The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 145)
March 1, 2004
Third Annual Oscar Special!

So we, uh, forgot to do an Oscar Special last year. Sorry about that. But DU's annual(ish) Top Ten Oscar Special is back! The envelope please... George W. Bush (1, 4) came out in favor of a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage last week. But it's not just gays who are threatening the very fabric of American society - Rod Paige (2) is seeing terrorists everywhere. Meanwhile, The White House (3) has got a lot of splendid 9/11 entertainment lined up for the GOP convention this fall. I can't wait. Elsewhere, AOL (6) are showing the Chimp some love, The Pentagon (7) are giving your money to morons, Bill O'Reilly (9) is the most ridiculous item of the day, and Laura Bush (10) is making a fuss about nothing. Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!

1George W. Bush oscar winner homophobia homophobia homophobia pandering
Best Actor in the Role of the President: Republicans are no strangers to waging culture wars when their election campaigns are stalling. When George H.W. Bush was trailing Michael Dukakis in 1988, up popped the infamous Willie Horton ad. When Bush Jr. was trailing John McCain in 2000, he took a trip to Bob Jones University to fire up the base. And now Dubya's at it again, announcing last week that he is backing a Constitutional amendment which will officially declare gays and lesbians second-class citizens. Bush has pussyfooted around the issue recently, declaring the subject of gay marriage "troubling," but it wasn't until polls showed him losing by double digits to both John Kerry and John Edwards that he decided the time was right to go all guns blazing at the most important issue America faces today - homosexuality. Yup, never mind the enormous budget deficit. Forget the millions of Americans who don't have health care. Jobs? The 9/11 Commission? Iraq? Afghanistan? All minor issues when compared to the shadowy, terrifying threat that is, uh, allowing two people of the same sex to officially declare their love for one another and have their lifelong monogamous relationship legally recognized. So I guess it's time to add the first amendment to the Constitution since Prohibition that will actually restrict personal freedom. And everyone knows what a smashing success Prohibition was.

2Rod Paige oscar winner excessive spin excessive spin
Best Use of War On Terror Hyperbole: But it's not just gays and lesbians who are considered by the GOP to be a major threat to the security of America - teachers had better start watching their backs, too. Teachers? Yes, teachers. During a private meeting with governors last week, Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association - America's largest teachers union - a "terrorist organization." Can't you just picture the scene? A group of underpaid sixth-grade math teachers huddled around a candle in a dark basement somewhere in Brooklyn, discussing curriculum changes, assessment standards, and the downfall of The Great Satan? Better start rounding them up and putting them in camps for, uh, reeducation.

3The White House oscar winner hypocrisy partisanship
Best Post-9/11 Hypocrisy: Have you noticed that Republicans have spent the last three years pissing in their pants whenever a Democrat brings up September 11? "Stop politicizing a national tragedy!" they wail. Consequently, the GOP has done everything in its power to stop people talking about 9/11, from flat-out trying to prevent an inquiry from taking place, to objecting and stalling and finally relenting, to appointing members to the 9/11 commission who had clear conflicts of interest (also see Idiots 95) to refusing to extend the unfinished investigation's deadline. And what's the reason for all this obstructionism? "Waaah! Stop politicizing a national tragedy!" they cry. How ironic, then, that the White House is planning an "NYC extravaganza" for their convention in September, according to "According to sources privy to convention planners' discussions, the 2004 GOP conclave at New York's Madison Square Garden will be unlike any previous quadrennial gathering of either party. In fact, not all of the main events will be held at the Garden, sources involved in planning the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 convention said. 'The entire format and actual physical setup could be radically different,' one GOP insider commented. 'They might not even have a podium, or maybe a rotating podium or even a stage that comes up from underground. It would be like a theater in the round, with off-site events that are part of the convention... Or, and this is a real possibility, we could see President Bush giving his acceptance speech at Ground Zero... It's clearly a venue they're considering.'" Oh, I'm sorry, did I say "ironic?" I meant "fucking disgraceful."

4George W. Bush oscar winner dumb
Best Director of Hunts for Terrorists with an Eye for Convenient Timing: Speaking of 9/11... according to the New York Times, "President Bush has approved a plan to intensify the effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, senior administration and military officials say." Okay - while capturing or killing Osama bin Laden would obviously be a very good thing, I have to ask at this point... what the hell have you been doing since September 11, 2001, George?!?! Let me get this straight - after vowing to track down the mastermind behind 9/11 two and a half years ago, you've barely mentioned his name, instead focusing all your attention on Iraq, which a) had nothing to do with September 11, and b) apparently wasn't a clear and present danger to the United States. And now you're approving a plan to "intensify the effort" to catch bin Laden? Well, I guess you figured it could wait until an election year. A nice little October Surprise would come in kinda handy for you and the boys, wouldn't it?

5Antonin Scalia oscar winner dumb
Best Supporting Supreme Court Justice: Antonin Scalia's shameful lapse of ethics in a court case involving Dick Cheney has been noted several times in this column recently (see Idiots passim) - Scalia accepted an invitation to go duck hunting with Cheney (on the taxpayers dime, naturally), despite having to hear a case which could prove politically embarrassing to the vice president. But it appears that Antonin Scalia is no stranger to these kinds of conflicts of interest. It was revealed last week that, according to the Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was the guest of a Kansas law school two years ago and went pheasant hunting on a trip arranged by the school's dean, all within weeks of hearing two cases in which the dean was a lead attorney." And you'll never believe this, but Scalia ended up siding with the dean when he ruled on the case! Isn't that just remarkable? In a written statement, Scalia said: "I do not think that spending time at a law school in which the counsel in pending cases was the dean could reasonably cause my impartiality to be questioned." Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah - because it's almost exactly the same thing he said about the Cheney case: "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned." Right, right, of course. Accusing you of lacking impartiality? What on earth are we thinking, Antonin?

