The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 238
March 27, 2006
Mental Ben Edition
It's spring again, which could only mean one thing: Open season on conservative idiocy! The liberal blogosphere bagged another trophy last week, this time in the form of Ben Domenech (1), much to the shame of the Washington Post. But that's not all! Bill Frist (2) was caught lying about the Democrats (and it was a doozy). George W. Bush (3) faced some tough questions (not). And Ken Mehlman (4) was a major hypocrite (as usual). Plus, we've got two, count 'em, two crazy people on the list. Enjoy, and as usual, here's the key!
Last week the Washington Post's website launched a brand new blog called Red America, written by Ben Domenech of the Republican blog Red State. Comments on the announcement ranged from:
A right-wing blog is a good idea. When will the liberal blog start?
Disgusting. What is he supposed to be balancing? Once again, the Post falls victim to its own infantile insistence upon false equivalence. Did you ever notice how a conservative's idea of 'balance' is one conservative and one journalist?
Unfortunately Red America didn't last long - it was canceled three days later. Not because the Post bowed to the wave of criticism mind you, but because Ben Domenech resigned in disgrace after it was revealed that he was a plagiarist. Whoops.
Turns out that Domenech had committed plagiarism multiple times before being hired by the Post, including in an article featured on National Review Online back in 2001.
So who's to blame for all of this? If you guessed "Ben Domenech," guess again. After resigning, Ben wrote:
Red America, my new blog at washingtonpost.com, has been under attack since its launch. It is a conservative blog on a mainstream media site, so many of the attacks were expected. If one bothers to read it, I believe it stands as a welcome addition to the opinion debate.
The hate mail that I have received since the launch of this blog has been overwhelmingly profane and violent. My family has been threatened; my friends have been deluged; my phone has been prank called. The most recent email that showed up while writing this post talked about how the author would like to hack off my head, and wishes my mother had aborted me.
Oh, boo hoo. Join the club, Benny Boy. Grow up and get a pair.
But in the course of accusing me of racism, homophobia, bigotry, and even (on one extensive Atrios thread) of having a sexual relationship with my mother, the leftists shifted their accusations to ones of plagiarism.
Gee... I wonder how they managed to make that charge stick?
You can find the major examples here: I link to this source only because I believe it's the only place that hasn't yet written about how they'd like to rape my sister.
Wow, he's a plagiarist, a crybaby, and a compulsive exaggerator!
In one instance, I have been accused me of passing off P.J. O'Rourke's writing as my own in a column for the paper. But the truth is that I had met P.J. at a Republican event and asked his permission to do a college-specific version of his classic piece on partying. He granted permission, the piece was cleared with my editors at the paper, and it ran as inspired by O'Rourke's original.
Funny, that's not what P.J. O'Rourke says.
Anyway, this whining goes on for a quite some time, and of course none of it is his own fault. Although he blames various editors and the fact that he was a "teenager" (he was, er, 19 when the NRO piece was published in 2001), this is mostly the fault of the "liberal attack machine." Newest member of the liberal attack machine: Michelle Malkin.
Forced to resort to a classic conservative tactic, Ben even played the "truthiness" card:
But all these specifics are beside the point. Considering that all of this happened almost eight years ago, (except for the incident that happened five years ago - EG) and that there are no files or notes that I've kept from that brief stint, it is simply my word against the liberal blogosphere on these examples. It becomes a matter of who you believe.
See? Never mind your lying eyes. As Stephen Colbert would say, you should know in your gut that Ben isn't a plagiarist. The specific evidence of Ben's plagiarism is "beside the point."
Can you believe this guy was hired by the Washington Post? Wait, don't answer that.
Actually, I shouldn't say that Domenech was hired by the Post. There's an interesting side note to this tawdry tale: back in January, Post ombudsman Deborah Howell made the Top 10 for lying about Jack Abramoff's campaign contributions and then trying to worm her way out of it (see Idiots 229). She was staunchly defended at the time by the executive editor of washingtonpost.com, Jim Brady.
