Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 186)

February 14, 2005
Loaded Gannon Edition

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How could it be anyone else? Jeff Gannon (1) - or James Guckert, or whatever his name is - tops the list this week, and Scott McClellan (2) is nipping at his heels. But to be fair, there was more to life than Jeff Gannon last week - The Bush Administration (3) is in full cover-up mode, George W. Bush (4,5) is making government bigger than ever, and Robert Ehrlich (6) is denying everything. Elsewhere, Phil Brennan (8) says smoking isn't addictive, Bob Whitney (9) is a whiner, and Rick Roach (10) wins the Rush Limbaugh Award For Drug-Addled Hypocrisy. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!

1Jeff Gannon dumb dumb dumb hypocrisy hypocrisy hypocrisy
Two weeks ago, Jeff Gannon was number 2 on the Top 10 Conservative Idiots list for referring to Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid as people who are "divorced from reality" during a news conference with George W. Bush (see Idiots 184). Following that performance, we received an email from Mr. Gannon:

Subject: conservative idiot
Date: 2/4/2005 11:46 PM
From: Jeff Gannon


I promise to try harder to be #1.

Jeff Gannon

Little did we know just how seriously he would take this challenge! But let's skip past the tighty-whitey pics, the hot military stud websites, the tax fraud, the hilariously hypocritical articles and all those other distractions which surfaced last week, and focus on the real meat of this story. It turns out that Jeff Gannon - real name James D. Guckert - worked for "Talon News," which is intertwined with Republican activist organization GOPUSA. In fact, Talon News is not a real news organization - it's nothing more than a propaganda front for the Republican party. They published a series of hit-pieces (written by Gannon) during the 2004 election campaign, including the early rubbish about John Kerry having an affair, and many of the stories cribbed whole sections from White House press releases. How big is Talon News? In a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer (video), Gannon claimed that he had 700,000 daily subscribed readers. However, a quick check on reveals that the Talon News website is ranked 640,377. That means that there are approximately 640,376 more popular sites on the web. For comparison, DU is currently ranked 4,671 - so by Gannon-math that must mean we have about two hundred bazillion regular readers. But of course there is another big difference between DU and Jeff Gannon - we're not members of the White House press corps, and that's where the scandal really begins. Why is it that a fake journalist with a fake name working for a fake news organization is allowed into the White House briefing room - and not only allowed in, but constantly called upon to ask questions? In fact, some of Gannon's questions weren't even questions, like this one:

I'd like to comment on the angry mob that surrounded [senior Bush adviser] Karl Rove's house on Sunday. They chanted and pounded on the windows until the D.C. police and Secret Service were called in. The protest was organized by the National People's Action Coalition, whose members receive taxpayer funds, as well as financial support from groups including Theresa [sic] Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation.

Good lord, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that hardball! Scott McClellan must still have bruises! For more examples of Jeff asking the questions that really matter, take a look at this MSNBC video provided by Toolz Of The New School. But this, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Gannon's story has been told and re-told in much greater depth elsewhere (check out this David Brock video for a good Cliffs Notes version), and new details are still coming to light thanks to the efforts of bloggers all over the web. Next up: why was Gannon one of the only people who had access to classified documents naming Valerie Plame as a CIA operative? I suspect this story won't be going away any time soon, so Jeff, I just want to say congratulations. You pledged to be number one on the list this week and boy howdy, you really weren't kidding!

