Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 174)

October 11, 2004
Top Ten Debate Moments, Round Two Edition

It's debate time again! Last week voters were treated to not just one but two exciting debates. First up was Darth Cheney vs. John Edwards, and unfortunately the vice president had a bit of trouble telling the truth. No surprises there. George W. Bush vs. John Kerry rounded off the week with Kerry remaining steady and consistent while George W. Bush sadly overcompensated for his deer-in-the-headlights performance at the first debate. In fact, you might say he displayed some "furity." Once again, you can find transcripts and video of both debates at the C-SPAN website. Enjoy!

Dick Cheney

Let's kick off with Tuesday's highlights (lowlights?) of the vice-presidential debate between troll-under-the-bridge Cheney and the next vice president John Edwards. Regardless of media spin Edwards really only had to hold his own against Cheney to win the debate; and this he did, and more. Edwards' attack-dog style put Cheney on the defensive, and the vice president was forced to lie so many times that he looked like a quality control tester in a sunbed factory.

1I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Connection Between Iraq and 9/11
Dick started off with a bang: "The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11," he claimed, minutes after Edwards flummoxed him with a series of attacks over the recent failures in Iraq. Whoops. Let's find out what Dick Cheney really said, shall we?

"He [Saddam Hussein] had long established ties with al Qaeda." (March 14, 2004)

"I think there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government" (January 22, 2004)

"[Iraq is] the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11." (September 8, 2002)

"Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that's been pretty well confirmed, that he [Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April." (December 9, 2001)

Facts - 1; Dick Cheney - 0.

2You Forgot Poland, I Mean, Iraq
When John Edwards said that "we've taken 90 percent of the coalition casualties" in Iraq, Cheney responded, "the 90 percent figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they've taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent."

Odd. I didn't think that Iraqi security forces were considered a part of the coalition. Oh wait - they're not. Of course, if you want to count them as part of the coalition and claim that US forces have taken 50 percent of the casualties, that would mean 2,400 coalition troops have been killed, not 1,200. Which is... uh... really great. Good job.

3A Sad Tale of Senile Dementia
Cheney's next goal was to accuse John Edwards of a poor Senate attendance record. "In my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer," growled Dick. "I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."

Oh really? Here's Dick Cheney swearing in Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2003:

And here's Dick Cheney at a prayer breakfast in 2001:

Also in 2001, Cheney and Edwards met during a taping of NBC's Meet the Press, which was confirmed by Tim Russert last week. So there you have it: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight. Well, except for the three times we met previously."

But the attention given to Cheney's "first time I ever met you" lie actually covered up a much bigger lie. Let's take another look at that quote. "In my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session."

Oh really? According to the Congressional Record, Dick Cheney has presided over the Senate exactly twice in the last four years - on November 12, 2002, and January 7, 2003. And he has the nuts to criticize Edwards' attendance record? Funnily enough, when the vice president isn't there to preside over the Senate, one of the Senators fills in for him. And in the past four years, John Edwards has actually done Cheney's job for him twice. Way to go, Dick.

4Record Faker
While we're on the subject, let's scrape this attendance bullcrap off our shoes once and for all. "Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that's not very distinguished," said Cheney. "Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you 'Senator Gone.' You've got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate."

Edwards' hometown newspaper (the tiny Moore County Pilot, not the Raleigh News & Observer) did call Edwards "Senator Gone" - once, in an editorial, more than a year ago. They also said, "Members of the senator's staff point out that Edwards' attendance record this year has been better than the three other Democratic senators who are campaigning for president - Joe Lieberman, Richard Gephardt and Bob Graham. And the aides also say none of the votes Edwards missed was close, so his presence on the floor would not have changed the outcome." Oh yes, and the Pilot supports John Kerry for president.

You may also be interested to know that in his first four years in the United States Senate, John Edwards had a voting attendance record of 99.2%, 100%, 99.2%, and 100%. Only in the last two years has his attendance record slipped, but that happens when you're running for president. Edwards' overall voting attendance record over six years is 84.8%. And since George W. Bush has spent 40% of his presidency on vacation, you'd think Cheney would want to keep his mouth shut about attendance records.

5The Facts Speak For Themselves
One of the most hilarious moments of the night was when Dick Cheney invited the 40 million or so debate viewers to log on to and read the truth about Halliburton. Unfortunately it turned out that was redirecting its traffic to a George Soros-owned website with the banner headline, "Why We Must Not Re-Elect President Bush," which floated just above the even more entertaining sub-headline, "President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests, and undermining American values." Ha ha!

The site that Cheney meant to direct viewers to was - an easy mistake to make, to be sure. Funnily enough, if you do head over to the nonpartisan website you'll find out some interesting stuff. Like, "we did post an article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad. But Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right."

George W. Bush

George W. Bush went into last Friday's debate needing a home run to slow John Kerry's momentum. So did he hit it out of the ballpark, or swing wildly at thin air? We report, you decide...

