The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 146)
March 8, 2004
Vote For Bush Or You're All Going To Die!!!!! Edition
The Bush administration appear to have a cunning plan for this year's election. First they're going to scare the shit out of you, then they're going to tell you they're the only people that can keep you safe. I guess they realized this tactic works pretty well for wife-beaters, so it's a good fit for the Republican party. Take Dubya's new ads (1,2) which feature stirring imagery of 9/11 and tout his "strong leadership." Then compare this to Bush's bizarre aversion (3) to the 9/11 Commission . Are you scared that without Bush to stop them, terrorists will drop anthrax down your chimneys? Dick Morris (4) thinks you should be, and Tom Cole (5) thinks you really should be. But if this doesn't work, Republicans have a plan B - the RNC (6) is just going to bully TV stations into refusing to air anti-Bush ads. There's plenty more on the list this week, so enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!
Back in January 2002, George W. Bush told leaders of both parties that when it comes to 9/11, "I have no ambition whatsoever to use this as a political issue." I guess this was another one of his famous flubs; what he actually meant to say was "I have no amibtion whatsoever. Let's use this as a political issue." Relatives of the 9/11 victims and members of the International Association of Fire Fighters - not to mention everybody else with a sense of decency - were shocked last week when Bush's first election campaign ads rolled out. Knight-Ridder described the ads as featuring "the smoldering wreckage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, with a flag flying in the rubble. Another ad shows firefighters carrying a flag-draped stretcher." Said one relative of a 9/11 victim, "Using my dead friends and my dead brother for political expediency is dead wrong... It's wrong, it's bad taste and an insult to the 3,000 people who died on Sept. 11." The weird thing is, the Bush campaign is trying to play this off like it makes Bush look better. The general theme of the ads is "steady leadership in time of change," which is pretty fucking bizarre if you consider the fact that we were doing okay until President Dunce feel asleep at the wheel.
Speaking of images of flag-draped stretchers, you've got to admire the way Bush rolls out corpses whenever it's convenient. You may have noticed that there's been no media coverage of the bodies of American servicepeople returning from Iraq - that's because back in December of 2003, the Pentagon told the families of troops who had been killed in action that "We're going to do everything in our power to ensure reverence for their fallen loved one." Fair enough, but they probably should have added, "...if it's politically expedient to do so, of course. On the other hand, if a flag-draped stretcher can be used in a way that will make George Bush look like a hero instead of a warmongering buffoon, then we're all for it." So what does firefighter Tommy Fee of Rescue Squad 270 in Queens think about Bush's World Trade Center campaign ads? "It's as sick as people who stole things out of the place," he said. Sorry, George, but I think I'm with Tommy on this one.
And if you needed more evidence of Bush's two-faced approach to 9/11, ask yourself this: why would Bush want to glorify his 9/11 "achievements" in order to prop up his claims of "strong and steady leadership," and then attempt to hamstring the panel which is investigating what really happened on that dreadful day? According to the New York Times, the 9/11 Commission "is refusing to accept strict conditions from the White House for interviews with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney." Bush and Dick were insisting that they should only be interviewed for one hour, and only by two members of the panel. So what the hell is going on here? On the one hand you've got an ad campaign which uses 9/11 to tout Our Great Leader's Strong Steady Leadership, and on the other hand you've got Our Great Leader doing everything he can to make sure the 9/11 Commission doesn't find out what it needs to know. This idiot is supposed to be making our country safer? Oh, and by the way, it's worth noting that Bill Clinton and Al Gore have already scheduled meetings with the full panel, without time constraints. Just a reminder of what real strong, steady leadership looks like.
Some conservative shills are actually coming right out and saying what the Bush administration doesn't want to admit - that the only way for them to retain the White House this year is through terrorizing the voters. In a recent column, Dick Morris lays out what Bush needs to do to beat Kerry. The economy? Forget it. Positive ads? Ha! What Bush needs to do, according to Morris, is "make Americans understand that the war on terror is still atop our national agenda. He needs to elevate the sense of threat so that his advantage as a war president begins to count" (emphasis added). Yup, if Bush wants to win, he's going to have to do a better job of frightening the American people into submission. Is that a series of Orange Alerts I see on the horizon?