6AOL oscar winner partisanship
Best Brown Nose: This Google Bombing story is a couple of weeks old, but it's worth noting. For those of you who are unfamiliar with "Google Bombing," it has been defined as "Setting up a large number of Web pages with links that point to a specific Web site so that the site will appear near the top of a Google search when users enter the link text." This means that if a lot of people publish the words, say, "miserable failure" on their websites, and link those words to, say, the biography of George W. Bush on the White House website, when you type the words "miserable failure" into the Google search engine, George W. Bush's biography will appear at the top of the list. Funny, huh? And this is exactly what's been going on over the last couple of months. Intrepid liberal bloggers, website owners, and discussion board members have planted enough "miserable failure" links across the web to get George W. Bush to the top of the list. But in retaliation, right-wingers have been linking the words "miserable failure" to the websites of Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Michael Moore, and the four sites have been battling it out for Google's top spot for a while now. So what does AOL have to do with this? Well, AOL uses Google technology for their search function, and apparently they don't like Our Great Leader being called a miserable failure. So - you guessed it - they've removed the listing. But surprise, surprise, the listings for Clinton, Carter, and Moore are - you guessed it again - still there. Which basically proves that AOL are - yes, you guessed it a third time! - a bunch of Republican-pandering, Bush-bootlicking idiots.

7The Pentagon oscar winner dumb
Best Use of Taxpayers Money: Just when you think the Bush administration can't come up with any more ways to spend your cash, here comes the Pentagon with yet another brilliant way to burn money. According to Knight Ridder, "The Department of Defense is continuing to pay millions of dollars for information from the former Iraqi opposition group that produced some of the exaggerated and fabricated intelligence President Bush used to argue his case for war." Yes that's right folks, you heard right - the Pentagon has apparently set aside 3 to 4 million dollars for the Information Collection Program of the Iraqi National Congress which is led by longtime Bush buddy Ahmed Chalabi. This is the same Ahmed Chalabi who said two weeks ago that when it came to the bullshit intelligence they'd passed along to the Pentagon, "We are heroes in error... As far as we're concerned we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if he wants." So let's just get this straight - we know that Chalabi's Information Collection Program fed false info to the Pentagon, they even admit that they fed false information to the Pentagon, and instead of kicking them in the ass the Pentagon is giving them millions of dollars? It's bizzaro world in Bush's America!

8Carver Middle School oscar winner religious nut racism
Best Biblical Ass-Pummeling: Did you know that since Canada decided to ban corporal punishment in schools last month, the USA and a single state in Australia are the only areas in the industrialized world which still allow the beating of schoolchildren? And some schools take this "privilege" way more seriously than others. Take Carver Middle School in Mississippi for example, whose assistant principal Ralph McClaney resigned last week after protesting the school's position on paddling. Most of Carver Middle School's students come from housing projects, and McClaney was expected to beat as many as 10 to 15 children a day, but "The idea of a big white guy hitting an 80-pound black girl because she talked back to the teacher did not sit well with me," he said. According to McClaney's written notes, the school's principal Earnest Ward told him, "These kids are different, all they understand is the paddle," and "walk the halls and, if the kids are out of line, burn their butts." Not only that, but according to the Washington Post, Carver special education teacher Cherry Moore believes that "Old Testament references to 'spoiling the child by sparing the rod' should outweigh the allegedly negative effects of corporal punishment cited by child-development experts." Oh boy.

9 Bill O'Reilly oscar winner homophobia
Best Spin in a No-Spin Zone: It's the most ridiculous item of the day! On Fox News recently, Bill O'Reilly spent a little time pontificating on America's culture wars. Specifically, on the subject of - yup - gay marriage. And guess what? Freedom-loving Bill disagrees with it. I'm shocked. But Bill's ramblings took a bizarre turn when he discussed the California judges who have not prevented homosexuals from marrying in San Francisco: "Marriage licenses continue to be issued in San Francisco in defiance of California state law, and one of the judges who refused to stop the madness is James Warren," said Bill. "James Warren is himself a homosexual, according to 'San Francisco' magazine, begging the question as to why he did not recuse himself. That would not have been ridiculous. That would have been fair." Excuse me? Well then I guess straight judges shouldn't rule on the case either, since they'll obviously be biased against homosexuals. Perhaps a panel of nine hermaphrodites should be assembled to rule on the case. I wonder - does Bill also think that black judges should recuse themselves from racial discrimination cases? Or that female judges should recuse themselves from sexual discrimination cases? Most ridiculous item of the day, indeed.

10Laura Bush oscar winner hypocrisy excessive spin
Overstatement of the Year Award: And finally: Awwww.... in interviews last week poor Laura Bush was heard complaining that criticism of her husband's dubious National Guard service during the Vietnam War amounted to a "witch hunt." "I think it's a political, you know, witch-hunt, actually, on the part of the Democrats," she said. A witch hunt, Laura? Let me tell you what a real witch hunt looks like. Take a president - let's say, for example, the last legally elected president. Begin by looking into a pisspot land deal (which turns out later to be a fuss about nothing) and then use it as excuse to spend eight years and almost $80 million of public money probing around in the president's pants. Divert important FBI resources to investigate his private life, then release a pornographic report revealing the intimate details of a private affair between the president and a consenting adult. Next, impeach him on trumped up perjury charges, then acquit him. Oh, and don't forget to release a report (a couple of years too late) clearing him of any wrongdoing. Now that, Laura, is a witch hunt. And in fact, if it hadn't been for that witch hunt, your ass wouldn't be sitting in the White House right now. So I've got five words for you, dear: Get The Hell Over It. See you next week!