Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 206)

July 18, 2005
Corruption, Conspiracy, and Cover-Up Edition

No matter how hard they tried, the GOP didn't have much success making this whole Traitorgate thing go away. Despite their efforts to confuse the story, it's apparent that Karl Rove (1) really did put politics ahead of national security. Even White House spokesman Scott McClellan (2) was reduced to repeating the same pathetic mantra over and over again, to very little effect. In other news, Rick Santorum (7) showed once again that he's one of the biggest hypocrites in Washington. And the good people over at Enron (10) decided that they've been doing such a swell job that, well... you'll see.

1Benedict Karl Rove
The Plame Affair took off last week, and the media has done their usual trick of falling for the right-wing's smears, obfuscations and downright lies. Never mind the fact that the senior adviser to the president has been blithely discussing official secrets with reporters, potentially threatening our national security. Never mind the fact that the White House previously called questions about Rove's involvement "ridiculous." No, in the interests of "fairness" and "balance" we must repeat these RNC talking points which have just arrived by fax!

One thing's for sure: we won't know what really happened until the investigation is complete. But here's what we do know. First of all, Karl Rove is not the only traitor running around in the White House. Robert Novak cited two "senior administration officials" in his original story which revealed Valerie Plame's CIA position. Not only that, but Rove is now claiming that he actually received the information from Novak rather than the other way round. Frankly, after two years of cover-up and denial, this seems somewhat bizarre - and if it's not true, Rove is guilty of perjury. But if it is true, who are the other two senior administration officials?

Even if Rove did get the information from Novak - a claim which, as I just mentioned, gives off a strong whiff of bullpoop - Rove was still responsible for spreading the information at least as far as Matt Cooper of Time magazine - and Cooper insists that Rove was his first source on the matter. Rove even went so far as to tell him, "I've already said too much." Refresh my memory - when has it been okay to reveal national security secrets to reporters for the purposes of partisan political point-scoring?

And just to be clear - why didn't Karl Rove reveal this information two years ago when the investigation began? In 2003 the White House fell all over itself to declare that the Plame leaker would be dealt with. Scott McClellan called the leak "a very serious matter," saying, "if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration."

So why did Rove allow his colleagues - not to mention his boss, George W. Bush - to make embarrassing statements about bringing the leaker to justice? Why did he sit back and watch while journalists were threatened with jail time? Why didn't he step forward and reveal his role in the leak?

Here's why: because what Karl Rove did was politically motivated, potentially criminal, injurious to the national security of the United States, and at the very least embarrassing to his White House colleagues who had already insisted that the leaker's head be brought to them on a platter. And, more importantly, he thought he could get away with it. But this time, despite the Karl Rove's legalistic and ever-shifting defense, it looks like he might have finally stepped in some shit that he can't scrape off on Democrats. And the ramifications could be disastrous for the entire administration.

2Scott McClellan
You almost had to feel sorry for Scott McClellan last week. His masters dangled him like a piñata in front of a suddenly-aggrieved White House press corps with but one instruction: stonewall at all costs. And stonewall he did, clearly at great cost to his own mental health.

Scott's stock response to every single question regarding Karl Rove was that he would not comment during an "ongoing investigation" - even to questions which had nothing to do with said investigation. Reporters were so frustrated that some of them even heckled Scott at the end of one press conference, shouting "Karl Rove! Karl Rove! Karl Rove!" and "Will Karl be on the space shuttle tomorrow?" as Scotty ran from the podium with his tail between his legs.

Funnily enough though, the White House had no problem commenting two years ago - during the ongoing investigation. In 2003, answering questions about Karl Rove's role in the leak, Scott McClellan said the following:

I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. ... I've said that it's not true. ... And I have spoken with Karl Rove.


I've made it very clear, he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was.

Oh dear. Still, we'll be looking forward to Mr. McClellan's press conferences this coming week, and we even have a special gift for him, which I'm sure he'll find quite useful:

3George W. Bush
"I want to know the truth. Leaks of classified information are bad things," said George W. Bush back in February of 2004. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of. I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job. ... If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is."

