Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 207)

July 25, 2005
Perjury and/or Obstruction of Justice Edition

White House Conspirators (1) were feeling the heat last week, as as Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby were identified as two sources for the Plame leak. George W. Bush (2) even rolled out his nominee for the Supreme Court, John Roberts (3) in a futile attempt to divert attention away from the scandal. Meanwhile, Orrin Hatch (5) and Tom Tancredo (6) were both overheard using some utterly moronic hyperbole. And for those of you who love Republican Family Values, we've got a guy busted for roughing up his fiancee, and another who admitted a five-year affair (but, to be fair, he swears that he never choked his mistress).

1The White House Conspirators
Even a Supreme Court nomination - which was timed to try to knock the Valerie Plame scandal off the front pages - couldn't divert attention from the White House's machinations last week. First the Washington Post revealed that "A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked '(S)' for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials." In fact, it was later revealed that the memo was actually classified "top secret."

Meanwhile Dick Cheney's chief-of-staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Karl Rove have now been identified as two of the sources in the Plame leak case and the prosecutor in the case is apparently looking at perjury and/or obstruction of justice charges. These are two of the most powerful men in the White House - this scandal goes all the way to the top.

But there's more: it was also suggested last week that Judith Miller's source could be none other than John Bolton, Bush's dubious pick for ambassador to the United Nations, who is still having difficulty getting confirmed. Not only that, but Bolton testified before the grand jury and then somehow failed to mention that fact in the forms he had to fill out for his confirmation hearings. Whoops.

Finally, a panel of ex-CIA officers convened by Senate and House Democrats blasted George W. Bush last week for jeopardizing national security. Said former CIA analyst Larry Johnson - a Republican, by the way - "I wouldn't be here this morning if President Bush had done the one thing required of him as commander in chief - protect and defend the Constitution. The minute that Valerie Plame's identity was outed, he should have delivered a strict and strong message to his employees."

Well quite. And now let's take a look at the strict and strong message that the commander-in-chief actually delivered...

2George W. Bush
George W. Bush is a man of his word, a man who likes to stay the course, a man whom some have even described as "stubborn." But never let it be said that George W. Bush can't flip-flop with the best of them when he wants to. Last week Our Great Leader demonstrated just how much he cares about national security by changing his mind about firing anyone who leaks official secrets.

Previously the White House had insisted that they would take quick action against anyone caught leaking. In 2003, Scott McClellan, speaking on behalf of the president, said, "if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration." George W. Bush himself said in 2004 that anyone who was involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity would be fired.

But now the bar has been raised. Bush said last week that "If somebody committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

Oh, a crime now is it? Well, okay. I guess George "Honesty And Integrity" Bush just said one thing and then completely went back on his word, but hey. No big deal.

Mind you, perhaps Dubya should take a look at Executive Order 12958 which states that "Officers and employees of the United States Government ... shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently ... disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified." As Henry Waxman noted last week, "Under the executive order, you may not wait until criminal intent and liability are proved by a prosecutor. Instead, you have an affirmative obligation to take 'appropriate and prompt corrective action.'"

You almost have to feel sorry for poor old Dubya, rushing out his Supreme Court nomination in the hope that this will all go away. Speaking of which...

3John Roberts
John Roberts, ah, John Roberts. What is there to say about this guy that hasn't been said already? Well, quite a lot actually considering that up until last week hardly anyone knew who he was. So let's take a look at some highlights from the career of the man who could soon be the newest Supreme Court Justice:

Overturning the Constitution

Just last week, John Roberts joined a ruling that "special panels of military officers [could] conduct trials of terrorism suspects detained in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," according to the Washington Post. "The appellate court swept aside the lower court's decision in what amounted to a general endorsement of a legal theory that the president has broad powers under the Constitution to decide how military detainees are to be handled during a time of conflict."

Georgetown University professor Neal Katyal said the decision was "contrary to 200 years of constitutional law," which "places absolute trust in the president, unchecked by the Constitution, statutes of Congress and long-standing treaties."

Pshaw. Surely any decision that places absolute trust in our wonderful president can't be bad, can it?

Partisan Hackjob

Sure John Roberts doesn't have a very long judicial paper trail, but before becoming a judge, his partisan hackery was well known. Roberts served as Deputy Solicitor General under George H.W. Bush and told the Supreme Court that Roe vs. Wade was "wrongly decided and should be overruled." He also served as a legal adviser to the Bush campaign during the Florida recount. Three years later Bush appointed him to the DC Court of Appeals. Two years after that Bush nominated him to the Supreme Court. Must be nice to have friends in high places.

Incidentally, despite the fact that the Washington Post says that Roberts gave him "private legal advice," Jeb Bush now has a "fuzzy" recollection of Roberts' role in the recount, and can't even remember meeting him. Funny that.