And if it still isn't clear that the Republicans are focusing on scaring people into voting for them because they have nothing else to run on this year, here's another example: At a speech to the Canadian County Republican Convention last week, Republican congressman Tom Cole said, "I promise you this, if George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election, it's that simple. It will be interpreted that way by enemies of the United States around the world... What do you think Hitler would have thought if Roosevelt would've lost the election in 1944? He would have thought American resolve was [weakening]." Cole defended the comments on his website, saying, "I never said and do not believe that a vote against President Bush is equivalent to a vote for Adolf Hitler." Oh, okay, fair enough. So you only compared John Kerry to Osama bin Laden then. Well, I guess that's just dandy. Is this really the best the Republicans can do? I guess running on Bush's record on the economy, Iraq, education, jobs and the environment are all out... yup, better stick with the fearmongering instead. Although when it comes to national security, I think I'd rather take a genuine war hero over an incoherent AWOL chickenhawk who didn't stop drinking till he was forty years old. Just my personal opinion.
While the Republicans will be running on fear this year, the Democrats will be running on... well, you won't find out, if the RNC gets its way. The Republican party is currently in the process of pressuring the FEC into creating new regulations which will severely curtail the fundraising and spending activities of anti-Bush organizations. But the lack of any decision by the FEC so far hasn't stopped the RNC from sending letters to around 250 TV stations urging them not to run the ads by MoveOn. The letters say in part that the stations have a "responsibility to the viewing public, and to your licensing agency, to refrain from complicity in any illegal activity" - never mind that the FEC hasn't yet given in to RNC pressure to come up with new regulations. So while Team Bush will be free to spend $200 million this year saturating the airwaves with tall tales of Bush's "strong, steady leadership" - oh, and don't forget, vote Republican or you're all going to die - people who don't support Bush are in danger of finding themselves hard-pressed to respond, all because of the strongarm tactics of the Republican National Committee. Let's recap... scaring the shit out of the American people - check. Hobbling the investigation into 9/11 - check. Comparing John Kerry to Osama bin Laden - check. Making back-door deals to ensure that a Democratic response is regulated out of existence - check. Trying to silence MoveOn by telling TV stations that their ads are illegal - check. Now I'm just waiting for the Republicans to tell me that Democrats will do anything to win.
Dick Cheney has been echoing the sentiments of Our Great Leader recently, adding his support to a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. One might think that since Cheney's own daughter is gay, it would be fair to ask him what she thinks of his decision. Said he, "One of the most unpleasant aspects of this business is the extent of which private lives are intruded upon when these kinds of issues come up." Oh, aha! Well, indeed. How inconvenient it is for people when their private lives are intruded upon, by, say, folks who want to, I dunno, change the frickin' Constitution to discriminate againt them. Way to go, Dick. You know, I'm sure living in an old nuclear bunker gives Vice President Crashcart the illusion that this is still 1953, but perhaps if he stuck his head out a bit more often he'd realize that the rest of America is living in the twenty-first century.
Jobs watch: We noted back in Idiots 143 that the Bush adminstration have big plans to create 2.6 million jobs this year - that's about 220,000 new jobs a month. They got off to roaring start in January, creating, uh, 112,000 jobs, and it looks like February has been a real barn-burner of a month, with, um, 21,000 new jobs created. I guess those tax cuts for the rich are really kicking in now! Especially when you consider that not a single one of those 21,000 jobs created in February are private sector jobs. That's right - they're all a result of government hiring. So, that's no new private sector jobs in February, and the government's getting bigger. You just can't beat Bush's strong, steady leadership.
Diebold et al
"Computer glitches plague US voters," reported the UK Guardian last week. "Frozen screens and malfunctioning computers plagued some voters who tried to cast electronic ballots in yesterday's 'Super Tuesday' contests to win the Democratic nomination for this year's US presidential elections." Yup, 21st century voting caused all kinds of problems from San Diego to Maryland last week as the machines rioted. Some people even had to leave and go to different polling places where they cast their ballots on paper. Ugh, paper, how undignified. So as we leave the nightmare of hanging chads behind, rest assured that in 2004 our new system of electronic machines which freeze, fail to boot, show the wrong candidates on the screen, don't produce a paper trail, and are easily susceptible to foul play, will be so much better.
And finally, it looks like US Solicitor General Ted Olson has just figured out what most of the rest of America figured out long, long ago - there's porn on the Internet. Amusingly, Olson realized what was going on after he typed "free porn" into a search engine and got 6 million hits. And now he wants to - you guessed it - crack down. The only problem is that according to the ACLU, the law under which Olson wants to rid the world of pornography also "criminalizes a depiction or description of nudity, or even a description of the female breast." But, but, says Olson, porn is "as easily available to children as a television remote." So... perhaps parents should pay the same attention to what their children are looking at on the Internet as what they're watching on television, I dunno. After all, if you wouldn't plop your kids down unattended in front of the Spice Channel for a few hours on a Saturday night, why would you hand them the keys to the world's biggest and most discreet dirty bookstore? On an interesting side note, this report also officially marks Ted Olson as the last man in America to type "free porn" into an Internet search engine. See you next week!