Hey George...


There he is again!! Quick, grab him before he gets away!!

Or don't, whatever. But Our Great Leader should be warned: the tidal wave of crap gushing forth from the White House may well explain his collapsing approval ratings. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Bush's rating for appearing "honest and straightforward" has fallen 9 points since January, from 50 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, an AP-Ipsos poll shows his overall approval at 42 percent, and six in ten Americans say the country is on the wrong track. That's not pretty. But then, neither is he.

CORRECTION: We noted last week that George W. Bush fell off a bicycle for the second time during his presidency. We have since learned that it was actually the third time he has fallen off a bicycle. We apologize for the error.

4The Bush Administration
Speaking of honesty and straightforwardness, here's an extremely rare display of it from a Bush Administration official. Last week Douglas Feith, chief policy adviser to Donald Rumsfeld, admitted that "the Bush administration erred by building its public case for war against Saddam Hussein mainly on the claim that he possessed banned weapons," according to the Associated Press.

Feith backed up the assertions made in the Downing Street Memo that facts were being fixed around the policy saying, "I don't think there is any question that we as an administration, instead of giving proper emphasis to all major elements of the rationale for war, overemphasized the WMD aspect." Well, yes... but considering the other rationales were "Saddam Hussein gassed his own people in the 1980s with weapons we gave him" and "We really want the Iraqi soccer team to play in the World Cup," you can understand why.

So there you have it - they wanted the war, they lied about the reasons, and they got the war. And now the world is a much safer place - provided you aren't an American soldier, or an Iraqi civilian, or just someone who happens to live in a major city anywhere in the world. Good job.

5The Pentagon
After the London bombings, Britons were keen to demonstrate their resolve. A group claming responsibility posted a message on their website shortly after the attacks, saying that "Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters." Hardly. The vast majority of Britons went about their business as usual before stopping to quietly and tastefully remember the dead.

Not so the Pentagon, who decided to hand Al Qaeda some free publicity instead. While the British demonstrated their fortitude, the Pentagon banned American military personnel stationed in the UK from travelling to London to "ensure their safety and security."

According to Simon Jenkins, former editor of the London Times, "The order has since been rescinded, but the damage is done. London must be one of the safest cities on Earth. The only conceivable purchase the terrorists can get is by sowing fear, a fear which is statistically irrational - Americans are more at risk on the roads round their bases than in the capital. Yet Washington handed Al-Qaeda a free publicity coup on a plate. It incidentally had every front page and every pub bar ranting about cowardly Americans, jeering at the US Marines 'We are not afraid' website, which adds 'We stand with our British brothers and sisters.'"

Question: if the Pentagon can't even figure out its public relations with Britain, what chance does it have of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people?

6 Bill Frist and Friends
Last week Democratic senators suggested an amendment which would "deny access to classified information to any federal employee who discloses a covert CIA agent's identity," according to the Washington Post. Sounds reasonable, right? I mean, we shouldn't be letting federal employees who run around gabbing about CIA agents get their hands on even more information about CIA agents, right?

Sadly the Republicans didn't see it that way. Instead, Sen. Bill "Follow The Balloon" Frist proposed a different amendment which would prevent "Any federal officeholder who makes reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate, or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on an FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorists organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk, shall not be permitted access to such information or to hold a security clearance for access to such information."

Uh, what? If you're as confused as I was, read David Corn's analysis. It turns out that Frist's amendment was aimed directly at Dick Durbin, who made that remark about Nazis on the senate floor not so long ago.

Hmmm... so Democrats propose an amendment which would actually improve U.S. national security by removing the security clearances of those caught leaking; Republicans propose a stupid and irrelevant counter-amendment purely for the purposes of a) chilling free speech on the Senate floor, and b) making a partisan political dig. And I thought the adults were in charge.

Interestingly, Frist's amendment failed by 64 votes to 33 with 20 Republicans voting against the measure when they realized that Frist's definition was so broad that they might all lose their security clearances.

