The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 266
October 30, 2006
Here we are - the penultimate Top 10 before the 2006 mid-term elections and the day before Halloween, no less. With just over a week to go, things are getting increasingly scary for Republicans - and it's showing. Rush Limbaugh (1) proves he's a boil on the ass of humanity, Dick Cheney (2) admits to waterboarding, and George Allen's (3) "gotcha" falls flat. Elsewhere, Barbara Cubin (5) gets slap-happy, Jean Schmidt (6) blows her top, and the RNC (8) cooks up a delicious recipe of race-baiting with a dash of porn. Plus we have a new Conservative Morals & Values Update. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!
Following in the footsteps of Senator Doctor Bill "Follow the Balloon" Frist, Rush Limbaugh decided last week to start diagnosing medical conditions via videotape. However, just because one knows a lot about doctor shopping, it doesn't necessarily follow that one knows anything about medicine.
Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. I know he's got it and he's raising money for it, but when I've seen him in public, I've never seen him betray any of the symptoms. But this commercial, he -- he's just all over the place. He can barely control himself. He can control himself enough to stay in the frame of the picture, and he can control himself enough to keep his eyes right on the lens, the teleprompter. But his head and shoulders are moving all over the place, and he is acting like his disease is deteriorating because Jim Talent opposes research that would help him, Michael J. Fox, get cured.
So this is really shameless, folks, this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two.
Yes, shame on Michael J. Fox for having the misfortune of falling victim to a debilitating disease, and then supporting people who are looking for a cure. This is unconscionable I tells ya!
Of course, by making these wild claims Limbaugh was merely exposing his own ignorance. You see, shaking is actually a side-effect of the medicine used to control Parkinson's disease. If people stop taking the medicine, they stop shaking. In fact, they stop moving altogether - that's why they take the medication in the first place.
This video of Michael J. Fox's interview with Katie Couric explains it all. It even comes complete with a clip of Limbaugh mocking Fox, flailing his arms around and shaking in his chair.
So there you have it. This is the face of compassionate conservatism in 2006 - attacking a man with Parkinson's disease, physically mocking him, claiming that he's making it up, he's acting, he's exaggerating his own symptoms. Declaring that he's "shameless" for daring to approve of a political candidate whose support of stem cell research could help find a cure for this disease.
Funny, I don't remember Limbaugh kicking up a stink when Fox starred in a campaign ad for Arlen Specter in 2004. That's probably because according to Rush, "every one of his ads is run for the benefit of a Democrat." Hey Rush, I think your Truth Detector needs fixing. And while you're at it, a lobotomy couldn't hurt.
Back in November 2005, ABC News reported that "former and current intelligence officers and supervisors" had described the "harsh interrogation techniques" used on terrorist suspects in American custody:
According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.
"But," I hear you cry, "surely we don't torture! The president has said all along that we don't!"
Indeed he has. And Dick Cheney said it again last week during an interview with right-wing talk radio host Scott Hennen. See if you can spot the part where we don't torture people...
Q I've heard from a lot of listeners -- that's what we do for a living, talk to good folks in the Heartland every day -- and I've talked to as many who want an increased military presence in Iraq as want us out, which seems to be the larger debate, at least coming from the left -- cut and run, get out of there. One fax said, when you talk to the Vice President, ask him when shock and awe is coming back to Iraq. Let's finish the job once and for all.
And terrorist interrogations and that debate is another example. And I've had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth, we've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that.
The Congress recently voted on this question of military commissions and our authority to continue the interrogation program. It passed both Houses, fortunately. The President signed it into law, but the fact is 177 Democrats in the House -- or excuse me, 162 Democrats in the House voted against it, and 32 out of 44 senators -- Democratic senators voted against it. We wouldn't have that authority today if they were in charge. That's a very important issue in this campaign.
Are we going to allow the executive branch to have the authority granted and authorized by the Congress to be able to continue to collect the intelligence we need to defend the nation.
Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in.
See? We don't torture. We just "dunk terrorists in water." It's a "no-brainer." At least, that's what the White House would have you believe:
President Bush said Friday the United States does not torture prisoners, commenting after Vice President Dick Cheney embraced the suggestion that a dunk in water might be useful to get terrorist suspects to talk.
Human rights groups complained that Cheney's words amounted to an endorsement of a torture technique known as "water boarding," in which the victim believes he is about to drown. The White House insisted Cheney was not talking about water boarding, but would not explain what he meant.
Seriously though, if Cheney was referring to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom, as we have already noted was water boarded by the CIA, what, other than water boarding, could Cheney have possibly been referring to?
C'mon, Dick - either you're turning the U.S. government into the Khymer Rouge or you're not. Make your mind up.
(Oh, and one more thing - if you're still laboring under the misapprehension that torturing terror suspects provides us with "enormously valuable information," read this.)
Big dumb George Allen almost crapped his pants with glee last week when his campaign staff thought they'd been handed a real "gotcha" moment to use against Democrat Jim Webb in Virgina's senate race.
