The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
March 28, 2005
Cultists Of Life Edition
we get started this week I want to make a very important point.
The right-wing have been trying extremely hard to turn the
Terri Schiavo case into a wedge issue between Republicans and Democrats.
See, according to the conservative fringe, we Democrats are apparently
all in favor of dancing on Terri Schiavo's grave. The reality, of
course, is that Democrats - in fact, the vast majority of Americans
- want to leave these very personal, emotional decisions to the
affected families. If the family can't decide, then the courts should
be involved. And once the court has determined the proper course
of action according to the laws of the land, that's that. Unfortunately
the Republicans have done everything in their power to make sure
that Terri Schiavo won't die with dignity. Jeb Bush (1) got the
ball rolling and the Cultists Of Life (2) went haywire. George W.
Bush (3,4) and Tom DeLay (5) demonstrated their egregious hypocrisy.
And Feckless Conservative Pundits (6) along with The Rest Of The
Nutjobs (8) desperately tried to stoke the flames of partisanship.
Don't forget the key...
No one has been more concerned about Terri Schiavo - I'm sorry,
I mean no one has been more concerned about turning the tragic case
of Terri Schiavo into a political three-ring
circus - than Jeb Bush. He first
stepped in in 2003 and has recently questioned
her diagnosis, accused
her hospice of neglect, and last week, in a blatant political
ploy, sent state agents to take
her into custody. The agents were turned back by local police
who refused to let them in without a court order, but hopefully
Jeb's little stunt means that the Cultists of Life won't get too
mad at him, eh? So let's see, in a case where a husband has every
legal right to make an impossibly difficult and emotionally wrenching
life-or-death decision on behalf of his wife, along comes some politician
to turn the whole thing into a farce for his own gain, and try to
use the power of government to take over the situation. You know,
this whole thing has really demonstrated how stupid the ideas of
"the rule of law" and "separation of powers"
are. Don't worry though - after this case I'm sure the Republicans
are going to do their absolute best to get rid of the concept of
checks and balances once and for all. And when that's out of the
way, well - goodbye United States of America, hello United Kingdom
Let's be clear - there's a BIG difference between real Christians
and these right-wing crackpots. How strongly do some of these freaks
believe in "life?" So strongly that they're willing to,
uh, kill for it. Take Hal Turner, the hate-radio host who earlier
in the week wrote on his website,
"I advocate the use of force to rescue Terri Schiavo from being
starved to death. I further advocate the killing of anyone who interferes
with such rescue." (To be fair, after finding out that Terri
Schiavo was born Jewish, Turner wrote, "seeing as racial jews
are the lowest form of scum in the history of this planet ... maybe
starving Terri to death isn't too bad a thing at all." Yes,
he actually said
Then there was Michael W. Mitchell, who last week tried to steal
a gun from a firearms store so he could "take some action
and rescue Terri Schiavo." Some weren't willing to take such
drastic action, preferring instead to get others to do their dirty
work for them. Step forward Richard Alan Meywes, who was arrested
last week after offering a $250,000 reward to anyone who killed
Terri's husband Michael (he also offered an extra $50,000 to anyone
who knocked off one of the judges involved in the case). Clearly
Meywes's offer had some takers - according
to the Las Vegas Sun, "Pinellas County Circuit Judge
George Greer has been under the protection of armed guards, and
friends say his family also is protected." In case anyone was
wondering, Greer is a Republican and a conservative Christian -
although it should be noted that his church kicked
him out last week. You know, somehow I don't think Jesus would
approve of all this.
George W. Bush egged on the Cultists last week when he told
supporters that "[Terri Schiavo's case] is a complex case with
serious issues but, in extraordinary circumstances like this, it
is always wise to err on the side of life." This, of course,
marks the first time ever that George W. Bush has erred on the side
of life. Oh, he's erred all right, but not on the side of life.
For example, did he err on the side of life in the case of Karla
Faye Tucker, the convicted murder turned born-again
Christian who begged for clemency? Nope - in an interview with
Tucker Carlson back in 1999, Bush mocked the death row inmate and
impersonated her, pretending to cry and whining "please don't
kill me." Did he err on the side of life when he executed
152 people - including the mentally ill - during his governorship
of Texas? That's more people than any other governor in the recent
history of the United States. Did he err on the side of life when
he invaded Iraq, killing thousands
of Iraqi civilians? Let's face it, when it comes to erring on the
side of life, Our Great Leader's track record leaves a little something
to be desired.
