Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 182)

January 17, 2005
Error Of Responsibility Edition

This week's edition focuses on conservative responsibility - or rather, the lack thereof. First up is The Media (1) for blatantly whoring the CBS memo "scandal" while simultaneously ignoring the fact that - hey - there weren't any WMD in Iraq after all. Who'da thunk it? Meanwhile George W. Bush (2,3,4,10) takes four slots this week, all for responsibility-related offenses, and Charles Graner's lawyer Guy Womack (5) didn't think his client should be held culpable for activities which were, after all, simply wholesome and American. Elsewhere, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist (6) have been adding to the misery of tsunami victims, and Armstrong Williams (7) is still trying to weasel his way out of trouble with the assistance of the "liberal media." Line 'em up...

1The Media
Last week it was revealed that the hunt for WMD in Iraq had finally, officially been called off. At the same time, CBS fired four staff members for the pre-election phony memo incident. So let me get this straight... the Bush administration along with their media lapdog accomplices flat-out lied to the American people about Iraq's WMD capability and used their lies to get us into a war which has killed thousands upon thousands of people, drained the nation's coffers, grievously damaged our standing in the world, and increased the threat of global terrorism. CBS, on the other hand, mistakenly used a fake memo to bolster an otherwise well-researched, true story about Bush's missing time in the Air National Guard - which made them look foolish but didn't actually, you know, kill anybody. So which story is more important? Going by last week's media coverage of the two events, the CBS memo is about, oh, ten thousand times more important than Iraq, at a rough guess. So thanks, so-called liberal media, for sucking up to Bush, fooling us into war and then scapegoating CBS for their "lack of ethics." At least CBS had the decency to fire those behind the error. The Bush administration literally gave medals to their fuck-ups. Now that's what I call taking responsibility.

2George W. Bush
"There's no debate in the world as to whether they have those weapons. There's no debate in the world as to whether they're continuing to develop and acquire them ... We all know that. A trained ape knows that." - Donald Rumsfeld, June 2003. Oh dear, Don. Maybe your trained ape knew it, but even he seems a little doubtful about Iraq these days: "I watch what I say," Bush told Barbara Walters last week. "I said some things in the first term that were probably a little blunt. 'Bring it on' was a little blunt. I was really speaking to our troops, but it came out and had a different connotation, different meanings for others." Yes, like the Iraqis who just put out a propaganda video which says, "George W. Bush; you have asked us to 'bring it on'. And so help me, (we will) like you never expected." Bush also told Barbara Walters, "I'll be more disciplined in how I say things. I have to be cautious about conveying thoughts in a way that doesn't send wrong impressions about our country." Wow! Just in the nick of time!

3George W. Bush
Don't worry though - despite Our Great Leader's admission that he perhaps should have done things differently, he was adamant last week that, if given the chance to do it all over again, he definitely would not have done things differently. During his ABC interview Bush told Barbara Walters that despite the fact that no WMD have been found, the invasion of Iraq was "worth it." Um, worth it how, exactly? Now, do bear in mind that before the invasion, Bush announced Saddam Hussein could stay in power - if only he would just disarm. "I'm hopeful we won't have to go war... [But] the world has asked him to disarm from weapons of mass destruction," he said in January 2003. "The first indication isn't very positive that he will voluntarily disarm. After all, he put out a declaration that the world realized was false. ... You know, Saddam Hussein - hopefully he realizes we're serious, and hopefully he disarms peacefully." So, uh, if he'd given up the non-existent weapons, he could still be dictator of Iraq? That kinda knocks a hole in the old "freeing the Iraqi people" reason for invading, don't it? But for those Iraqis who are still annoyed about their families being blown to pieces - uh, I mean, being generously freed by the United States - the Pentagon has a very special idea: death squads. Yes, "the Salvador option," as it is known, will put "Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams" on the ground in Iraq, according to Newsweek. That's right folks, they'll be throwing flowers at our feet any day now!

