican public relations executive "whose late husband, Tex Lezar, ran for Texas lieutenant governor on George W. Bush's ticket in 1994," according to

  • Also according to Salon, the Swift Boat Veterans' website "was put up courtesy of William Franke, a St. Louis businessman with longstanding ties to Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Missouri Republican Party. Its chief financiers, according to the group's last quarterly IRS filing, are Houston builder Bob J. Perry and the Crow family, both major Republican donors from Texas." During the past four years Perry has apparently given "$5 million to candidates and causes, nearly all of them Republican and extremely conservative."

  • Again, according to Salon, "the group's IRS filing names several experienced Washington political operatives. The June 30 filing shows payments to Robert A. Hahn, a right-wing Internet activist and Web designer who also runs something called the Free Republic Network."

  • Swift Boat Veterans head honcho and co-author of the Kerry-bashing book, John O'Neill, is a partisan hack who used to clerk for William Rehnquist and has had a long-standing feud with Kerry since the early seventies, when he was hand-picked by Richard Nixon in an effort to discredit Kerry's anti-war activities.

  • The other co-author of Unfit for Command, Jerome R. Corsi, PhD, has in the past called Islam "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion"; said of Muslims that, "RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters - it all goes together"; said of Catholics that, "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press"; said of John Kerry, "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"; and said of Sen. Hillary Clinton, "Anybody ask why HELLary couldn't keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?" And there's plenty more where that came from (if you can stomach it).

  • None of the veterans in the commercial served on a boat with John Kerry. Despite saying in the ad that they "served with" Kerry, they only served in Vietnam at the same time as Kerry. All but one of the surviving veterans who actually served under Kerry's command have endorsed him and strongly support him. Jim Rassmann called the ad, "pure fabrication."

  • One of the veterans who appears in the ad - Kerry's commander in Vietnam, George Elliott - said last week that he had made a "terrible mistake" by suggesting Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star. Elliott originally recommended Kerry for the award, saying he was "calm, professional, and highly courageous in the face of enemy fire." Elliott - along with one of the other Swift Boat Veterans - even came to Boston during Kerry's Senate campaign in 1996 to support him. Now he says that his contradictory statements "makes me look kind of silly, to be perfectly honest." By the way, Elliott has since retracted his retraction. Guess the guy just can't decide what he believes. Either that or his "pals" gently reminded him that it ain't so easy to back out of a signed affidavit.

  • John McCain, chairman of Bush's campaign in Arizona, denounced the ads last week, saying, "I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire." Referring to the dirty tricks Team Bush used against McCain during the 2000 Republican primaries, he said, "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me."

  • Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said, "We have been very clear in stating that, you know, we will not - and we have not and we will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam," but refused to condemn or criticize the ad, instead using the opportunity to complain about "unregulated soft-money activity."

So - Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Hardly. On the contrary, this is likely to go down in history as one of the most dishonest and dirtiest campaign tricks ever. Shame on Team Bush for not disowning this crap.

2Dick Cheney hypocrisy
Back in 2000, George W. Bush used rising gas prices as a campaign issue. He said, "I think the president ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say, 'We expect you to open your spigots.' The president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price." Meanwhile, spokesman Scott McClellan was telling reporters that rising gas prices were an example of "failed leadership." Well guess what? Now that oil is more expensive than it's ever been, it's suddenly somebody else's fault - specifically, John Kerry and John Edwards. Whuh? How did that happen? At a campaign event last week, Dick Cheney "blamed his Democratic opponents and their opposition to the Bush administration's energy policies" for rising gas prices, according to the Los Angeles Times. If you feel like pounding your head against your desk at the unbelievable temerity of that statement, please, go ahead. Okay, so let's get this straight - when Bill Clinton was in office, rising gas prices were a sign of "failed leadership." Now that George W. Bush is in charge, rising gas prices are a sign of, um... hey! Look over there! It's John Kerry's fault! Ah, the Responsibility Administration is hard at work once again...

3Florida GOP election stealing election stealing
The Florida Republican Party made a total ass of itself last week when organizers had to apologize for producing a campaign brochure which encouraged voters to use absentee ballots this fall. The brochure read, "The liberal Democrats have already begun their attacks and the new electronic voting machines do not have a paper ballot to verify your vote in case of a recount. Make sure your vote counts, order your absentee ballot today." Whoops! See, Gov. Jeb Bush has been trying his damndest to convince everyone that touch-screen voting machines are the best thing since sliced bread, and then along comes the Florida GOP to undermine all his hard work. Ha ha! So which is it? Do Florida's Republicans really believe that the computerized voting machines are screwed? Or was it all just a giant public relations SNAFU? "Have no doubt that we are confident of Florida's elections system, and that means the entire electoral system is accurate and secure," said Joseph Agostini, spokesman for the Florida Republican Party. He added, "Um... but you should probably all get absentee voter ballots just to be on the safe side. Did I just say that? My bad. Everything's fine. Vote Bush. Absentee ballots. Wink."