Mind you, the examples given above are just cases in which Bush
has had a direct hand in killing people. There are plenty of other
times when he didn't consider it particularly important to "err
on the side of life." For example, in 1999 Bush signed a Texas
law "which allows a person's next of kin to make decisions
regarding life support for patients whose conditions have been judged
hopeless by a physician and a hospital's bioethics committee,"
to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Why, that sounds awfully
similar to the Florida law he's now vehemently opposing. He also
signed a law allowing hospitals to pull the plug on patients - against
their family's wishes - if they can't
afford to pay the medical bills. Another gold star for
the culture of life. Bush has also slashed
funding for soldiers coming back from Iraq with traumatic brain
injuries. Err on the side of life my ass. Why, Our Great Leader
rushed back from vacation to sign the "Save Terri" bill,
but just last week waited four
whole days before offering any condolences to the families and
friends of victims of the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history.
Guess he was too busy figuring out how to wring more political juice
out of the Schiavo family.
We noted last
week that a GOP memo was recently passed around the Senate instructing
Republicans to play the Terri Schiavo case for all it's worth. The
memo said that the "pro-life base will be excited" and
that it is a "great political issue - this is a tough issue
for Democrats." In the House, Majority Leader Tom DeLay called
the memo "disgusting" and said "If anyone on my staff
put them out they would be immediately dismissed." Oh really?
Funny then that after he condemned those comments it was revealed
that he had already made some startlingly
similar ones to a closed-door meeting of the Family Research
Council. DeLay said, "One thing that God has brought to us
is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going
on in America." If you're wondering what's going on in America,
it's: "Attacks against the conservative movement, against me
and against many others." So Tom DeLay thinks that God sent
Terri Schiavo for him to use as a political weapon, eh? I wonder
if he'll be firing himself any time soon...
Incidentally, does anybody know what happened when Tom DeLay's
own father was in a similar
situation to Terri Schiavo 17 years ago? We'll give you a clue...
the outcome didn't involve DeLay standing on the floor of
the House and denouncing the idea of allowing his father to die
with dignity as an "act of barbarism."
Feckless Conservative Pundits
When you're talking about feckless conservative pundits, the first
person that comes to mind is of course Sean Hannity. Hannity has
been leading the conservative media charge to reframe Terri Schiavo's
case, morphing it from a private matter between Schiavo's family
and the Florida state courts into a case of God-fearing Republicans
vs. the Democratic Death Machine. In order to achieve this disgraceful
goal, the conservative media has approved a two-pronged attack.
First, conservatives argue that liberals are actually cheering for
the death of Terri Schiavo, which is obviously complete nonsense.
Liberals - in fact, the vast
majority of Americans - believe that this is a private family
matter and the federal government should just butt out. Second,
conservatives have been attempting to spread the meme that, despite
fifteen years of medical and ethical opinion to
the contrary, Terri Schiavo might not actually be in a vegetative
state. In our previous list we noted that Dr. Bill Frist had
put forth this very opinion on the floor of the Senate - and last
week the feckless conservative pundits went full bore with the idea.
During an episode of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity referred
to his studio guest - a neurologist who believes that Schiavo could
be rehabilitated - as a "Nobel Prize nominated" doctor.
Just one problem - he
wasn't. In fact, he was actually disciplined
by the Florida Board of Medicine in 2003. Not that those little
facts stopped Hannity - he referred to the doctor as "Nobel
Prize nominated" eight times during the show. Joe Scarborough
picked up the theme on his show, referring to the "Nobel Prize
nominated" doctor four times. A Fox News anchor even got in
on the act. You know, this is all bit strange. I seem to recall
a bunch of people at CBS being fired recently for failing to check
their facts thoroughly. Oh well, I guess that sort of thing doesn't
apply to the conservative media elite. (One last quick note to Joe
Scarborough: if you really give a shit about Terri Schiavo, you
should probably learn to spell
her name correctly. PS. You spelled Al Franken's name wrong
Despite the fact that most people were just sitting on the sidelines
watching the GOP kick itself in the balls, it wasn't just feckless
pundits who were trying to turn this story into some kind of Republican
vs. Democrat freak-fest - mainstream media outlets were desperate
to get in on the act too. CNN tried especially hard, even going
so far as to produce some dubious graphics indicating that compared
to Republicans and Independents, Democrats were overwhelmingly in
favor of removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube:
Would you look at that graph! Why, those heartless
Democrats are clearly "out of the mainstream" on this
one! Except, if you take a closer look at the graph, you'll notice
that it doesn't start at zero and stop at 100; it starts at 53 and
stops at 63. This is a classic example of how to "lie with
statistics" - that is, to doctor a graph to make it produce
an emotional, visual result. Thanks to Media Matters, here's what
the graph should look like:
Wow... that doesn't have quite the same impact, does it? In fact,
if you take into consideration that the margin of error in the poll
is 7 percentage points, the results are pretty similar. Now take
another look at the CNN poll above. Liberal media my ass.
