The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 264
October 16, 2006
The Price Of Indifference Edition
With just over three weeks to go until the mid-term elections, the GOP is in big trouble - and when the GOP is in big trouble, you can be sure that conservative idiocy will be off the charts. George W. Bush (1,10) shows us the price of indifference, John McCain demonstrates his maverick streak by, er, bashing Bill Clinton, and Dennis Hastert (3) is in "grave" condition. Elsewhere, Katherine Harris (4) rigs another election, new revelations could spell disaster for George Allen (7), and Fox News (9) gets it wrong... again. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!
George W. Bush
Cast your minds back for a moment to George W. Bush's State of the Union Address in 2002, where he said this:
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
Bush was talking about Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. And as we all know, Our Great Leader went on to invade and occupy Iraq, which of those three countries was the only one not in possession of or developing weapons of mass destruction. Good job.
Now cast your minds back to the 2004 presidential debates. In the first debate, John Kerry was asked this simple question: "If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security to the United States?" Here's Kerry's response:
Nuclear proliferation. Nuclear proliferation. There's some 600-plus tons of unsecured material still in the former Soviet Union and Russia. At the rate that the president is currently securing it, it'll take 13 years to get it.
I did a lot of work on this. I wrote a book about it several years ago - six, seven years ago - called "The New War," which saw the difficulties of this international criminal network. And back then, we intercepted a suitcase in a Middle Eastern country with nuclear materials in it. And the black market sale price was about $250 million.
Now, there are terrorists trying to get their hands on that stuff today.
And this president, I regret to say, has secured less nuclear material in the last two years since 9/11 than we did in the two years preceding 9/11.
We have to do this job. And to do the job, you can't cut the money for it. The president actually cut the money for it. You have to put the money into it and the funding and the leadership.
And part of that leadership is sending the right message to places like North Korea.
Bush's response to the same question?
Actually, we've increased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35 percent since I've been the president. Secondly, we've set up what's called the - well, first of all, I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. And that's why proliferation is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer.
My administration started what's called the Proliferation Security Initiative. Over 60 nations involved with disrupting the trans-shipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials.
And we've been effective. We busted the A.Q. Khan network. This was a proliferator out of Pakistan that was selling secrets to places like North Korea and Libya.
Effective? If you consider North Korea's recent test-firing of an atomic weapon to be a positive result of Bush's campaign against nuclear proliferation, then I guess you could say that he's been very effective. What was that about "the price of indifference" again?
But believe it or not, there are actually people out there who think Kim Jong Il's nuke test was a positive result. Take John Gibson of Fox News for example, who said last week, "Does the fact that the North Koreans actually tested a nuclear weapon balance out the bad news from this Foley scandal?"
Sane people, however, tend to think that a nuclear North Korea is not really that awesome.
The good news though is that, as usual, Bush is standing strong and staying the course. According to the Associated Press:
President Bush unapologetically defended his approach to North Korea's nuclear weapons program Wednesday, pledging he would not change course despite contentions that Pyongyang’s apparent atomic test proved the failure of his nearly six years of effort.
Bush rejected the idea of direct U.S.-North Korea talks, saying the Koreans were more likely to listen if confronted with the combined protest of many nations.
The president said he was not backing down from his assertion three years ago that "we will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea."
Bush also said that, "I believe the commander in chief must try all diplomatic measures before we commit our military." That's nice, since the Pentagon predicts "52,000 US military casualties and one million civilian dead in the first 90 days of conflict if America attacked Pyongyang," according to the Herald Sun.
But hey, the world is safer now that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power! Or something.
With Bush denouncing "the price of indifference" and then ignoring North Korea for four years right up until the moment they tested an atomic bomb, there can only be one person to blame for this mess. That's right! It's Bill Clinton's fault.
Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday accused former President Clinton, the husband of his potential 2008 White House rival, of failing to act in the 1990s to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.
"I would remind Senator (Hillary) Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure," McCain said at a news conference after a campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard.
"The Koreans received millions and millions in energy assistance. They've diverted millions of dollars of food assistance to their military," he said.
Hmm. According to that same article, "In U.S.-North Korea relations, the initial breakthrough occurred in October 1994, when U.S. negotiators persuaded North Korea to freeze its nuclear program, with onsite monitoring by U.N. inspectors. In exchange, the United States, with input from South Korea and Japan, promised major steps to ease North Korea's acute energy shortage."
So Bill Clinton was responsible for freezing North Korea's nuclear program. I see. And according to a study by the National Security Advisory Group, here's the amount of plutonium that North Korea produced under the last three presidents:
George H. W. Bush: one to two bombs' worth
Bill Clinton: none
George W. Bush: four to six bombs' worth
According to the Associated Press:
Some experts estimate that at least 80 percent of the country's stockpile of 44 to 116 pounds of refined plutonium was processed since the end of the freeze in 2002.