6That's Uncredible!
There was a lot of very, very bad news for George W. Bush last week - the biggest hit to his credibility obviously being the release of the official, comprehensive report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. It was already abundantly clear to pretty much everyone (except the Bush administration and anyone who listens to Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh) that there were no such weapons. But last week's report finally spelled out in black and white - a format Bush is eminently comfortable with - that not only were there no WMDs, but Saddam Hussein was actually a diminishing threat.

According to the Washington Post, Charles A. Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, "found that the state of Hussein's weapons-development programs and knowledge base was less advanced in 2003, when the war began, than it was in 1998, when international inspectors left Iraq."

And so George W. Bush changed his rationale for invading Iraq - again. And this excuse was the worst yet. When Bush was asked about his justifications for invading Iraq, he said, "Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions." That's right folks - we invaded Iraq, spent $200 billion, overthrew a secular Islamic state and replaced it with a breeding ground for fundamentalist terrorists, lost more than 1,000 of our soldiers and killed up to 25,000 Iraqis, - and all because "Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions." That's just weak.

But Bush's next statement was perhaps his strangest yet on the topic of Iraq. "I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons (sic)," he said. Actually, I'm not surprised. After claiming that Saddam Hussein was going to use unmanned aircraft to drop anthrax down our chimneys and after conjuring up the specter of Iraqi-built nuclear bombs blasting mushroom clouds over American cities, it must be a real bummer to find out that's not going to happen. Yes, you have to feel sorry for George W. Bush - if he can't terrorize the American people effectively, how's he going to squeeze any more wars out of us? No wonder he's not happy.

7Furious George
Karl Rove must have put George W. Bush in a world of hurt after his strange performance during the first debate. In Miami Bush was caught on camera smirking, grimacing, swaying from side to side, and molesting his podium. This time he was clearly under strict orders to show no emotion whatsoever while John Kerry was speaking. It worked pretty well. Apart from the frantic blinking and teethgrinding - which, to be fair, could be left over from his cokehead years - Dubya managed to stay relatively composed. For a while.

Unfortunately, at the first debate Bush also ended up looking like a wimp, stammering, pausing, and staring blankly at the camera for several seconds before answering questions. So this time he was also under orders to be more forceful while speaking - to look more like a "leader" than he did during the first debate, where frankly he looked like a tranked-out sock-puppet.

Of course, when you give George W. Bush two conflicting instructions, you know there are going to be problems.

Bush started strongly, but as the debate progressed and John Kerry's barbs hit home, he gradually became angrier and angrier. And... angrier. After a few questions Bush could barely restrain himself, practically leaping from his stool as soon as Kerry had finished speaking. And his "furity" culminated in a bizarre attack on moderator Charlie Gibson.

After a question on the possibility of a military draft, Bush flew to his feet, yelling over Gibson who was in the process of offering him a 60 second response.

GIBSON: Mr. President, let's extend for a minute...

BUSH: Let me just - I've got to answer this.

GIBSON: Exactly. And with Reservists being held on duty...


BUSH: Let me answer what he just said, about around the world.

As the president glared at him, Gibson looked startled. And then Bush started yelling. "You tell Tony Blair we're going alone!" he barked. "Tell Tony Blair we're going alone! Tell Silvio Berlusconi we're going alone! Tell Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland we're going alone!"

I mean, jeez. I know Bush doesn't like it when people forget Poland, but there's no need to shout about it.

(see more Furious George here)

So which George W. Bush will turn up for the third debate? Spaced-out Robot George? Or Unstable Maniac George? Or will we see something else entirely? I can't wait to find out!

8 Canada Is The New Iraq
If you thought Bush was bad on foreign policy, wait till you see what he can do with domestic stuff. The very first question of the night on domestic issues was about prescription drug imports, specifically, "Mr. President, why did you block the reimportation of safer and inexpensive drugs from Canada which would have cut 40 to 60 percent off of the cost?"

"I haven't yet," responded Our Great Leader. "Just want to make sure they're safe. When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you."

Wow! Watch out for those dangerous Canadian drugs! I mean, this is that third-world nation Canada we're talking about here. You know they hate us for our freedoms - maybe they'll put razor blades in our Viagra! Mind you, I guess since the president's "Iraqi nuclear bombs are going to kill you" line has fallen flat, "Canadian drugs are going to kill you" will have to do. Yes folks, Canadian drugs are an imminent threat.

Hang on a minute though - since the question was about the reimportation of drugs, Bush is actually talking about drugs which are manufactured in America, exported to Canada, and then brought back over the border by elderly American smugglers who can't afford to buy them here. Traitors! How dare they not be able to afford the ridiculous prices set by Bush's fat-cat buddies in the pharmaceutical industry? Something will have to be done about these evil-doers.

9He Invented the Internets
So much for Bush's "folksy" touch. It is estimated that at least 100 million Americans are active Internet users (that's about the number of people who voted in the last presidential election), and more than 165 million have access to the Internet. I guess George W. Bush isn't one of them. When asked, "how do you intend to maintain our military presence without reinstituting a draft?" he responded, "I hear there's rumors on the Internets (pause, smirk) that we're going to have a draft." Way to conjure up images of your daddy's amazement at bar-code readers, George. By the way, if anyone was wondering about the red mark on Karl Rove's forehead after the debate, it's because he was slapping himself so much.