4George W. Bush
Back in 2000 when George W. Bush was running for president, he told delegates at the Republican National Convention that, "Behind every goal I've talked about tonight is a great hope for our country. A hundred years from now this must not be remembered as an age rich in possession and poor in ideals. Instead, we must usher in an era of responsibility." Well, last week our Great Leader was proud to announce that the "era of responsibility" is... wait for it... yes! It's over! Did you blink and miss it? According to the Washington Post, "President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and" - get this - "that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath." There you have it - the era of responsibility ended the moment Dubya got re(s)elected. But I guess all that grand talk of an "era of responsibility" was kinda quaint anyway. Referring to his opinion that his administration could now be excused of any culpability in the Iraq disaster, Bush said, "We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections." Ah yes, from the "era of responsibility" to an "accountability moment." Impressive.

5Guy Womack
Here's one final item relating to Iraq. Last week Charles Graner (the Abu Ghraib prison guard who had his picture taken in front of a pile of naked Iraqi detainees) went on trial, and unbelievably his lawyer, Guy Womack, tried the right-wing "nothing to see here" defense - that the abuses were just playful shenanigans, comparable to a frat hazing. Womack, however, went a step further than the rest of the conservative commentators who think torture is no big deal. According to the Associated Press, Womack "sought to play down the pyramid incident by saying that cheerleaders build pyramids every day." Cheerleaders eh? Well I suppose they do... although, to be fair, they aren't forced to build pyramids naked, at gunpoint, and then have their pictures taken by laughing prison guards. Come to think of it, cheerleaders aren't forced to cover themselves in their own shit, made to masturbate in front of each other, electrocuted, leashed, attacked by dogs, or beaten to death. At least, they weren't at the school I went to. I can't vouch for Mr. Womack. Ultimately Womack's defense proved to be completely (and predictably) fruitless, and Graner was sentenced to ten years.

6Tom Delay and Bill Frist
The two most prominent Republican members of the House and Senate form a tsunami twofer this week. First, Tom Delay showed off some of that famous compassionate conservatism by reading a timely passage from Matthew's Gospel at the 109th Congressional Prayer Service. The passage in question?

Not every one who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven; but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?" Then I will declare to them solemnly, "I never knew you: depart from me, you evil doers." Everyone who listens to these words of mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man, who built his house on a rock: The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and buffeted the house, but it did not collapse; it has been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine, but does not act on them, will be like a fool who built his house on sand: The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and buffeted the house, and it collapsed and was completely ruined.

Thanks, Tom, for informing those dumbass Godless tsunami victims that hey, they got what was comin' to 'em. Meanwhile, Bill Frist had the decency to actually visit Sri Lanka and see the shocking effects of the disaster for himself. But Bill and his aides demonstrated their compassionate conservatism by taking snapshots of each other in front of debris. "Get some devastation in the back," Frist said to a photographer. Yup, he actually said that.

7Armstrong Williams et al
The fallout from the Armstrong Williams payola scandal continues, although the so-called "liberal media" have done a pretty good job of pretending it didn't happen. Take Bill O'Reilly, for example, who told poor Armstrong that this was really nothing to worry about, the media was to blame, and the White House didn't even know anything about the payments. How could Bill be so sure? Why, he'd called the White House and asked them, of course. (Video courtesy of On Crossfire, Robert Novak gave Armstrong a free pass and excused him of having to have any ethics at all, since he wasn't a journalist, he was a commentator. (Video courtesy of Meanwhile Robert Fisk pointed out that Williams "routinely says that he made the mistake of taking the payola because he wasn't part of the 'media elite' and therefore didn't know 'the rules and guidelines' of journalistic conflict-of-interest," despite the fact that "for a man who purports to have learned of media ethics only this month, Mr. Williams has spent an undue amount of time appearing as a media ethicist on both CNN and the cable news networks of NBC." Yes, our Armstrong certainly seemed to know a lot about media ethics when he was publicly trashing Michael Moore and Jon Stewart. But the best defense of Armstrong Williams surely came from Neal Boortz, who claimed that "One of the reasons that Armstrong Williams is under such heat, by the way, is that the No Child Left Behind Act is not popular with liberals. Neither are black conservatives. He has strayed from the plantation. He must be punished." Funny - for someone who believes that we should repeal the income tax and other taxes, as well as abolish the IRS, Neal Boortz seems quite happy about the Department of Education using a quarter-million dollars of taxpayer money to pay a commentator to promote a big government program. Hey... I wonder if Neal's on the payroll too?