A Year In The Making

According to the New York Times, "For at least a year before the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court, the White House was working behind the scenes to shore up support for him among its social conservative allies, quietly reassuring them that he was a good bet for their side in cases about abortion, same-sex marriage and public support for religion..."

"...with a series of personal testimonials about Judge Roberts, his legal work, his Roman Catholic faith, and his wife's public opposition to abortion, two well-connected Christian conservative lawyers - Leonard Leo, chairman of Catholic outreach for the Republican Party, and Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of an evangelical Protestant legal center founded by Pat Robertson - gradually won over most social conservatives to nearly unanimous support, even convincing them that the lack of a paper trail was an asset that made Judge Roberts harder to attack."

It's Not What You Know...

So let's see how the fruits of the White House's labor paid off and check out a few endorsements of John Roberts shall we?

"[John Roberts is an] exceptionally well-qualified and impartial nominee. Judge Roberts is widely respected for his fair judgments, intellect and integrity." - Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

"Judge Roberts is an unquestionably qualified attorney and judge with impressive experience in government and the private sector. He has demonstrated at every stop on his career path the legal acumen, judicial temperament and personal integrity necessary to be a Supreme Court justice." - James Dobson, Focus on the Family

"The President promised to nominate an individual to the Supreme Court who will interpret, not rewrite, the Constitution. He kept his word by nominating John Roberts. Now he needs your encouragement." - American Family Association

"Operation Rescue supports this selection. Roberts has shown strong conservative credentials with indications that he will not uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that decriminalized abortion." - Operation Rescue

"He's brilliant." - Rick Santorum

The Unknown Quantity

John Roberts has spent only two years on the bench. His name was being quietly pushed to right-wing groups after only one year on the bench. He has no experience in academia.

Well heck, with that kind of background, and without knowing anything about what he might do if he gets to the Supreme Court, I say we just rubber-stamp his application and give him a round of applause. After all, he has a friendly smile and such a nice haircut. Oh, and lets not forget those adorable kiddies.

Bottom line: it would be utter insanity to allow John Roberts quick and easy passage to a seat on the Supreme Court - especially now that the White House is refusing to release papers relating to his work for previous Republican administrations. Never mind Roberts' qualifications, you only have to look at the work he was doing before he became a judge - not to mention the groups that are delighted at his nomination - to know that he's a) a right-wing hack, and b) in George W. Bush's back pocket.

Bush has been grooming this guy since Selection 2000 to take a spot on the Supreme Court. That fact alone should tell you all you need to know about John Roberts.

4George W. Bush
Last week the Bush administration was supposed to release the second batch of photos and video taken at Abu Ghraib prison. The administration has so far stonewalled attempts by civil libertarians to access the pictures - which have been described by Donald Rumsfeld as "blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane" - but was ordered by a judge to release them on July 22. Guess what? They didn't.

The administration initially claimed that they needed time to redact the faces of the men, women and - yes - children who appear in the torture pictures. But late on July 22 they filed a motion "requesting a 7(F) exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to withhold law enforcement-related information in order to protect the physical safety of individuals," according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. Er, now they want to protect the physical safety of individuals who have already been tortured?

If Bush is trying to create a legacy of war, conspiracy and torture, he's doing a damn good job. Last week the White House "threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere," according to Reuters.

During the 2004 election, Republican attack dogs slammed John Kerry for voting for defense spending cuts which George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney had proposed (of course, the attack dogs conveniently forgot to mention that last part). But now Our Great Leader is threatening to veto a giant defense spending bill if it means he's not allowed to torture people any more. What's wrong with this picture?

5Orrin Hatch
Now it's time for a useful tip for any Republican officials who might happen to be reading the Top 10 this week (I know they're all big fans really). Tip: if you're going to use moronic hyperbole to describe something, at least try to make sense. Let me explain...

Example 1: Proper use of moronic hyperbole

Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. - Karl Rove, June 2005

While this is moronic hyperbole (and bullshit to boot), at least you can understand what he's trying to say. Now let's see how not to do it...

Example 2: Improper use moronic hyperbole

The rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942, "I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine." - Rick Santorum, May 2005

See? Now that just sounds like the crazy guy who sits next to you on the bus.

But anyway, my point is that the misuse of moronic hyperbole by elected officials has been getting way out of hand lately. Last week Sen. Orrin Hatch had this to say about left-wing opposition to the nomination of John Roberts:

It's a little bit like biblical Pharisees, you know, who basically are always trying to undermine Jesus Christ. You know, it goes on the same way. If they can catch him in something, they can then criticize and the outside groups will go berserk.

How bizarre. Never mind the fact that Hatch just compared John Roberts to the Son of God - who are these "outside groups" who went "berserk" when the Pharisees criticized Jesus? The Judean Civil Liberties Union? People for the Galilean Way? I do wish Sen. Hatch would expand on this peculiar analogy so we could all understand what the hell he's talking about.