2Scott McClellan excessive spin covering your ass
The real scandal of the Jeff Gannon story, is, of course, "what did the White House know, and when did they know it?" - and as usual, they're pretending not to know anything. However, last week Scott McClellan admitted that he knew Jeff Gannon was using an alias, because anyone who wants to get into a White House press briefing must provide their real name. Yet he consistently referred to Gannon/Guckert as "Jeff" when calling on him during press briefings - how kind of Scott to keep up the pretense. Additionally, Gannon didn't have full press credentials (or did he?) - in fact, he'd previously been denied a press pass to cover Congress on the grounds that Talon wasn't a real news organization. Yet somehow he was able to obtain daily passes to White House briefings whenever he felt like it. At a press conference last week, McClellan said, "...[Gannon], like anyone else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly, and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily passes, just like many others are." That's odd, because according to this DailyKos analysis, Talon started publishing "news" on April 1, 2003, and Jeff Gannon's first report from a White House briefing was on April 3, 2003. Considering that Gannon's partner in crime Bobby Eberle is a big-shot Texas Republican, and considering that it only took two days to come up with a White House press pass, and considering that Scottie liked to refer to Mr. James D. Guckert as "Jeff" on the many occasions he called on him for a question, it's hard to avoid the stench of rotting bullpoop emanating from the White House press secretary.

3The Bush Administration lying lying hypocrisy
It was just a few weeks ago that Condoleezza Rice said to Barbara Boxer "I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly." Well there's no need to imply it any more: Condoleezza Rice is a flat-out liar. It was revealed last week that the Bush administration tried to suppress a report which shows that between April and September of 2001 they were warned numerous times that terrorists were planning to commit suicide attacks in hijacked aircraft. According to the UK Independent, "The latest pages note that of the FAA's 105 daily intelligence summaries between 1 April 2001 and 10 September 2001, 52 of them mentioned Osama bin Laden, al-Qa'ida, or both. The report also concludes that officials did not expand the use of in-flight air marshals or tighten airport screening for weapons. It said FAA officials were more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays and easing air carriers' financial problems than thwarting a terrorist attack." The report also said that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable." Don't tell me though - these warnings were just historical documents. And what was it Condi Rice said just after 9/11? Ah yes: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon."

4George W. Bush fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility screwing the poor
The 2006 budget is out, and it's a bigger joke than the Bush presidency. Bush is cutting or eliminating up to 150 programs, including programs which he himself touted as necessary during his election campaign, like job training and education. But the real scam is revealed when it comes to Bush's signature initiatives - Social Security and Medicare "reform," and the war in Iraq - which he focused on in detail during his State of the Union Address. Yup, they're not included in the budget at all. Although George's $2.57 trillion budget makes cuts to programs which help less fortunate Americans, he's not actually making any dent in the deficit (like he promised) because the added costs of Social Security, Medicare and Iraq are not mentioned. It's a farce, a hoax, a con, and Bush has betrayed his supporters - despite conservative rhetoric, government is getting bigger and bigger under Bush - as well as his opponents. No wonder his approval ratings are sinking like a stone.

5George W. Bush screwing the poor
Of course, Bush's "let them eat cake" attitude isn't helping matters much. At a recent event Our Great Leader was enjoying a well-scripted conversation with audience participants - that is, until he bumped into one Mary Mornin who, according to Drudge (sorry) "told the president she was a divorced mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son." Bush attempted to explain that his new plan for Social Security would be a big help to her. The conversation continued like this:

MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

HA HA HA! Get any sleep? Good one, Prez! Oh my sides! Ah, the uniquely American experience of working three jobs just to stay afloat. There's something we can all be proud of.

6Robert Ehrlich covering your ass
Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley was implicated in an extramarital sex scandal - but last week it was Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich who got caught with his pants down. Ehrlich was reported to be "angry" to discover that one of his appointees, Joseph Steffen, was responsible for spreading false stories about O'Malley's marriage on - yup - O'Malley is tipped as Ehrlich's main competition for the Maryland governorship in 2006, and now Democrats are calling for an independent investigation to find out just how far up the ladder this rumor-mongering goes. Ehrlich called Steffen a "rogue state employee" and insisted that his office had nothing to do with the rumors which have been flying for 18 months. And everyone present scratched their chins and said "Sure thing. Very convincing."

