Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 228)

January 16, 2006
Cry Me A River Edition

It was business as usual at Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings until Mrs. Scalito and Friends (1) turned on the waterworks and reminded us all just what wimps conservatives really are. Yet while the right-wing cries about "harsh treatment," they somehow fail to notice that The Bush Administration (3, 4) are smearing decorated veterans (again) and cracking down on dissent. Meanwhile Chris Matthews (6) puts his own spin on the president's job description, Arnold Schwarzenegger (9) takes a tumble, and Pat Robertson (10) attempts to take his foot out of his mouth. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!

1Mrs. Scalito and Friends crybaby
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that Republicans are real tough guys; great hulking giants of men who laugh in the face of danger and fart in the living room of Death as they boldly swing their nuts across the land. Conventional wisdom is, sadly, wrong. The truth is that if you show a Republican a picture of an Arab he'll cling to the pantlegs of Big Daddy Bush wailing, "Please! Tap my phone lines! Take away my rights! Rip up the Constitution! Anything to protect me from the infinitesimally small chance of being killed by that scary bearded man! Oh no, I think I did a dirty bomb in my pants."

That same, uh, toughness was on display again last week during Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Alito faced several questions from Democrats about his association with the Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP), an organization formed to, among other things, keep women and minorities out of the Ivy League university. Alito graduated from Princeton in 1972 and claimed membership of CAP when he applied for a Justice Department job in 1985.

Curiously, the nominee suffered several bouts of amnesia while attempting to answer questions about CAP, but hey - they say if you can remember the '70s, you weren't there. And anyway, if he wasn't a member of CAP then he only lied on his job application. And everyone does that, right? It wouldn't be fair if there was a higher standard for, uh, United States Supreme Court justices.

But the real drama began after this exchange:

LINDSEY GRAHAM: If you don't mind the suspicious nature that I have - it's that you may be saying that because you want to get on the Supreme Court; that you're disavowing this now because it doesn't look good. And really, what I would look at to believe you're not - and I'm going to be very honest with you - is: How have you lived your life? Are you really a closet bigot?

ALITO: I'm not any kind of a bigot. I'm not.

GRAHAM: No, sir, you're not. And you know why I believe that? Not because you just said it - but that's a good enough reason - because you seem to be a decent, honorable man. ... Judge Alito, I am sorry that you've had to go through this. I am sorry that your family has had to sit here and listen to this.

Boy, that's some tough questioning right there. I'm glad Republican senators are taking this "advice and consent" thing seriously.

But anyway, once Graham was done inserting his nose into the nominee's anus, Alito's wife, perhaps literally bored to tears, broke down and had to be escorted from the room. And the next thing you know, Republicans were fighting each other to see who could get in front of a TV camera first to blame the Democrats for making Mrs. Scalito cry. Gee, I bet that wasn't planned in advance.

Of course, the ever fair-and-balanced media promptly took it upon themselves to rain contempt upon the Democrats for being such horrible worrible meanies. CNN's Ed Henry said Democrats were "hitting below the belt." CBS's Gloria Borger pulled out the old "some say" card, noting that "some say" Democrats "went over the line." (Who say, Gloria? You say?) Meanwhile, Fox News ran a segment lovingly entitled "Will vicious Dems pay for driving Alito's wife to tears?"

So much for Republicans being tough guys. One sharp glance from Ted Kennedy and they fall to pieces.

2Lindsey Graham partisanship
Time was that the Senate was supposed to give serious consideration to the president's judicial nominees, but these days it seems that the GOP prefers abuse and contempt over advice and consent.

Here's what Sen. Lindsay Graham told Sam Alito during the first day of hearings:

I don't know what kind of vote you're going to get, but you'll make it through. It's possible you could talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it. So I won't even try to challenge you along those lines.

It's not much of a surprise that a Republican senator would say something like that to a Republican president's judicial nominee, but perhaps it's a little more surprising when you find out that "Graham is one of a group of Republicans who have been coaching Alito behind the scenes," according to the Village Voice. Apparently Graham joined a "moot court session" at the White House, where Alito was undergoing training for his confirmation hearings.

