Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 169)

September 04, 2004
Republican National Convention Special!

Welcome to the Top Ten Conservative Idiots! We've changed things around a bit for this Republican National Convention Special. It was simply way too difficult to put the week's idiocy into some kind of vague numerical order, so instead we're doing a day-by-day, play-by-play of the Convention. Head honchos like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Dick Cheney, Zell Miller, and of course, George W. Bush will be making an appearance, and we've got various "Convention Week Idiots" scattered about the place. If you notice anything that we left out - sorry about that. It's been a heck of a week. Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!


RNC Delegates chickenhawk just plain evil
George W. Bush has not treated veterans well since he came to power (cutting combat pay, cutting veterans benefits, um, getting an awful lot of them killed for nothing), but that certainly wasn't enough to pry the Republican party's nose from the military's ass last week. Fortunately some bold delegates decided to show the GOP's true colors and went to great lengths to ridicule America's veterans.

Photo: Reuters

Yes, the must-have accessory on day one of the Convention was the "Purple Heart Band-Aid" - brainchild of Morton Blackwell, a delegate from Virginia. These oh-so-hilarious accoutrements were designed to deride John Kerry's honorable service in Vietnam, and Morton handed them out with the message, "It was just a self-inflicted scratch, but you see I got a Purple Heart for it." But isn't this incredibly offensive to any veteran who won a Purple Heart? Not according to Republican bigwigs such as Newt Gingrich who declared on ABC, "I think it's funny." So for all those who volunteered to join the military and won the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat, please remember - the Republican party thinks you're a bunch of pussies who deserve nothing more than their undying contempt.

Alan Keyes
dumb homophobia
As his campaign continues to spiral into the pit of despair, GOP Senate candidate Alan Keyes got the Convention off to a rousing start by calling Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter a "selfish hedonist." Whoops! You shouldn't mess with the big cheese, Alan! State House Republican leader Tom Cross later said, "My suspicion is we will see and hear from candidate Keyes for the next 60 days, and after that he'll probably be out of Illinois." Now that's confidence for you.

John McCain pandering
You have to feel a little bit sorry for John McCain - when he made his call for bipartisanship on Monday he obviously had no idea just how big a fool the GOP was going to make of him by the end of Wednesday night. And his swipe at Michael Moore - whom it appeared McCain did not know was in the Convention hall - was the latest example of McCain being played like a puppet by the GOP. Okay, you can stop feeling sorry for him now. Clearly many people have been laboring under the misapprehension that "Straight Talk" McCain is a man of principle, a man of his word, a man of... straight-talkishness. But his speech to the Republican National Convention should serve to remind us on which side McCain's bread is buttered. "Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war," he said, calling about half of the population of the United States deluded. "I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched [Bush] stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center, with his arm around a hero of September 11th," he uttered, getting the theme-of-the-week warmed up. And when he got to the part about "the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our Vice-President, Dick Cheney," it was time to turn the channel on McCain for good.

Fox News
lying lying excessive spin
Fox News pretty much ignored the massive protest which took place the day before the Convention - except when some moron set fire to a float (which the fire department put out in about two minutes) and then they were all over it like a rash. The Fox News presenter at the time said that the organizers must be pretty disappointed with the turnout since they'd expected 250,000 people and only "thousands" had showed up. No, no, no. THIS is what "thousands" look like:

Photo: Reuters

And this is what close to half a million people looks like:

Photo: Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani warmongering dumb
9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! Sorry, got a bit carried away there. In case anyone forgot (and for some reason the GOP seems to think people have) the World Trade Center's twin towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Now, considering the fact that we have since found out that George W. Bush ignored all the warnings that something like this might happen before September 11, 2001 - such as the August 6 presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US," you have to kinda wonder why Rudy would brag about this: "I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, 'Thank God George Bush is our President.'" And considering the fact that since 9/11 we half-heartedly - and temporarily - kicked the Taliban out of Afghanistan before ignoring Osama bin Laden (there were more police officers on duty in New York City during the Convention than there are American soldiers in Afghanistan at the moment) and deposing Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11, losing 1,000 of our troops in the process, you have to wonder why Rudy would say, '[For] his determined effort to defeat global terrorism, no matter what happens in this election, President George W. Bush already has earned a place in our history as a great American President." Oh, he's going to earn a place in history all right. You know, it must be nice to live in Rudy's bizarro-world where Bush's foreign policy hasn't increased the threat of global terrorism and made America less safe. Shame the rest of us have reality to deal with.