Unfortunately for Jim, Deborah is not returning the favor. Courtesy of firedoglake, here's the auto-response she's sending to those who complain about Domenech:
The Post didn't hire Domenech. The website, washingtonpost.com, and the paper are under different management. He will not write for the Post. Please send your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ouch! I bet that's the last time Brady goes to the mat for Deborah Howell!
Faced with potentially disastrous election prospects this year, Republicans have decided to headquarter their campaign operations on Planet Bullshit. And why not? Here's an excerpt from an email that Bill Frist sent to supporters last week:
The Democrat alternative to Republican efforts to restrain spending is clear: Continue to spend beyond our means, mortgaging our children's future by saddling them with a debt of $8 trillion … and continue to ratchet up taxes to pay for their fiscal irresponsibility, stifling the American economy.
That's right ladies and gentlemen, despite holding the reins of power for the past six years; despite controlling all three branches of government; despite the fact that Democrats in Congress can barely tie their shoelaces without getting permission from Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert - the vast increase in government spending since 2001 is NOT the fault of the Republican party!
When Bush took office in 2001, he had a $236 billion budget surplus to play with - after six years of Republican rule, we now have a $400 billion deficit. Whose fault is that? Must be the Democrats! Similarly, the national debt in 2001 was $5.7 trillion - after six years of Republican rule it is now $8.2 trillion. Whose fault is that? Must be the Democrats!
And just last week the Republican-controlled Senate voted to increase the debt limit to $9 trillion, which, as the London Times points out, could buy you 28 life-size Eiffel Towers made out of pure gold. Whose fault is that? Must be the Democrats! Sure it is - provided you overlook the inconvenient fact that all 44 Democratic senators voted against raising the debt limit. Democrats also voted against adding $16 billion to Bush's 2007 budget, but the Republicans managed to squeeze that through by 51 votes to 49.
But never mind the facts. Everybody knows that the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility and smaller government, right? So if you're a Republican, just ignore the fact that your party has held the reins of power for the past six years, ignore the fact that your party controls all three branches of government, and ignore the fact that the GOP is presiding over one of the greatest periods of spending and borrowing in American history.
After all, it's much easier to place the blame for your screw-ups on somebody else. (I believe that's what George W. Bush calls "taking personal responsibility.")
George W. Bush
Trying to pin their own fiscal irresponsibility on the Democrats is just one part of the GOP's strategy for 2006. Last week Our Great Leader went to the people (again) to explain how he's going to win the war in Iraq (again). During a Q&A session in West Virginia he faced a barrage of tough questions. Here are a few excerpts:
I thank God you're our Commander-in-Chief. You're a man for our times. And I'm supporter of yours. And I think it's good that you come out and tell your story. And I think you need to keep doing more of it, and tell the story and the history of all this. And God bless you. And I thank you for your service.
I want to let you know that every service at our church you are, by name, lifted up in prayer, and you and your staff and all of our leaders. And we believe in you. We are behind you. And we cannot thank you enough for what you've done to shape our country.
Do you like living in the White House?
Great stuff. But the question which brought the audience to their feet was this one:
This is my husband, who has returned from a 13-month tour in Tikrit. His job while serving was as a broadcast journalist. And he has brought back several DVDs full of wonderful footage of reconstruction, of medical things going on. And I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, for a solution to this, because it seems that our major media networks don't want to portray the good. They just want to focus on another car bomb, or they just want to focus on some more bloodshed, or they just want to focus on how they don't agree with you and what you're doing, when they don't even probably know how you're doing what you're doing anyway. But what can we do to get that footage on CNN, on FOX, to get it on headline news, to get it on the local news?
And there you have the other part of the GOP strategy for 2006: blame the media (again). See, the problem with Iraq is not that they're on the verge of civil war, or that around 40 people are killed every day in sectarian violence - the problem is that the media isn't reporting on all the good things going on over there.