As for the Democratic amendment - you know, the one that would actually improve our national security - that failed too by 53 votes to 44. Down party lines. Yup - every single Republican senator voted against it. So I guess they don't want to make America safer after all.

7Rick Santorum
Last week Sen. Rick "Man On Dog" Santorum (R-Fecal Matter) refused to retract statements he made in 2002 suggesting that Boston's "sexual license" and "sexual freedom" are to blame for the Catholic Church child abuse scandal. When pressed to explain, a Santorum aide elaborated, "It's an open secret that you have Harvard University and MIT that tend to tilt to the left in terms of academic biases. I think that's what the senator was speaking to." Which begs the question, what is Rick Santorum and his staff smoking?

Uh, sure Rick, Harvard and MIT are to blame for child abuse. And Terri Schiavo was just faking.

But let's face it, Rick Santorum has never been shy about his views on homosexuality. Here's what he said back in April 2003:

...if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

Hmm. I wonder then what Santorum makes of the fact that his senior spokesman, Robert L. Traynham, has just confirmed that he is gay? Let's see what the senator has to say:

Robert Traynham ... is widely respected and admired on Capitol Hill, both among the press corps and among the congressional staff, as a communications professional. Not only is Mr. Traynham an exemplary staffer, but he is also a trusted friend confidente to me and my family. Mr. Traynham is a valued member of my staff and I regret that this effort on behalf of people who oppose me has made him a target of bigotry in their eyes.

It is entirely unacceptable that my staffs' personal lives are considered fair game by partisans looking for arguments to bolster my opponent's campaign. Mr. Traynham continues to have my full support and confidence as well as my prayers as he navigates this rude and mean spirited invasion of his personal life.

Rick is calling people bigots? Thinks they shouldn't intrude on the personal lives of others? Good lord, the hypocrisy is making my eyes bleed.

8Texas Music Educators Association
I'm sure Rick Santorum will approve of this new rule made recently by the Texas Music Educators Association: according to the Los Angeles Times, "Boys cannot audition for soprano or alto roles in that state's All-State Choir. Girls cannot audition for tenor or bass. No matter where their talents lie."

That's right, girly men! If your natural singing voice is too high for Texas, you can just shut up - despite the fact that, as the Times points out, "countertenors [the male equivalent of soprano] ... are a widely respected part of classical music and tradition."

So what's next? A rule requiring Texas males to grill at least ten hamburgers a week? A rule requiring them to drive pick-up trucks? A rule requiring them to walk around with their thumbs tucked in their jeans pockets, farting loudly and proclaiming "better out than in?" Stay tuned...

9Enron Directors
According to the Associated Press, "The five-member Enron Corp. board of directors has voted for pay raises that boost salaries by as much as $1 million. In a filing with the New York bankruptcy court that oversaw the company's reorganization last year, the board said it voted to increase its compensation retroactively to the beginning of June."

Let me just repeat that.

"The five-member Enron Corp. board of directors has voted for pay raises that boost salaries by as much as $1 million. In a filing with the New York bankruptcy court that oversaw the company's reorganization last year, the board said it voted to increase its compensation retroactively to the beginning of June."

Has the world gone mad? Wait, don't answer that.

10Steven Damion
And finally, it was revealed last week that Steven Damion, head of the New Jersey College Republicans, has "resigned amid allegations he embezzled hundreds of dollars from the student organization's account and tried to extort a $3,000 donation from Doug Forrester's gubernatorial campaign, according to the group's executive director," according to the Star-Ledger.

According to an email sent to Doug Forrester's campaign, Damion wrote, "If there is a 3,000 dollar check waiting for me I am coming running and the campaign will have total access to our resources at all times, no problem."

Damion, unsurprisingly, denied any wrongdoing and proclaimed his innocence, insisting he was framed. "This is all self interest and ... personal vendettas. I'm staying out of New Jersey politics. I'm done." Oh Steve, don't give up so easily - the Republican party needs unethical, possibly criminal young up-and-comers like yourself. Don't let them down! See you next week...

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