Yes, a Senate Judiciary Committee member was helping to coach a nominee who was about to come before the Committee for appraisal. Kinda makes you wonder whether they had any conversations about how great it would look if Mrs. Scalito had a little emotional outburst...

3The Bush Administration swift boating
Not so long ago, conservatives hit upon a clever strategy: they decided to demonstrate their support for the troops by denigrating the service of Democratic veterans. Yes - I know it sounds strange, but they tried it against John Kerry, and with the help of their buddies in the mainstream media, it worked.

And now they're at it again. Last week an arm of Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, the Cybercast News Service, suggested that Congressman John Murtha did not really earn his two purple hearts. In case you didn't know, Murtha is a former Parris Island drill instructor and 37-year veteran of the Marine Corps. According to Wikipedia, he "volunteered for service in Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat 'V', two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He retired from the Reserves as a colonel in 1990, receiving the Navy Distinguished Service Medal."

He also happens to be of the opinion that Bush has screwed up royally in Iraq - and that has earned him the honor of being slandered on the House floor (Jean Schmidt: "cowards cut and run") and having his service to his country disparaged.

But it's not just the disgusting specimens at the Media Research Center who are attempting to slime him - it was revealed last week that "the Bush administration recently asked high ranking military leaders to denounce Congressman John Murtha," according to the Huffington Post. Apparently these military leaders have so far refused.

You know, every week I think the Bush administration can't possibly sink any lower - and every week they manage to outdo themselves.

4The Bush Administration
Case in point: last week it was revealed that a provision in the new Patriot Act would allow the Bush administration to charge people as "disruptors" for protesting at presidential appearances.

Yup, from the administration that brought you town hall meetings requiring a loyalty oath to get in comes an attempt to legally crack down on protesters at public events.

Previously the Secret Service could only charge people who protested at "National Special Security Events." But according to the Washington Post, the new bill "adds language prohibiting people from 'willfully and knowingly' entering a restricted area 'where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.'" Yes, if you were thinking about making an anti-Bush statement at an event where Our Great Leader will be in attendance, think again - unless you want to face up to a year in prison.

And on we merrily sail, waving goodbye to our rights as they float past in the opposite direction...

5George W. Bush excessive spin
Last week George W. Bush "told a veterans group that voters should punish any Democrat whose Iraq War rhetoric gives 'comfort to our adversaries.' He said 'loyal opposition' is one thing, but defeatism is another," according to the Associated Press.

Perhaps George could define "loyal opposition" for us. After all, we wouldn't want to accidentally give comfort to our adverseries by voicing our opinions on his Iraq venture.

Should the "loyal opposition" sound something like this?

You know, I'm not sure that George Bush did a very good job of planning post-war scenarios in Iraq. And I'm not entirely comfortable with this whole "wiretapping without a warrant" thing.

Nah. That's probably a bit harsh. What about this?

Boy, I sure am glad that George W. Bush is in charge. The world is so much safer since he became president.

Better, but it still doesn't seem quite "loyal" enough.

Wait, I got it!

Dear George, ah wish ah cud quit yew.


6Chris Matthews dumb
The moon-faced champion of late-afternoon/early-evening cable news shoutfests put forth an interesting theory last week: that breaking the law is, in fact, part of the president's job. I'm not making this up - here's the transcript:

MATTHEWS: We're under attack on 9-11. A couple of days after that, if I were president of the United States and somebody said we had the ability to check on all the conversations going on between here and Hamburg, Germany, where all the Al Qaeda people are, or somewhere in Saudi [Arabia], where they came from and their parents are, and we could mine some of that information by just looking for some key words like "World Trade Center" or "Pentagon," I'd do it.

RUSSELL TICE: Well, you'd be breaking the law.

MATTHEWS: Yeah. Well, maybe that's part of the job.

Yeah. Well, maybe Matthews is an idiot. How the hell did we get here? Back in 1974 Richard Nixon was forced out of office for breaking the law. 30 years later, the media is telling us that breaking the law is part of the president's job. Brilliant.

6Bob Ney rug quid pro quo
We noted in Idiots 224 that, according to the Toledo Blade, "prosecutors said [Duke] Cunningham admitted to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes paid to him by several conspirators through a variety of methods, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations."