Of course, Our Great Leader had the chance to continue Bill Clinton's successful policy when he came into office, but obviously that would have been unacceptable. After all, Clinton's penis might have been near it.
Here's what happened instead:
Asked to explain his rejection of South Korean president Kim Dae Jung's recommendation that Washington urgently pursue President Clinton's efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea's missile program, Bush told reporters, "We're not certain as to whether or not they're keeping all terms of all agreements."
That, of course, was a potentially catastrophic gaffe by a president whose problems in choosing the words that best convey his ideas can prove to be a killer liability in international diplomacy, where a leader's every word is parsed for nuance by friend and foe. For the record, the U.S. has only one agreement with North Korea - the 1994 accord to stop the production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel in exchange for assistance by Japan, South Korea and the U.S. in developing alternative energy sources (including a series of lower-grade nuclear reactors). And as U.S. officials hurried to emphasize immediately after Bush's statement, Washington has no evidence that North Korea is not complying with the terms of that agreement. Given the epic paranoia and unpredictability of the regime in Pyongyang, the last thing you want to do is accuse them of cheating - unless you're consciously setting out to take it to the next level.
Bush's response to Kim raised eyebrows all over Washington and beyond because Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared to be leaning in the opposite direction the previous day. Powell had implied that the Bush administration would continue the Clinton administration's search for agreements with North Korea to curb its missile program and other dangers.
Even though the secretary of state dutifully fell in line the following day, the tenor of Bush's comments suggested that more hawkish elements in the administration may have been making their presence felt. After all, Bush could quite simply have done the "we wholeheartedly support South Korea's peace efforts and are studying ways to take it forward" routine - the diplomatic equivalent of "no comment" - instead of pointedly questioning the wisdom of negotiating with Pyongyang, which was a sharp slapdown to President Kim's "sunshine" policy of reconciliation with the North.
So it seems that John "Straight Talk" McCain is "talking straight" out of his ass.
There were big developments in the ongoing Masturgate scandal when Speaker Dennis Hastert gave a press conference last week to announce that if any of his staff had engaged in a cover-up, "then they should not continue to have their jobs." This passing of the buck comes after Hastert had previously announced that "Ultimately, the buck stops here" (see Idiots 263).
For some reason, Denny decided to give his press conference in front of a graveyard. Sadly he failed to complete the presumably unintentional yet hilarious irony by whistling.
If Hastert is going to fire anyone who covered up the Foley scandal, he really should start by firing himself. According to the New York Times:
A longtime aide to former Representative Mark Foley testified before the House ethics committee for nearly five hours on Thursday, repeating under oath his account of having explicitly warned Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office at least three years ago that Mr. Foley should be told to keep his distance from Congressional pages.
The aide, Kirk Fordham, was the first sworn witness to appear before the bipartisan ethics panel, which is investigating whether any Republican leaders knew about Mr. Foley's conduct, which was ultimately exposed in a series of sexually explicit exchanges with former pages, and whether anything was done about it.
So let me get this straight: Kirk Fordham "explicitly warned" Hastert's office that Mark Foley was going after congressional pages, and none of Hastert's staff bothered to mention it to him? If you believe that, I've got a truckload of Celestial Drops to sell you.
Like that segue? Yes, Katherine Harris was back in the news last week after new polls showed her ahead of Democratic candidate Bill Nelson in their senate race. It's true - she sent out press releases to the media last week announcing the results.
Don't panic just yet though - the poll in question was actually a straw vote held at the Lakeland Chamber's Politics in the Park event. Did I mention that you had to pay $25 to take part? Oh, and did I mention that 6-year-olds could vote?
In reality, Nelson is beating Harris by 61-33 percent among likely voters according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll. But hey, when has our Katherine ever let reality get in the way of anything? Stupid reality!
Did you know that disgraced congressman Tom DeLay's favorite television program is "Dancing With The Stars"? The Former Hammer is a big fan of the show, and up until very recently was championing country singer Sara Evans to win it all. In early September, Tom sent a mass email urging his remaining supporters to vote for Sara in the contest. He wrote:
Sara Evans has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party and represents good American values in the media. From singing at the 2004 Republican Convention to appearing with candidates in the last several election cycles, we have always been able to count on Sara for her support of the things we all believe in. ... One of her opponents on the show is ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer. We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans.
Sara isn't the only strong supporter of the Republican party in her family - husband Craig Schelske is also a big fan of the GOP, running CRAIGPAC ("Help us elect conservatives and support the Republican movement!") and American Destiny ("Restoring the heart and soul of America").
But sadly Sara was forced to pull out of "Dancing With The Stars" last week. According to the Tennessean:
Sara Evans filed for divorce Thursday from her husband of 13 years, Craig Schelske, in Williamson County, alleging that he had committed adultery, verbally abused her and frequently watched pornography at home. On Thursday, Evans announced that she has dropped out of the ABC show "Dancing with the Stars" to give her family her full attention.