6 Tom Tancredo
And speaking of moronic hyperbole, here's Rep. Tom Tancredo's answer to a large-scale terrorist attack on American soil: nuke Mecca in retaliation. Yeah, that makes sense. First of all, if such an attack does happen, could someone please explain to me what the hell George W. Bush has been doing for the last four years? I thought the world was supposed to be safer. Second, what if the attack comes from a right-wing domestic terrorist group? Do we still nuke Mecca? Third, is it just me, or is it getting harder and harder to tell the extremist Republicans apart from the extremist Muslims?

All this talk of wiping whole populations and ideologies from the face of the earth. Will it ever end? It's unlikely with people like Tom Tancredo in charge. I mean, here's a guy who would drop a nuke on a city purely because of the religious makeup of the majority of its inhabitants. And then what? Presumably Tancredo would just keep bombing cities until he's killed anyone whom he believes is a threat to his safety, which, going by his paranoid ramblings, is everyone on the planet except himself.

Incidentally, Tom Tancredo is now considering running for president. It's just my humble opinion, but he'd probably stand a better chance if he spent more time attempting to return to reality and less time whacking off to Tom Clancy novels.

7Will Folks
Now let's turn to the first of another two entries in the Republican Family Values file. Last week Will Folks, a spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford (R) of South Carolina, turned himself in to police and was charged with criminal domestic violence. Apparently Mr. Folks showed up at his fiancee's house, kicked the door down, and proceeded to rough her up.

Clearly there's only one place to lay the blame in this case of domestic violence - squarely at the feet of homosexuals. See, if Folks hadn't felt the threat of gay marriage bearing down upon America's shoulders, he wouldn't have kicked his fiancee's door down and shoved her into the furniture. Surely Mr. Folks is really the victim here. For shame.

8Ann Coulter
We've always known that everything Ann Coulter writes is idiotic right-wing crap. We now know that it isn't even her own idiotic right-wing crap. That's right - Ann has been ripping off other people's stuff. Consider these gems, courtesy of Rude Pundit:

Coulter: "A photo of a newborn infant with its mouth open titled to suggest the infant was available for oral sex."

The Flummery Digest: "The title of a photo of a newborn infant with its mouth open suggested that the infant was available for oral sex."

Coulter: "A photo of a woman breastfeeding an infant, titled 'Jesus Sucks.'"

The Flummery Digest: "One otherwise tame photograph of a woman breastfeeding an infant was titled 'Jesus Sucks.'"

Coulter: "A show titled 'DEGENERATE WITH A CAPITAL D' featuring a display of the remains of the artist's own aborted baby."

The Flummery Digest: "'Degenerate with a Capital D'...included 'Alchemy Cabinet' by Shawn Eichman, featuring the remains of the artist's own aborted baby."

Coulter: "Performance of giant bloody tampons, satanic bunnies, three-foot feces and vibrators."

The Flummery Digest: "[T]he performance art of Johanna Went...relies upon props such as giant body tampons, satanic bunnies, three-foot turds, and dildos."

But The Flummery Digest (what the heck is a "flummery digest," anyway?) wasn't Ann's only source. She also stole from the Boston Globe, Counterpoint, and a book called Art Lessons: Learning from the Rise and Fall of Public Arts Funding.

It's kind of ironic really. Considering that it's not that difficult to just make stuff up out of whole cloth, you'd think Ann wouldn't have any need to steal from other people. But apparently her busy schedule of attacking Vietnam War veterans and 9/11 victims doesn't leave her enough time to make shit up on her own, so she's got to plagiarize someone else's made-up shit.

9Bill O'Reilly
It's been a while, but here's another classic from the King of Falafel, Bill O'Reilly. Apparently poor old Bill is running out of liberals to demonize and has now resorted to attacking Jimmy Carter, who, last time I checked, hasn't been president since 1981. On his radio show last week, Bill showed his love for Jimmy by announcing that, "if Carter were president today, we'd all be speaking Arabic."

Yeah right. And if George W. Bush were president today, the World Trade Center would have been destroyed by terrorists.

Oh wait...

10Don Sherwood
And finally, here's the second of our Republican Family Values stories. Back in Idiots 197 we noted the story of Rep. Don Sherwood, the Republican congressman who was sued by a young woman who claimed not only that she was having an affair with Sherwood, but that he tried to choke her during a tryst at his Washington apartment. Sordid stuff, to be sure, and Sherwood has vehemently denied any involvement with the woman.

That is, he denied it right up until last week when he admitted having an affair with her for five years. Oh dear. But don't worry - he's still denying the choking charge, calling it a "malicious and baseless" allegation - although to be fair, he previously called the woman a "casual acquaintance."

See, while Sherwood lied to his family, his friends and his supporters about shacking up with a woman who wasn't his wife, only to have to admit it when he was caught out, he's definitely telling the truth about not choking her. See you next week!

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