This shocking news led us to report that "Prosecutors are now investigating the possibility that at least three of the rugs may have been passed along to other top Republicans."

And this week, thanks to eagle-eyed DUer "Botany," we can confirm that Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) has also been implicated in the ongoing rugs-for-favors scandal:

(To be fair, Bob Ney doesn't really need me to make up crimes on his behalf. He's already in deep shit as it is.)

8The White House lying
Thanks to Mrs. Scalito's Cryfest, the Abramoff scandal was somewhat on the back-burner last week. But this scandal is not going away, and Republicans who are hoping to confine it to members of Congress may be disappointed by the recent revelation that "in President Bush's first 10 months, GOP fundraiser Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team logged nearly 200 contacts with the new administration," according to USA Today.

It was also revealed that Abramoff's business partner Michael Scanlon had previously bragged of Abramoff's pull with the White House. "Jack has a relationship with the President," he once said. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one."

All of which is a bit odd considering that White House press secretary Scott McClellan said two weeks ago that George W. Bush did not know Jack Abramoff personally.

Mind you, the White House has also claimed that Bush didn't know Ken Lay, that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden, that Scooter Libby was definitely not involved in the outing of Valerie Plame, and on, and on, and on, and on...

9Arnold Schwarzenegger accident/medical cyborg
Governor Groping Austrian Beefcake was injured in a nasty traffic accident while riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle last week. The governor had to get fifteen stitches to his upper lip. It wasn't a pretty sight...

Just kidding. Here's what it really looked like:

That's, er, much better.

Funny thing though - it turns out that Arnie didn't actually have a motorcycle license at the time of the accident, if you can believe that. Tsk! What a silly fellow. But don't worry, he has a perfectly legitimate explanation. According to CNN:

Schwarzenegger, a Harley Davidson owner who rides regularly with friends along the California coast, said Tuesday that he never bothered to obtain a California motorcycle license because he "never thought about it."

Schwarzenegger said he had a motorcycle license when he lived in Europe but never considered obtaining another one after he immigrated to the United States in 1968.

"I just never really applied for it," he said.

Ha ha! Yeah right! Very good, Mr. Schwarzenegger. I bet the cops will totally let you off the hook with excuses like th...

What's that? They did? Oh.

10Pat Robertson religious nut
And finally... War? Plagues? Famine? Pah. If you really want a sign that the End Times are here, get this - Pat Robertson actually apologized for something last week.

Of course, he didn't do it out of the goodness of his heart. In Idiots 227 we noted that Pat Robertson had loudly proclaimed Ariel Sharon's recent stroke to be an act of revenge by God because Sharon had decided to "carve [Israel] up and give it away." We also noted that this was slightly odd in light of the fact that Pat was on the verge of persuading the Israeli government to give "a large slice of land to American Christian evangelicals to build a biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee."

Well it turns out that the Israeli goverment wasn't too happy about Pat's proclamation, and last week they decided not to give him the keys to Jesusland after all. "We can't accept this kind of statement. We will not do business with him," said Avi Hartuv, a spokesman for Israel's tourism minister.

Apparently cold hard cash is Pat's real god, because after learning that his theme park plans had gone up in smoke, a spokeswoman for Robertson offered an abject apology. Well... actually it wasn't that abject. Okay, let's be fair. It's the lamest apology in the world. Here it is:

Robertson has met with Sharon at significant times and considers him a friend. Robertson has been a life long supporter of Israel and has continually expressed grave concern over dividing the land of Israel.

Robertson pointed to the book of Joel in the Old Testament to show a biblical perspective of God's view of Israel and efforts made from people who try to divide God's land.

In the book of Joel, the prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has 'enmity against those who divide My land.' God considers this land to be His. When you read the Bible, He said this is my land. For any Prime Minister of Israel who decides he will carve it up and give it away, God said, "No, this is Mine."

The spokeswoman then attempted to blame the whole thing on "rival groups" with a "left-wing political agenda" who had taken Robertson's comments "out of context."

Worst. Apology. Ever. See you next week!

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