8Newt Gingrich
In the wake of the 2004 presidential election, the media has decreed that the most important political issue of our time is "moral values." And with this in mind, it looks like the Republican Party might have the perfect candidate for 2008. Newt Gingrich, Mr. Moral Values himself, might be running for president. On tour to promote his new book, the disgraced former Speaker of the House refused to rule out a run for the White House, and in fact seemed to be encouraging speculation about his future. Fawning press coverage from the liberal media predictably ignored Newt's Greatest Hits, which include: serving his first wife with divorce papers shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer; getting reprimanded and fined $300,000 by the House of Representatives for using tax-exempt foundations for political purposes, and then lying to Congress; having an extramarital affair with his young scheduling secretary while a the same time hypocritically working to impeach Bill Clinton; and telephoning his second wife to ask for a divorce while she was at a birthday party for her mother. What an ass.

9 The Republican Policy Committee
Hey, remember when every single African-American in Congress was a Republican? Remember when those great Republicans Ida Wells and Mary Terrell co-founded the NAACP? Remember when Republican Earl Warren wrote the famous Brown vs. Board of Education ruling? Things have certainly changed since then. For starters, the last time every single African-American in Congress was Republican was in 1935, and the Republican party's relationship with the NAACP is now "basically nonexistent," according to George W. Bush. In fact, there is a grand total of zero black Republicans in the current Congress. But you wouldn't know that from the Republican Policy Committee's 2005 "Republican Freedom Calendar." In fact, if you take the calendar's word for it, you'll believe that not only is the Republican party the real party of civil rights these days, but every landmark event in the history of African-American civil rights was a victory by Republicans over Democrats. Yes, not only does the "Freedom Calendar" conveniently ignore civil rights achievements by the Democratic party (for example, it leaves out that in the aforementioned Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, the seven Democratic justices on the Supreme Court voted unanimously for the decision), but it actually paints Democrats as the enemy of civil rights. (I guess Ronald Reagan didn't say, "If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so," when running for Governor of California in 1966.) Anyway, you'll be happy to know that the Republican Freedom Calendar isn't just another piece of bullshit conservative propaganda, it's a government publication paid for with your tax dollars. In the wake of the Armstrong Williams scandal, it seems to me that this is becoming a bit of a trend: instead of using tax dollars to actually create programs which will help people, Republicans are using tax dollars to create programs which produce propaganda that lies about how they're helping people. Perception is everything, right?

10George W. Bush
And finally, the inauguration is almost upon us; the bloated, farcical coronation of King George II which is reportedly going to cost more than any inauguration in history, despite the fact that we're at war, the government's broke, and George is telling the rest of us to "sacrifice." But don't worry - you see, this is an unprecedented inauguration in more ways that one. For the first time ever, the White House is "refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects," according to the Washington Post. "It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said a spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. Quite. But never mind that - there's far more important inauguration news to report. It turns out that Kid Rock, the "rap-rocker" - or "rock-rapper," if you prefer - has been kicked off the inauguration's youth concert bill after outraged fundies found out who he was. (You must check out this World Net Daily article - it's an absolute scream.) Apparently the Bush family weren't too happy after they discovered these lyrics from a 1990 Kid Rock album:

Pimp of the Nation, I could be it
As a matter of a fact, I foresee it
But only pimpin' hoes with the big tush
While you be left pimpin' Barbara Bush

So will Bush take revenge against Kid Rock for calling his mom an ugly ho? Let's face it, Dubya invaded and occupied an entire country because its ruler tried to kill his dad, so at the very least, Kid Rock can probably expect a good beating. See you next week!

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