4Team Bush dumb
Folks showing up to see Vice President Crashcart's appearance in Rio Rancho, NM, last week were surprised to discover that they weren't getting in until they kneeled before Zod. As it turned out, the Albuquerque Bush-Cheney Victory Office - who were in charge of distributing passes for the event - wouldn't give anyone a ticket until they signed an official-looking Bush/Cheney 04 "endorsement." What's interesting about the endorsement form is that clearly it was not just approved by the White House but drafted by George W. Bush himself. If you look closely at the copy below, you'll notice that the signatory must "herby endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States." Presumably the Bush-Cheney Victory Office then weeded out people who weren't real Bush supporters by gauging their reaction to this appalling use of the English language. "Notice anything wrong with the form sir? No? Very good, here are your tickets."

5George W. Bush dumb excessive spin
"They" - that is, the right-wing spin machine and the lazy media - say that John Kerry is a waffler. That he can't boil his talking points down into simple language that the public will understand. That he has no sound bites. Oh yeah? It seems he's not the only one. Check out this rare Bushian magniloquence from a speech to the UNITY Journalists of Color Convention last week. Said Our Great Leader: "We actually misnamed the war on terror, it ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world." Aside from the remarkable fact that Bush managed to string all those words together into one sentence, let's be clear - we've since stopped referring to it as the War on Terror and we're now calling it TSAIEWDNBIFSWHTUTAAWTTTSTCOTFW. And remember, you can't spell TSAIEWDNBIFSWHTUTAAWTTTSTCOTFW without WTF.

6Richard Shelby dumb
It was revealed last week that Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama "divulged classified intercepted messages to the media when he was on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence," according to the Washington Post. The messages - which were intercepted on September 10 but not translated into English until September 12 - said "The match is about to begin," and, "Tomorrow is zero hour." National security officials were extremely pissed when the media broadcast the content of the messages in 2002. The funny thing, though, is that despite the fact that both the FBI and the Justice Department investigated the case and even empaneled a grand jury, they didn't bother to actually charge anyone with anything. In fact, after sitting on the case for two years the Justice Department recently decided to "forgo a criminal prosecution" and turn the case over to the Senate Ethics Committee. For their part, the Justice Department "declined to comment on why it was no longer pursuing the matter criminally." Gee, I wonder if has anything to do with that little "(R)" next to Shelby's name?

7Team Bush racism
For security purposes, journalists covering the president or vice president are commonly required to disclose their name, date of birth and Social Security number so that the Secret Service can do a background check. The Arizona Star provided this information last week when they sent one of their reporters, Mamta Popat, to photograph Dick Cheney at a campaign rally. So imagine the Star's surprise when Christine Walton, an organizer from the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign, called them to find out Popat's race. That's right - first it's forcing attendees to sign loyalty oaths and now Team Bush appears to be using racial profiling on journalists. To their credit, the Star refused to answer. "One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information," said managing editor Teri Hayt. Apparently Christine Walton's excuse was that, "Popat's race was necessary to allow the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name." Right. And if you believe that, you probably believe that George W. Bush is the best president ever.

8James Hart racism racism racism
The Republicans sure are putting up some weird candidates these days. Take James Hart, who handily won the Republican primary for the Eighth District congressional seat in Tennessee last week. Hart is a firm believer in eugenics - the idea that the human race can be improved by selected breeding - and that "less favored races" are the biggest problem in America today. For "less favored races" you should of course read "anyone who isn't white" - according to his campaign website, Hart believes that, "Unless we stop dysgenic welfare and immigration policies, the US will look like one big Detroit." According to, while Hart doesn't expect to win the seat he says that he "probably will go to the Republican convention anyway." I'm sure they'll be delighted to see him.

9 The New York Post dumb
Perhaps we really are living in the end times. Rupert Murdoch's newspaper of record recently upped the ante after its disastrous pre-emptive running mate prediction a few weeks ago (see Idiots 163), last week reporting that, "These days, [Sylvester] Stallone keeps in fighting form with his new nutritional program, 'Stallone in Stone.' After saying hello to NBC head Bob Wright and his wife, who were seated with Brandon and Lily Tartikoff, he took his trim body to Koi to meet his wife, Jennifer Flavin." Now - since Brandon Tartikoff died in 1997...

...we can only assume that a) these are the end times and he's risen from the dead, b) his body was exhumed specifically for the purpose of appearing at a dinner with Bob Wright, or c) the New York Post isn't fit to wipe your dog's ass with.

10George W. Bush dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb
And finally: It's been a while since Our Great Leader has malapropped so comedically - sure, it's no secret that George W. Bush has the oratorical skills of a retarded chipmunk, but last week's appearance at a bill-signing ceremony took the cake, the cakestand, the knives, the plates, and the tablecloth (you can see the video here - it's about eight minutes in). "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush uttered. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Aah! The cat's out of the bag at last! 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

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