It's not for want of trying. Two weeks ago Jake Tapper of ABC news attempted to do a lighthearted story on the production of an upcoming Iraqi sit-com called "Me and Layla." Everything was going great until the the head of the entertainment division for Iraqi TV was, uh, assassinated on his way to work.
Last week RNC chief Ken Mehlman was spotted grovelling at the feet of the International Association of Fire Fighters, "a group that has long been part of the Democrats' base: organized labor," according to the New York Times. Mehlman said, "We've sometimes disagreed, but we've always kept the dialogue open. There are areas where we can work together over the coming year."
Funny - the RNC didn't do such a good job of "keeping the dialogue open" back in 2002. Mike Gehrk of the Senate Majority Project noted last week that the International Association of Fire Fighters was one of the targets of James Tobin, a regional director of the Republican National Committee who was recently convicted of conspiring to jam the phone lines of a get-out-the-vote operation run by New Hampshire Democrats during the 2002 elections.
According to the Bangor Daily News:
Prosecutors argued that although the intent of the hundreds of repeated hang-up calls on Election Day was not to inflict emotional distress, they were intended to disrupt communication, harass workers, and make their jobs more difficult.
"We've always kept the dialogue open," eh?
In a related story by the Associated Press, Ken Mehlman last week "reiterated a 'zero-tolerance policy' for any GOP official caught trying to block legitimate votes. 'The position of the Republican National Committee is simple: We will not tolerate fraud; we will not tolerate intimidation; we will not tolerate suppression. No employee, associate or any person representing the Republican Party who engages in these kinds of acts will remain in that position.'"
The Republican Party will, however, pay their legal bills. The AP story reports that "Since charges were first filed in December, the RNC has spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin, who has pleaded innocent, a team of lawyers from the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly." And the Bangor Daily News notes that "Last month, a New Hampshire newspaper reported that the most recent report filed with the Federal Election Commission indicated the RNC may have paid as much as $2.5 million for Tobin's legal defense since his indictment two years ago."
Nice zero-tolerance policy you've got there, Mr. Mehlman.
Just one week after announcing on live television that she would be spending her inheritance on her Senate campaign, Katherine Harris has changed her mind. Here's what she told Sean Hannity two weeks ago:
I'm going to put everything on the line. Everything. Not just my future, and my reputation, my father's name, I'm going to take his legacy, that he gave to me, everything that I have, and I'm going to put it in this race. I'm going to commit my legacy from my father, ten million dollars ... this is everything I have, and this levels, temporarily, the playing field."
But last week, "Campaign spokeswoman Morgan Dobbs said ... that Harris will sell her existing assets rather than rely on money from her father, a bank executive who died in January," according to the Orlando Sentinel. Why the change of heart? Nobody knows.
So why is Harris sending out such bizarre mixed messages? Is is because two of her top campaign managers abruptly resigned two weeks ago? Or is it because Harris is apparently taking inspiration from God, The Last Of The Mohicans, and Lord of the Rings? Either way, you'll want to keep an eye on this race - who knows what might happen next!
Right-wing commentator Tony Phyrillas appeared on the list two weeks ago (see Idiots 236) for apparently losing control of his mental faculties. In his column for the Pottstown Mercury, Tony speculated on what would happen if Bush is impeached, and came up with the following:
President Nancy Pelosi will have no choice but commit the U.S. to an even bigger war in the Middle East. Over the objections of Secretary of State Cindy Sheehan and Secretary of Defense Michael Moore, Pelosi will have U.N. Ambassador Jimmy Carter ask for a Security Council resolution to begin an all-out bombing of at least a half-dozen countries in the Middle East. The U.N. will turn us down, of course, with the Islamic Republic of France joining with other members to reject intervention in the Iran-led final solution of the Israeli problem.