Karl Rove
Karl "Bush's Brain" Rove made some bizarre pre-Convention comments on the subject of terrorism, demonstrating that he has absolutely no concept of the conflict in Northern Ireland whatsoever. "This is going to be more like the conflict in Northern Ireland," he said, "where the Brits fought terrorism, and there's no sort of peace accord with al-Qaida saying, 'We surrender.'" Hmm. Is it just me, or did Karl Rove just compare the Irish to al-Qaida?


The Bush Twins photo-opping photo-opping dumb dumb dumb
To be fair to Jenna and Barbara Bush, it must have been tough giving a speech laden with pop-culture references to an audience that put the "square" into "Madison Square Garden." But to be slightly less fair, their speech was apparently written by a forty-something-year-old political consultant (who has presumably since been fired and/or shot) and read with all the aplomb of a couple of B-list celebs presenting the Spike TV Video Game Awards. Let's do a quick recap of some of the highlights of their speech:

BUSH TWINS: It's great to be here. We love Arnold. Isn't he awesome?


BUSH TWINS: Thanks to him, if one of us ever decides to marry a Democrat, nobody can complain.

AUDIENCE: Yay! Uh, wait a second...

BUSH TWINS: Gammie, we love you dearly, but you're just not very hip. She thinks "Sex and the City" is something married people do, but never talk about.

AUDIENCE: Sex what now?

BUSH TWINS: We spent the last four years trying to stay out of the spotlight. Sometimes, we did a little better job than others.

AUDIENCE: I don't get this. Why are they making jokes about being arrested for underage drinking?

BUSH TWINS: We kept trying to explain to my dad that when we are young and irresponsible, well, we're young and irresponsible.

AUDIENCE: And why on earth would they bring up that whole embarrassing cocaine thing again? I'm confused.

BUSH TWINS: Besides, since we've graduated from college, we're looking around for something to do for the next few years. Kind of like dad.

AUDIENCE: Argh, do they actually want him to LOSE?

BUSH TWINS: You know all those times when you're growing up and your parents embarrass you? Well, this is payback time on live TV.


BUSH TWINS: Take this. I know it's hard to believe, but our parents' favorite term of endearment for each other is actually "Bushy."

AUDIENCE: Make it stop. Please make it stop.

BUSH TWINS: And we had a hamster, too. Let's just say ours didn't make it.

AUDIENCE: Oh, the pain.

BUSH TWINS: But, contrary to what you might read in the papers, our parents are actually kind of cool. They do know the difference between mono and Bono.

AUDIENCE: Mongo and Bongo?

BUSH TWINS: When we tell them we're going to see Outkast, they know it's a band and not a bunch of misfits. And if we really beg them, they'll even shake it like a Polaroid picture.

AUDIENCE: I have no clue what any of that means.

BUSH TWINS: So, OK, maybe they have learned a little pop culture from us, but we've learned a lot more from them about what matters in life, about unconditional love, about focus and discipline. They taught us the importance of a good sense of humor, of being open-minded and treating everyone with respect. And we learned the true value of honesty and integrity.

AUDIENCE: Yay! Wait a minute, haven't you been arrested like FOUR TIMES?

BUSH TWINS: Ladies and gentlemen, one of the two most loving, thoughtful people we know. Your president and our dad, George W. Bush.

AUDIENCE: Is it over? YES!! Thank you Lord. Thank you. Thank you. Ooh look, my Purple Heart Band-Aid is coming off. Let me just stick that back down.

