Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 178)

November 22, 2004
Four More Years Edition

Needless to say, we were kinda expecting to be publishing this edition of the Top 10 Conservative Idiots under slightly different circumstances. Instead of taking a triumphant victory lap, we took two weeks off from writing to lick our wounds and cry in our beers. We apologize for the unscheduled hiatus. But this week the Top 10 is back, and we're ready to fight the good fight for another four years. To all you patriotic Americans who gave your heart and soul to this year's campaign: We salute you. This week's column is for you.

1Four More Years
Yes, he's still the president. No, we didn't vote for him. Sorry, America, but for the next four years y'all get exactly what Bush's supporters voted for. So don't come crying to us when the wheels come off the wagon. Got it?

2It's Quittin' Time
When the going gets tough, the tough run screaming. Since Nov. 2nd, a growing number of Bush appointees have decided to call it quits, presumably in preparation for the End Times which are apparently just around the corner. To help DUers keep track of the ins and outs of the recent resignations, here's our official Quittin' Time Fact Sheet:

John Ashcroft (Justice)
Good News! In four short years, Ashcroft has solved all of our problems. In a five page resignation letter, Ashcroft told George Bush that, "the objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." So, uh, that's all sorted out then.

Reason for quitting:
Wants to spend more time with his Crisco.

Rod Paige (Education)
Although Paige hasn't formally resigned yet, a White House spokesman said, "The secretary has been looking at leaving, and he's been in discussion with the White House about the right time to do so." Chester Finn Jr., a former Education Department leader, said, "He didn't sound like a man who was in a great hurry to pack up and clear out."

Reason for quitting:
Either felt he had reached the pinnacle of his career after publicly calling the National Education Association a "terrorist organization," or got fired.

Spencer Abraham (Energy)
The Cato Institute's Jerry Taylor said, "When the administration undertook their national energy strategy planning operation, it was not directed by Secretary Abraham, it was directed by Vice President Cheney. That's a reflection of how seriously the administration takes his expertise in this area." In an interview after his resignation, Abraham said, "We got a lot of things that were stuck unstuck and moved ahead and made some really good progress."

Reason for quitting:
Nothing left to unstick. Made some really good progress.

Colin Powell (State)
Colin Powell wrote in his resignation letter, "As we have discussed in recent months, I believe that now that the election is over, the time has come for me to step down as Secretary of State and return to private life." We hear that Bush accepted his resignation, replying, "Now that the election is over, I couldn't agree with you more."

Reason for quitting:
Health reasons. Sickened by own hypocrisy and loss of self-respect.

Ann Veneman (Agriculture)
Despite outbreaks of hoof-and-mouth disease, an increased threat of "agro-terrorism," and the director of food policy for the Consumer Federation of America saying, "We don't think she took all the steps that were necessary to protect the public," Ann Veneman wrote in her resignation letter, "We have made great progress during the past four years, and I feel now is an appropriate time for me to move on to other opportunities."

Reason for quitting:
Mad cow.

Don Evans (Commerce)
Don Evans told his boss that "while the promise of your second term shines bright, I have concluded with deep regret that it is time for me to return home." He added, "The mothership has concluded that my work here is done, and my fellow Alpha-Centaurians are in great need of the knowledge I have obtained from your planet."

Reason for quitting:
Bush gave him a noogie after Evans told him not to for like the two hundredth time.

3Cringe and Purge
Porter Goss was confirmed as the new CIA chief back in August. At the time, Goss promised to avoid partisanship, and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.), "rejected suggestions that Goss is too political" for the job.

It is therefore no surprise whatsoever that Goss last week started moving to purge the CIA of liberals and replace them with inexperienced Bush loyalists. A former senior CIA official said, "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

But - bear with me, this is pretty funny - remember when we invaded Iraq because George W. Bush told us that Saddam Hussein had massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction? (Rack your brains, it wasn't very long ago). Well, all of that WMD information came from Bush loyalists within the intelligence services who were determined to give the president the justifications he needed to go to war, regardless of the facts. In fact, the White House even set up an Office of Special Plans which would second-guess the CIA and give Bush the information he needed.

So now - and this is the really hilarious part, you'll love this - now it's turned out that all the information Bush's intelligence cronies passed on to him was completely and utterly wrong, Goss is dumping the people who got it right. And the people who fucked up the pre-war intelligence so very royally? They get to keep their jobs. In fact, Goss is going to hire more of them.


4Steamed Rice
So let's see... Condoleezza Rice was the National Security Adviser on the day of the nation's worst-ever lapse of security. She publicly announced that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile" despite attending the G-8 conference in Genoa two months earlier where "U.S. officials were warned that Islamic terrorists might attempt to crash an airliner into the summit, which prompted officials to close the airspace over Genoa and station anti-aircraft guns at the city's airport." She tried to pretend that a Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside United States" wasn't really that important, after testifying just minutes earlier that the briefing contained "nothing about the threat of attack in the U.S." She was put in charge of the Iraqi Stabilization Group, which quietly disappeared several months later.

And what does her husband... oops, I mean, President George "Responsibility" Bush do about all these failures? Why, he makes her Secretary of State of course!

Because what better person to have in charge of the nation's diplomacy than a career war-hawk who has screwed up at almost every turn in her current job, and who, according to the Washington Post, "many experts consider ... one of the weakest national security advisers in recent history in terms of managing interagency conflicts." That's right - she can't handle interagency conflicts, and now she's in charge of managing world conflicts.

But like I said at the beginning, America - don't blame us Dems. We didn't vote for this crap.