Rest Of The Nutjobs
Of course, all the conservative nutjobs were crawling out
of the woodwork last week in an attempt to grab a piece of the Terri
Schiavo pie. From Pat Boone, who suggested
that Schiavo's condition was induced when her husband attempted
to murder her, to Alan Keyes and Larry Klayman, who said
that as governor, Jeb Bush could "pardon Terri Schiavo
from the death sentence that has been unduly placed upon her by
the court system." WTF? Teeing off on the rule of law, Jerry
"Just because there is a judge somewhere in the world who would
give an estranged husband like that the time of day tells you how
bad the court system is" (I guess Falwell missed the story
about Terri's parents encouraging her husband to get on with his
life after she became incapacitated). Elsewhere, Randall Terry got
cents in - that's Randall Terry of Operation Rescue fame, the
group that allegedly
instigated the assassination of doctors and the bombing of family
planning clinics. Culture of life, indeed. Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan
was trying so hard to turn this into a battle of "us vs. them"
that she resorted to taking
quotes out of context from an Internet message board - actually,
our Internet message board. Now that's what I call journalism!
And now, a short break from the list. During the month of March
the spotlight has been well and truly shone upon the radical conservative
cult currently running the country, and their supporters. In fact,
the political landscape has changed remarkably in a very short space
of time. So let's take a look a what the far right believed just
a few weeks ago, and what they believe now:
We are STRONGLY OPPOSED to activist judges!
We demand activist judges.
CULTURE OF LIFE
Let's nuke Iraq! Let's execute minors!
Poor people don't deserve health care!
Seniors can go to Canada if they need drugs!
We must err on the side of life.
(And kill anyone who disagrees.)
Damn lawyers are RUINING AMERICA!
I understand that this case has been
heard twenty-two times already, but surely
they'll change their minds this time.
Shameless Democrats are always playing politics!
"God has brought us Terri Schiavo."
"The pro-life base will be excited."
"This is a great political issue."
SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE
A marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN and
nothing should come between that!
I don't think Terri's husband should make
this decision. Jeb Bush should do it for him.
RULE OF LAW
Don't you Dummycrats know that
this is a nation of LAWS?!
We should take the federal government
and drown it in a bathtub!
It warms my heart when the federal government
intrudes upon a private family matter.
You stupid America-hating
LIEberals should go back to Russia!
Damn, I've run out of toilet paper.
Wait, this old rag should do the trick.
McCain and USA Next
Moving on now... While fellow conservatives are fast abandoning
the sinking ship of Bush's Social Security "reform," (see
John McCain is standing proudly on the poop deck. Last week McCain
and Bush tried to strike a "can't we all get along" tone
as it became increasingly evident that the AARP have been doing
quite a good job protecting its membership. "I want to say
to our friends in the AARP, and they are my friends, come to the
table with us," McCain groveled.
"We not only have an obligation to seniors, but we have an
obligation to future generations." Right, right. And spending
trillions of dollars on the destruction of Social Security is going
to do the trick, hmm? Turns out though that John McCain's conciliatory
language doesn't exactly gel with the Bush Gang's second flank -
that is, the good people at USA Next - who have previously accused
the AARP of supporting gay marriage while not supporting the troops
(see Idiots 188),
and are now
accusing the AARP's "multi-million dollar spin machine"
of favoring cuts in Social Security benefits. Except, um, George
W. Bush's plan involves cutting
Social Security benefits. And USA Next is a multi-million
dollar spin machine. That's all it is. No other purpose whatsoever.
Methinks there's maybe a little "projection" going on
And finally... it was announced
last week that - hooray! - science museums will be showing
the science documentary Volcanoes of the Deep after all! At least,
the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will be - other locations
are still to be determined. But why on earth wouldn't a science
museum show a science documentary? Well, because the IMAX film in
question contains... evolution content. Specifically, it discusses
the possibility that life may have begun around the deep-sea vent
system. The film was originally in jeopardy because, obviously,
there are people living in this country who will protest a science
museum for showing a documentary about science for crying out loud.
Science museums censoring content based on the complaints of a few
people who believe the earth is only six thousand years old? Has
it really come to this? I'm afraid it has, folks... I'm afraid it
has. Even Scientific American magazine has given up - well,
not really, but the sarcastic editorial in this month's issue pretty
much sums up the current state of fundamentalist zealotry in America.
it out. See you next week!
Nominate a Conservative
for Next Week's List