7The Bush Administration warmongering
Would you believe it? The guy whom the Bush administration wanted to run Iraq all along - Ahmed Chalabi - has come from nowhere to find himself at the front of the line for the job of Iraqi prime minister. What an incredible coincidence! According to The Age, Chalabi is "vilified in the US, and often listed as one of the most unpopular people in Iraq." He was a guest of honor at the 2004 State of the Union Address, but subsequently severed ties with the United States after Iraqi police and American troops raided his house and accused him of passing secrets to Iran in May of 2004 (see Idiots 157). We also noted in Idiots 157 that "There is an interesting twist to this story though - it's possible that the Bush administration are severing ties with Chalabi because they still want him to rule Iraq and they figure that this is the best way to give him more credibility with the Iraqi people." And now, after a year on the outs, he's rubbing shoulders with "one of the American embassy's most important diplomats, Robert Ford." Funny how things work out like that, isn't it?

8Phil Brennan dumb
Last week Phil Brennan wrote a fascinating article on, which was full of the usual exquisite fact-checking Newsmax is well-known for. The premise of Brennan's argument is that smoking - despite all evidence to the contrary - is actually good for you. Sure, Brennan admits that smoking will kill you, but it's good for society at large. "When I look back to the dark ages when I was growing up, and for many years after, things were a lot less turbulent," he wrote. "We didn't have to turn to tranquilizers or other mood-soothing drugs when we were under tension or wrapped up in difficult tasks. We simply took a few minutes to relax, sat back and reached for a cigarette. It almost always did the trick." Ah, the good old days - when men were men and everyone coughed up a lung. But there's more: apparently the biggest problem today is "greedy trial lawyers" (surprise) who "milk billions from an industry once praised for its contributions to the war effort." Contributions to the war effort? Yes indeed - and Brennan was there. "In the Marine Corps in WW II we were told that in the field, even if we were non-smokers, we were to carry at least one pack of cigarettes for the benefit of those who did smoke and might be out of cigarettes at a time when they most needed a drag. Obviously the Corps saw tobacco as a benefit to Marines, especially in combat." Yes, thanks, tobacco companies, for addicting an entire generation of soldiers who had to get their buddies to carry extra smokes so they could simply function during a firefight. Mind you, according to Brennan, smoking isn't even addictive: "The experience of the millions of ex-smokers who quit proved how false that idea is. If it is really an addiction, most of those who have quit would not have succeeded and many of those who had quit would have been backsliders who finally gave in to the urge and went back to smoking." Um, I hate to break it to you Phil, but most of those who quit don't succeed, and many of those who quit do backslide and go back to smoking. See, according to Brennan smoking is a habit, not an addiction; he cites heroin as an example of a real addictive substance. Which is odd, because if junkies had to shoot up as often as I have to smoke a cigarette, they'd be dead pretty fucking quick.

9 Bob Whitney crybaby crybaby
Waaaah! This week's conservative crybaby award goes to Bob Whitney, who is suing the University of Nevada after a professor gave him a B-minus. Bob's excuse is that Professor Eugene Moehring "discriminated against him because of his conservative values," according to, and he's seeking $10,000 in damages. Let's see: filing a frivolous lawsuit - check. Failing to take personal responsibility - check. Whining about being oppressed by liberals - check. Yup, Bob's a conservative idiot all right.

10Rick Roach drugs drugs hypocrisy
And finally, this is the kind of story that the Top 10 was made for. Rick "Aptly Named" Roach is a West Texas Republican district attorney who was elected in 2000 after running a "strong anti-drug campaign." According to the Washington Times, he was "once publicly praised for his efforts to stamp out narcotics in his part of the Panhandle." Since you can probably see this coming a mile off, I'll just cut to the chase: last week FBI agents confiscated two handguns from Roach's briefcase, before raiding his home and discovering "35 more guns, along with a cache of cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, scales and syringes." Turns out Rick once "borrowed" two pounds of confiscated meth from the Texas Department of Public Safety laboratory, supposedly to train drug dogs, and then apparently forgot to return them. So thanks, Rick Roach, for your efforts to free the Panhandle from drugs - by taking all of them yourself. See you next week!

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