5The Quality of My Election
I'd like to take a moment here to answer a question which has been on everyone's lips since November 2nd. With all the reports of software glitches, computer errors, irregularities disproportionately affecting minorities, machines counting backwards, curious predictions by Republican congressmen, the possibility of machines being hacked, bizarrely incorrect exit polls, people waiting in 3-hour long lines, machines recording votes for one candidate as votes for another candidate, uncounted provisional ballots, the media whitewashing the whole thing, and so on and so forth... who really won the election?

Answer: It doesn't frickin' matter.

It is completely missing the point to suggest that those concerned with making sure every vote is counted are nothing but partisan nutballs. The point is that after the 2000 election we were assured by the powers that be that they would do everything they could to correct the multitude of problems which led to a Supreme Court decision awarding the presidency to George W. Bush. The countless documented voting irregularities on November 2nd would seem to suggest that the powers that be screwed up.

Should Americans have the right to know that their votes have been counted? If you've been following the mainstream media's post-election coverage of voting problems, you'll know the answer to that question is, "what, are you some kind of Kerry-loving, tinfoil-hat-wearing, X-Files-watching, conspiracy-threory fruitcake? What the hell is wrong with you?"

We're supposed to believe that we can successfully export democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, yet we can't even trust our own electoral process. But don't mention it to the mainstream media - they'll just laugh at you.

6Cheap Rick
It appears that Sen. Rick Santorum is one of those Republicans who believes that the government should butt out and let everyone pull themselves up by the bootstraps - except when it comes to rich conservatives.

In 1997 Santorum bought a small two bedroom house in Penn Hills, PA. But his family never lived there - they live in an $750,000 house in Leesburg, VA. That didn't stop Santorum taking around $100,000 of Pennsylvania taxpayers' money so his children could attend the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

When Santorum got caught with his pants down last week, he announced that he would withdraw his children from the school immediately and begin home-schooling them. With the money he saved gouging PA's taxpayers, he should be able to afford a pretty good tutor.

7Conan the Environmentalist
Governor Groping Austrian Beefcake is promising to boost hydrogen as an alternative fuel source in California - a laudable goal. Perhaps, though, he could start by practicing what he preaches. Arnie turned up at a photo-op last week driving a hydrogen-powered Hummer, which he proceeded to fill at a special pump in front of a crowd of enthusiastic photographers.

Unfortunately the makers of the Hummer admitted later that it not been retrofitted but built specially for the occasion and, could only travel 50 miles before needing to be refueled. And, uh, no hydrogen actually came out of the pump that Arnold was photographed using, it was just a prop. Finally, after the press had put their cameras and notebooks away, the Gropenator left in a regular gasoline-powered Hummer that gets 15 miles to the gallon. Oh well, at least he looked good for the cameras.

8The Rules Are... There Ain't No Rules
In 1993 House Republicans adopted a rule which would force House leaders indicted by a state grand jury to resign from their leadership positions, saying, according to the Washington Post, that "they held themselves to higher standards" than their Democratic counterparts. Unfortunately it appears that they were joking.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is currently under threat of indictment for "using a political action committee to illegally collect corporate donations and funnel them to Texas legislative races" - three of his political associates have already been indicted. And now - surprise - House Republicans want to change their own rules. I guess the "rule of law" isn't something they feel that strongly about after all - I mean, it's useful for making empty statements and taking political shots at your opponents, but when it comes to actually applying it to members of your own party, well, I guess rules were made to be broken.

"You live today with the most corrupt congressional leadership we have seen in the United States in the 20th century," said Newt Gingrich in 1992. Twelve years later, and guess what? We live today with the most corrupt congressional leadership we have seen in the United States ever. Now that's what I call progress.

9 I'll Be Barack
"Before heading off to Washington and the U.S. Senate," reported the Associated Press last week, "U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Il., gets a hug from Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, left."

Photo: Associated Press

Um, I hate to break it to you, Associated Press, but that's not Barack Obama.

10Moral Values Watch
And finally, an exit poll released after election day apparently showed that "moral values" was the foremost thought in peoples' minds when they cast their votes for president. Moral values, with 22 percent, beat out the economy (20 percent) and terrorism (19 percent). Suddenly the record deficit has taken a back seat to banning abortion and it's more important to stop Jerry and Bob from getting married than it is to capture Osama bin Laden.

What's wrong with this picture? The media were perfectly willing to discount as "erroneous" exit polls which showed John Kerry beating George W. Bush by 6 points among women voters in Ohio. But an exit poll which shows moral values beating economic issues by two points? That's taken as gospel by the pundits.

There's no denying that fundamentalist Christian conservatives turned out in record numbers to put George W. Bush back in the White House, and over the next four years it will surely be interesting to watch Our Great Leader tie himself into knots trying to placate his evangelical nutjob base without alienating moderate Republicans.

But will far-right "moral values" - that is, letting the government sniff around in our bedrooms, step between a woman and her doctor, and control what we're allowed to watch on our televisions - trump real American Values of freedom and liberty? If the nutjobs have their way, they will. Funnily enough, the "war on terror" that we're currently engaged in is supposed to be spreading freedom and fighting against fundamentalism. How ironic.

Obviously we'll be keeping an eye on this debate as it unfolds, but to kick off, let's take a quick look at divorce. Considering the right-wing's habit of painting liberals as moral delinquents, you might be interested to know that the state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is... Massachusetts. You know, the state George W. Bush kept using as a whipping-boy for all the nation's liberal sins during the campaign. And oddly enough, the highest divorce rates are found in the Bible Belt. According to an AP study, "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people."

What is it they say about people who live in glass houses?

Notice: I know, I know, the Top Ten has only just returned - but we'll be swapping conservative turkeys for real ones and taking a break for Thanksgiving next week. See you in two weeks time. 

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