According to the document filed in chancery court, Schelske allegedly has on his computer at least 100 photographs of himself posing in an aroused state. There are several photographs of him having sex with other women, the filings stated.
"On his computers, husband maintains 'Craigs Lists.' Many of them involve requests for three party sex and anal sex. Husband's 'Craigs Lists' are composed of personal ads on his personal sex engine involving him and prospective sex partners," the documents stated.
On Sept. 28, one of the children confronted Schelske, 43, at the couple's Franklin home when he was watching pornography on TV, the filing stated. The couple's children are 2, 3 and 7 years old.
Wow. With all that going on it's amazing that he has time to elect conservatives and support the Republican movement, let alone restore the heart and soul of America.
When so-called moderate Republicans start toeing the right-wing talk-radio line and spout off about Chappaquiddick, you know they're in trouble. And that's exactly what Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut did last week. Shays compared the 37-year-old incident to Dennis Hastert's role in the Mark Foley scandal, as if one thing had something to do with the other:
"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," Shays told reporters. "Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody."
True enough - all Hastert did was turn a blind eye to a Republican congressman who was sending sexually explicit emails and instant messages to 16-year-old congressional pages while engaging in drunken whack-off sessions during votes on the House floor. And it's also true that Hastert didn't kill anybody. Not like, say, George W. Bush.
But Shays wasn't done yet. I guess he must be worried about holding on to his rapidly disappearing right-wing base, because he also parroted the Limbaugh line last week by telling reporters that Abu Ghraib was not torture. In fact, it was "more about pornography than torture."
Really? Quick, someone call Craig Schelske!
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for George Allen - oh boy, can they get worse. First came this bombshell:
For the past five years, Sen. George Allen, has failed to tell Congress about stock options he got for his work as a director of a high-tech company. The Virginia Republican also asked the Army to help another business that gave him similar options.
Congressional rules require senators to disclose to the Senate all deferred compensation, such as stock options. The rules also urge senators to avoid taking any official action that could benefit them financially or appear to do so.
Now, sure, this might not be as politically explosive as, say, getting caught on video calling someone "macaca." But it is certainly highly unethical, and comes at a time when the GOP finds itself drowning in ethics scandals.
But the stock scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Intrepid bloggers across the nation are now asking the question, what's this all about?
Yes, that's right - CrellMoset at Daily Kos went down to the Albemarle County Courthouse in Virginia to do a little digging into the senator's past, and found an arrest warrant from 1974, plus a criminal hearing attended in 1973 by one George Felix Allen. WTF?
Allen has since claimed that the warrant was issued because he didn't have a fishing license. Yeah, sure! And he just invented the word "macaca" out of thin air.
Since we're on the subject of ethics scandals, let's check in on Rep. Bob Ney (R-Naturally). Last week Ney pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and making false statements and now faces up to ten years in the slammer. But don't expect this little problem to throw him off his stride - Ney is not resigning from Congress.
Apparently the GOP has become so corrupt that their congressmen can now plead guilty to multiple felonies and not feel the need to step down. Meanwhile, the Republican leadership has announced that they won't move to expel Ney from the House until after the elections. He'll continue to receive his $165,200-a-year salary, and will be able to collect his congressional pension - up to 80% of his current salary - after he gets out of prison. That's right - the American taxpayer will be supporting this criminal for the rest of his life. Nice, huh?
The Republican leadership released a joint statement after Ney's guilty plea which read in part, "He betrayed his oath of office and violated the trust of those he represented in the House. There is no place for him in this Congress." Really? Because the way this Congress is carrying on, you'd think they'd make him Speaker.
Meanwhile Tony Snow announced that, "What Congressman Ney did is not a reflection of the Republican Party."
Sure Tony, whatever you say.
Last week I noted that Fox News had "accidentally" mislabeled Mark Foley as (D-FL) during an airing of "The O'Reilly Factor."
Strangely, it seems that this sort of faux pas is becoming commonplace at Fox.
Come on Fox News. If you're going to put an (R) after a Democrat's name, get it right:
George W. Bush
And finally, George W. Bush discussed the economy and budget at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building last week. See if you can spot the deliberate mistake...
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Good afternoon. Thanks for coming to the White House.
In 2004, I made a promise to the American people, we would cut the federal budget deficit in half over five years. Today I'm pleased to report that we have achieved this goal, and we've done it three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)
This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th.
Oh, if only Our Great Leader had been able to recall that old folk rhyme:
Thirty days hath September
April, June, and November
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone
Which only has twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine in each leap year
But don't make the mistake of saying it has thirty
Or people will think you're a blithering idiot.
See you next week!
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