RNC Delegates (again)
greed greed
According to the New York Post, "Republicans are the certainly the party of fiscal restraint - at least with their own money." That's right - RNC delegates were reportedly failing to tip all over New York City last week. Is anyone surprised? "I wouldn't call them bad tippers - I'd call them non-tippers!" said a concierge at the Sheraton Manhattan. "It's like they're completely unfamiliar with the concept of tipping." Huh. So much for trickle-down economics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger homophobia fiscal irresponsibility lying
You'd think that Arnold Schwarzenegger would cool it with the dubious homophobic imagery after he was criticized for calling California's Democratic lawmakers "girlie men" back in July. But no, when the Groping Austrian Beefcake took to the Convention stage on Tuesday night - purportedly to distract the public with his allegedly moderate leanings - Arnold busted out his new favorite cliche once more. This time the remark was reserved for critics of Bush's fiscal policies; Schwarzenegger referred to them as "economic girlie-men." Got that, naysayers? If you think it's bad that we've lost a million net jobs since Bush came to power, if you think that a record high budget deficit and a record national debt are not a good thing, if you think it sucks that 1.3 million more people have descended into poverty in the last year alone - well hell, you must be GAY! That wasn't the only dumb thing Arnie came up with on Tuesday though - his recollection that while growing up in Austria, "I saw tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes," didn't go down too well with historians. According to CNN, "The Soviets already had left Styria in July 1945, less than three months after the end of the war..." Meanwhile retiree Franz Nitsch said "Let me tell you this: As a boy, I lived for many years across the street from where the Russians were based in Vienna - and honestly, I never saw a Russian tank there. He said it all on purpose - and that's bad." And as usual, the muscle-bound man-mountain's speech was liberally peppered with references to his movie career, which, to be honest, is getting so incredibly lame. I mean, it was bad enough when we had to suffer through all those groan-inducing "Running Man" and "Total Recall" puns, but on Tuesday night Convention viewers were treated to the Democrats' "True Lies" (whatever that means), and let's not forget the weakest pun on a Schwarzenegger movie quote in recorded history, "America is Back." Aaaaargh, my brain.

Team Bush
hypocrisy hypocrisy hypocrisy hypocrisy
There was a definite anti-trial lawyer vibe at the Convention - not that you'd know if from Team Bush's behind-the-scenes actions. While Dubya was lambasting frivolous lawsuits from the podium on Thursday night, his campaign was busy filing suit with the FEC in an attempt to shut down all "527" political activities. Not that Bush complained about 527s back in 2000 when he was using them to smear John McCain. Ah, another classic example of "Do as I say, not as I do."


Zell Miller hypocrisy hypocrisy hypocrisy lying lying excessive spin excessive spin flip-flopping warmongering drugs
It was pretty clear to anyone who saw all those "W" signs being waved around inside Madison Square Garden that when it comes to the Republican National Convention, "W" stands for "White." But on Wednesday night, "W" also stood for "Wild-eyed," "Wacko," "Whoa, Nellie," and "Whee! I've lost my mind!" Yes, Zell Miller's keynote speech was by far the nuttiest political act since Pat Buchanan's infamous "culture war" meltdown during the 1992 Republican Convention. You could almost see the steam rising from his collar. Lest we forget, Zell got his start in politics polishing Lester Maddox's axe-handles, and has spent the last forty years seething as the Democratic party moved slowly and inexorably towards progressive policies of inclusion, tolerance and liberty. On Wednesday night the lid came off the pressure cooker and Zell took out four decades of frustration on the party that left him by the wayside a long time ago. It's really a shame that the content of Zell's speech was so misinformed, since he delivered it with such, uh, fervor. After reaching new heights of nonsensical demagoguery by suggesting that opposing George W. Bush is practically treasonous, and saying that Kerry would defend America with "spitballs," Zell went into specifics - but from the way he read off a long list of weapons systems that John Kerry voted against, you'd never know that the weapons systems were, according to the Washington Post, "mostly derived from a single Kerry vote against a spending bill in 1991, rather than individual votes against particular systems." Not to mention the fact that "The bill was also opposed by five Republican senators at the time, and Cheney, who was defense secretary then, was demanding even deeper cuts in defense spending by Congress." (In case you were wondering, yes, that's Dick Cheney, the guy who just happened to be speaking after Zell.) Miller also lambasted Democrats for referring to the ongoing conflict in Iraq as an "occupation" rather than a "liberation." But when it was later pointed out to him that George W. Bush has also referred to it as an occupation on multiple occasions, he said, "Well, I don't know about that." Really? Then why did you give a speech where it was one of the central themes of your criticism of the Democrats? How odd! But to be fair, pointing out the gigantic hypocrisies in the content of Zell's speech doesn't really do justice to the manner in which he delivered it. Considering the lengths the GOP went to to hide their nutjobs behind a wall of "compassionate conservatism" during the first two nights of the Convention, it was somewhat unnerving to see Zell Miller's clenched fists and popping eyeballs as he danced on the grave of the politics of hope. Let's see what the pundits thought of his performance:

"I wonder if it was smart to have him out there in such a hot fashion" - George Stephanopoulos

"He looked angry" - Mara Liasson

"Miller went over the line into demagoguery" - Mort Kondracke

"I've never heard such an angry speech" - Bill Schneider

"I don't think I've ever seen anything as angry and ugly as Miller's speech" - Joe Klein

Miller "looked like a spouse at a divorce proceeding who says, 'Oh yeah, she's a child molester too'" - John Harwood

Rave reviews for a raving lunatic.

Fox News (again)
lying lying lying lying lying just plain evil
We report, you decide! News that's fair and balanced! Total and utter hogwash! On Wednesday afternoon, Fox News employees were overheard chanting "Four more years! Four more years!" from their Convention workspace. Later a Fox News spokesman tried to pretend that the chanting was merely "a humorous toast to a retiring techie" - although while the toast allegedly happened on Tuesday night, the spokesman was "not aware" of the Wednesday chanting. Heck, why pretend? The Fox News anchors were practically chanting "four more years" all damn week.

Zell Miller crybaby
Hang on, we're not done with Zell yet! One of the most entertaining moments of the week came during the Wednesday night after-party, when, still reeling from the Miller/Cheney hatefest, Chris Matthews interviewed Zell live on air. But the interview did not begin well. Early on, Matthews suggested that Zell's politics of fear were comparable to conservative accusations that Democrats try to scare people by saying Republicans are going to starve children and take away old people's medicine. Of course, this went way over Zell's head: "I'm not saying that. Now wait a minute. This is your program, and I'm a guest on your program, and so I want to try to be as nice as I possibly can to you, I wish I was over there so I could get a little closer up into your face. But I don't have to stand here and listen to that kind of stuff. I didn't say anything about not feeding poor kids. What are you doing?" Oh Zell, you are a loon. But it gets better! Matthews went on to ask about Zell's comment that "it is the soldier, not the reporter, that has given us the freedom of the press." And after a bit of back-and-forth, Zell did what any rational human being would do during a live television interview at a national party convention. "I wish we lived in the day when you could challenge a person to a duel," he said. "Now that would be pretty good." Completely mad, I tell ya.

John Shadegg
Arizona Rep. John Shadegg (R) joined the hate-fest on Wednesday, saying that Kerry voters "have mental health problems" at a speech to GOP delegates. If Zell Miller is anything to go by, I'd say Mr. Shadegg needs to take a quick look in the mirror.

Dick Cheney fearmongering fearmongering warmongering warmongering hypocrisy lying
Yes, disingenuous hypocrisy and flat-out lying was definitely the order of the day Wednesday, and Dick Cheney proved that by following Zell Miller with a similar hit-piece on John Kerry. First, Dick delighted everybody (well, except Giuliani fans) by accepting the party's nomination. Yay. Then he bored the pants off everyone by trying a bit of John Edwards-style populism: "My grandfather didn't have a chance to go to high school. For many years he worked as a cook on the Union Pacific Railroad, and he and my grandmother lived in a railroad car. But the modesty of his..." - sorry Dick, it doesn't work as well when you do it. Next, Cheney rattled off a list of Bush administration "accomplishments" (ha ha!) before reiterating the general theme of the Convention - fear, fear, 9/11, fear. Did we mention fear? It was only when Cheney got to the subject of John Kerry that the delegates really started paying attention, starting a rousing chant of Four... more... years... Four... more... years... (Although given the zombie-like state of many inside Madison Square Garden, they might as well have been chanting We... eat... brains... We... eat... brains...) So that was it. A half-assed attempt to make everyone think that America is actually somehow better off after four years of Bush policies, a reminder to everyone that we shouldn't forget to be really, really scared, and a long, hypocritical attack on John Kerry's voting record. Wow, this Convention is the most optimistic ever! I'm so excited for another four years of this kind of thing!