Pelosi and her war council - Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Dick Durban (sic), Barbara Boxer, George Clooney and Sean Penn - will come to the conclusion that the U.S. will have to go it alone in the war. This time, our enemies will be a true axis of evil: Iran, al-Qaida, Hamas, Syria, Iraq under the reinstated dictator Saddam Hussein and Afghanistan, back in the hands of the Taliban.
Good stuff, eh? Anyway, Tony apparently got wind of his mention on the Top 10 and followed up with a column dedicated "to my friends at Democratic Underground" in which he appears to be delighted at his number 8 placement. (I won't bore you with the details, but it's the usual "blah blah blah badge of honor" type stuff.) Tony says he won't be visiting DU again unless he moves up in the rankings, so I've given him this week's number 6 slot just to see if he bites.
Tony concludes his commentary with:
To my friends at Democratic Underground, you can call me an idiot or any other names you like.
Okay Tony - you're an idiot and a douchebag.
If I helped in some small way to expose the far left's hidden agenda and bring the impeachment issue to the front burner, mission accomplished.
Hmm... "mission accomplished," eh? I think I've heard that somewhere before, and if I recall correctly it didn't turn out too well. I'm not sure why Tony wants to "bring the impeachment issue to the front burner," but hey - it's much appreciated!
Perhaps Tony Phyrillas should get together with Kathleen "KT" McFarland - they could have a grand old time discussing their paranoid fantasies. McFarland is a Republican former Pentagon official who is running against Hillary Clinton in New York, and last week she publicly announced that she was batshit crazy.
At a gathering of Suffolk County Republicans, McFarland said, "Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures."
An eyewitness to the speech said, "She wasn't joking, she was very, very serious, and she also claimed that Clinton's people were taking pictures across the street from her house in Manhattan, taking pictures from an apartment across the street from her bedroom."
Hmmm. Haven't I heard this somewhere before? Paging Ross Perot!
Our final set of paranoid ramblings this week comes courtesy of perennial conservative idiot Roy Moore. You may remember Moore from such works as What's Wrong With Legislating From The Bench?, The Separation of Church And State Can Kiss My Butt, and, Oh No! I've Been Fired. (See Idiots passim.) Moore is currently running for governor in Alabama and part of his platform includes opposition to an animal-tracking system which would help identify potential cases of BSE, otherwise known as Mad Cow Disease. Yes, you read that right - he's opposed to it. So of course the recent discovery of a BSE-infected cow in Alabama has Moore reaching for his tinfoil hat.
"It's a strange coincidence that we have a case of mad cow disease at the same time the Senate is debating this bill," Moore said last week.
Oh come on Roy, isn't it obvious? Hillary Clinton flew it down there in her black helicopter just to freak you out.
The Bush Family
While George W. Bush was on the road last week struggling to make the public understand why he's not an incompetent assclown, it was revealed that "an uncle of the commander in chief is collecting $2.7 million in cash and stock from the recent sale of a company that profited from the war," according to the Los Angeles Times. How nice.
The uncle in question is the lesser-spotted William Bush, who, like most members of the Bush family, has a nickname: he's known in the Bush family circle as "Uncle Bucky." Presumably no relation to this guy...
...or this guy...
Moving on, Uncle Bucky isn't the only member of the Bush clan enjoying the fruits of the administration's labors: last week the Houston Chronicle reported that "Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil." Why didn't she just cut out the middleman and send him the money directly? Probably because that's not tax-deductible.
And finally: Speaking of American Idol (the guy in the picture above is a contestant, for those of you who don't watch it), Dick "last throes" Cheney actually managed to find a way to work the show into his stale criticisms of the Democratic Party last week. During a campaign event in Florida he told the audience, "If they are competent to fight this war, then I ought to be singing on American Idol."
Let's face it - the Democrats could hardly do worse in Iraq than the Bush administration, so perhaps Cheney should be singing on American Idol. Just in case you were wondering what that might look like...
See you next week!
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