10Deciphering Bush
Bush's "Internets" comment wasn't his only clanger of the night. (Did you expect it to be?) No, Bush put his foot in his mouth on a wide variety of other topics.

From Bush's mouth:
"First, the National Journal named Senator Kennedy the most liberal senator of all."
In Bush's brain:
Kennedy, right? I think that's right... who is this guy sitting across from me again? Wait, where am I?

From Bush's mouth:
"You looked at me like my clock was up."
In Bush's brain:
Heh heh! Clock... up...

From Bush's mouth:
"Look at the record of the man running for the president."
In Bush's brain:
I mean the other guy. Don't look at MY record.

From Bush's mouth:
"This is different from saying, OK, let me incent you to go on the government."
In Bush's brain:
Incent... ya like that? See, I know big words too.

From Bush's mouth:
"I had to make the decision to destroy more life, so we continue to destroy life - I made the decision to balance science and ethics."
In Bush's brain:
She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes, she'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes... Dammit, Dubya! Focus!

From Bush's mouth:
"And I'm going to spend what it takes to win the war, more than just $120 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan."
In Bush's brain:
That reminds me, must tell Dick that Halliburton called again.

From Bush's mouth:
"Now, you asked what mistakes. I made some mistakes in appointing people, but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on national TV."
In Bush's brain:
Yeah, Dick Clarke, I'm talking about you. Keeping you on was a BIG mistake. Telling everyone Iraq wasn't a threat... well NOW who's the fool, huh?

From Bush's mouth:
"Need some wood?"
In Bush's brain:
Heh heh! Wood...

From Bush's mouth:
"I really don't have - haven't picked anybody yet [for the Supreme Court]. Plus, I want them all voting for me."
In Bush's brain:
Folks should like that. Stealing the election was funny.

From Bush's mouth:
"Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights. That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all - you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America."
In Bush's brain:
Stupid Constitution.

From Bush's mouth:
"I guess you'd say I'm a good steward of the land."
In Bush's brain:
Hope I managed to keep a straight face when I said that!

From Bush's mouth:
"I vowed to the American people after that fateful day of September the 11th that we would not rest nor tire until we're safe."
In Bush's brain:
Jesus, I need a vacation.

You know, if it weren't for the possibility of a bankrupted economy, a ruined environment, an erosion of reproductive freedom, a theocracy run by the richest Americans, endless war in the Middle East, and the entire world hating our guts, another four years of Bush would probably be quite funny.

The Best of the Rest

Virginia Republicans are accusing Democratic candidate David Ashe of being "weak on terrorism," despite the fact that he has, uh, spent most of the last two years serving as a Marine in Iraq; Republican senate candidate Jim DeMint says no gays or pregnant women with live-in boyfriends should be able to become teachers; the GOP has dropped support for Salt Lake County mayor Nancy Workman after felony misuse of public money charges were filed against her; and there's good news: we don't need to worry about nukes or biological weapons in the hands of terrorists any more! Bad news: that's because they'll probably have antimatter bombs instead.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security terrorized parents nationwide by announcing that they had found plans of American schools on a computer disk in Iraq, and warned that people should be on the lookout for a terrorist attack similar to the recent school massacre in Russia. Turns out the disk belonged to a man who worked for civic groups doing planning for schools in Iraq. Sinclair Broadcasting Group (who famously prevented their affiliates from airing Nightline's tribute to American soldiers killed in Iraq) announced that they would force their affiliates to run a 42-minute-long anti-Kerry propaganda film - in prime-time - just days before the election. (Incidentally, Sinclair's reason for not broadcasting Nightline was "we do not believe such political statements should be disguised as news content." Unless they're unfavorable to John Kerry, I guess.) In related news, you may be interested to know that the president and CEO of Sinclair, David D. Smith, was arrested in 1996 for picking up a prostitute and was subsequently charged with "committing a perverted sex act" in a company-owned car.

Elsewhere, Michigan Republicans seriously want to prosecute Michael Moore after he offered to clean students' dorm rooms and buy them fresh underwear if they voted; yet more of George W. Bush's service records were released last week, despite the White House's repeated claims that they've all been released already; and South Brunswick Middle School teacher Shiba Pillai-Diaz tried to pull a Parlock, claiming she was fired for refusing to remove a picture of President George W. Bush from a school bulletin board. (It turns out she was downplaying her classroom campaigning activities just a tad.)

And finally, it was revealed that Porter Goss's pick to become the CIA's executive director, Michael Kostiw, was caught shoplifting in 1981; Contradicta Rice admitted that she knew the infamous 2002 "aluminum tubes" weren't necessarily suited for nuclear weapons programs, although she said at the time that they were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs"; Tom DeLay is up shit creek; and Dick Morris wins the Best Excuse For George W. Bush's First Diabolical Debate Performance Award - according to Morris, Dubya "simply knew too much." 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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