A Young Republican
just plain evil
Want to see a video of a young Republican Convention-goer dragging a protester to the ground and then kicking her while she's down? Here you go. (Video from Note that the video is mislabeled - the man doing the kicking is NOT Taylor Bickford.)


George W. Bush warmongering warmongering fearmongering fearmongering lying lying excessive spin chickenhawk cowardice cowardice hypocrisy
And finally, we come - almost - to George W. Bush. But first, after snoozing through Gov. Pataki's speech, the Convention audience was treated to a disturbingly hokey video documenting Bush's many "accomplishments" since he came to office. Apparently these accomplishments include wearing a cowboy hat and throwing a baseball - indeed, most people would be forgiven for thinking they were watching a Cialis commercial. If you haven't seen it, the Daily Show's RNC video - available here or here - is a far more accurate portrayal of Bush's presidential achievements. But once the warm-up was complete, it was time for the main event. Rumors that Bush would make a 1970s-rock-concert-style entrance, rising slowly through the floor amidst a cloud of dry ice, were sadly proven to be false - although his 1980s-game-show-style entrance did leave many viewers wondering whether he was going to ask members of the audience to "come on down." Unfortunately, the first half of Dubya's speech appeared to be nothing more than a re-hash of his unkept promises from the 2000 campaign, except without the money to pay for any of it this time. Leave No Child Behind? Compassionate Conservatism? It's almost like the last four years never happened! But it was during the speech's second half that Our Great Leader really caught fire - because he got to talk about WAR and TERRA. (Pay no attention to those soon-to-break exposes on his National Guard Service - or lack of it - by the way.) "We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer," Bush boasted. Funny then that President We-Will-Not-Flinch almost crapped his drawers when two protesters interrupted the proceedings and were dragged out by police. Incidentally, has anyone noticed that the Republicans spent all week bragging about making America more secure, and they couldn't even secure their own damn Convention? There were protesters inside Madison Square Garden every single night for goodness sake. Anyway, while some pundits were shedding tears of joy at Our Great Leader's Great Acceptance Speech, others were not quite so impressed. The fact that he obviously left out quite a bit of stuff which hasn't gone too well so far - you know, little things like:

  • The economy being in the crapper
  • Everyone losing their jobs
  • The gap between rich and poor getting wider and wider
  • Enron (etc.)
  • Record-breaking oil prices
  • Record-breaking government deficits
  • Corporations outsourcing American jobs
  • Corporations getting massive tax-breaks while low income Americans get nothing
  • Environmental laws being gutted
  • Abandoning stem-cell research
  • Failing to fund No Child Left Behind
  • Giving massive government handouts to pharmaceutical industries while pretending to help the elderly
  • An increase in the overall tax burden on the middle-class
  • More and more people falling into poverty
  • More and more people without health insurance
  • Failing to unite, not divide the country
  • Exploiting September 11th for political purposes
  • Opposing investigations into September 11th
  • Opposing the Department of Homeland Security
  • Israeli spies influencing American foreign policy
  • Iranian spies influencing American foreign policy
  • No end in sight to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
  • No sign of Osama bin You-Know-Who
  • Almost 1,000 dead American soldiers
  • Quagmire in Iraq
  • A resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan
  • Insulting our friends and allies
  • Making the world hate us
  • Four more years
  • Four more years
  • Four more years!

And just think - they're in charge of the House, Senate and White House. Yes, after the disappointing failure of Bush to arrive by rising through the floor, I know this viewer was left wondering if perhaps he would instead sink into the stage at the end of the speech as flames leaped up around him. Alas... it was not to be. 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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