It turns out that Jim Webb wrote a book in 2001 called Lost Soldiers. Here's an excerpt from the Publishers Weekly review:
Webb's cultural and political portrayal of Vietnam 25 years after the war's end is delivered with such bold strokes and magical detail that it really doesn't matter that the plot itself is relegated to the backseat. This is a highly personal and empathetic look at today's Vietnam, a land of misery and inequity, yet one still vibrantly alive.
And here's what John McCain thought of the novel:
James Webb's new novel paints a portrait of a modern Vietnam charged with hopes for the future but haunted by the ghosts of its war-torn past. It captures well the lingering scars of the war, and exposes the tension between the dynamism of a new generation and the invisible bondage of an older generation for whom wartime allegiances, and animosities, are rendered no less vivid by the passage of time. A novel of revenge and redemption that tells us much about both where Vietnam is headed and where it has been.
And here's how the Drudge Report commented on Webb's book last week (sorry, I've decided not to link to that piece of shit website):
ALLEN'S REVENGE: EXPOSES UNDERAGE SEX SCENES IN OPPONENT'S NOVELS
Sen. George Allen, R-VA, unleashed a press release late Thursday that exposed his rival's fiction writing, which includes graphic underage sex scenes.
Yes, Allen's increasingly desperate campaign decided last week to smear Jim Webb for writing books full of pedophilia and "graphic sex scenes."
Drudge helpfully posted a snippet from the book. Here it is:
My goodness! That looks incredibly salacious! Until you see it in context, of course:
Far from a "graphic sex scene," Webb is describing a cultural practice which commonly occurs in parts of Asia, and which he personally witnessed while he was a journalist in Bangkok. And if you think the practice is weird, ruminate on this post by DUer OilemFirchen:
In another ancient custom...
The family and friends hover bemusedly whilst a holy man grabs the infant's penis and slices off the tender outer skin.
Now that's salacious!
Allen's lame attack brought criticism from conservatives and liberals alike. For example, John Podhoretz said, "Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be on the Right." And Michele Malkin said, "I think this charge is particularly silly and I happen to be somebody who supports Republicans. Condemning it is something more conservatives should do ... It looks desperate, it looks pathetic and it looks so immature."
And then there's my personal favorite, from the Washington Times blog:
George Allen is an opportunistic philistine.
You took the words right out of my mouth.
Everything was going so well for Republican Jim Gibbons, who is running for governor in Nevada this year. So, so well. Right up until the moment that the press found out that he'd been hiding an illegal immigrant in his basement.
Gibbons, who is supposed to be a strong supporter of stricter immigration rules, allegedly employed an undocumented worker as a nanny between 1987 and 1993. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal,
Martha Patricia Pastor-Sandoval, who became a permanent resident in 2002, is saying she began working as a nanny for the Gibbonses in 1987 and was told to hide in the basement when people came to the house.
Ouch. Unfortunately for Gibbons, the news that he may have employed an illegal immigrant is the least of his worries. Last week Christy Mazzeo, a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, came forward to announce that "she was assaulted and propositioned by a Republican congressman running for Nevada governor (and) said Wednesday she was physically threatened, pressured and offered money to drop her accusations and change her story," according to the Associated Press.
Mazzeo accused Gibbons of pushing her up against a wall Oct. 13 and propositioning her in a parking garage near a restaurant-bar where they had met earlier in the night. Gibbons, in statements to police and at a news conference with his wife last week, said he walked Mazzeo to the garage, caught her when she tripped and walked away.
Hmm, I wonder who to believe? According to Gibbons's lawyer, Mazzeo is an "exceedingly troubled young lady." Maybe, maybe not. It still doesn't explain why Gibbons was hanging out with her in a parking garage after meeting her in a bar earlier that evening. Family values, anyone?
The Ohio Republican Party
If you think this year's election has produced some of the most ridiculous negative attacks ever made, you haven't seen anything yet. The Ohio GOP put out a news release last week attacking Sherrod Brown for accepting support from Al Franken. The news release came complete with a doctored photo of Franken, in which the Ohio GOP have photoshopped a picture of Franken's head onto someone wearing diapers and holding a big teddy bear. I'm not kidding:
The release also came complete with this charming accusation:
It is not surprising that Sherrod Brown is enlisting the help of a Hollywood liberal, who like him, is so far out of the mainstream of Ohio values. What is troubling is that Brown would solicit support from someone who compared conservatives to Nazis "who should drink poison and die."
Al Franken compared conservatives to Nazis "who should drink poison and die?" Uh, no. That quote comes from Bernard Goldberg's book 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America, and it's part of a fictional interview between Goldberg and Franken, which Goldberg admittedly invented for "humorous" purposes.
I'm actually surprised the Ohio GOP didn't use Goldberg's entire fictional quote, which went like this: "I think they're all a bunch of motherf***ing, Nazi, ass***** who should drink poison and die." But then I guess they're cynical enough to realize that even diehard Republicans aren't dumb enough to fall for that one.
Well, most of them.
More compassionate conservatism, this time from Wyoming. Last week, after a campaign debate, Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Naturally) walked up to her Libertarian challenger Thomas Rankin and told him, "If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face."
Rankin wasn't sitting in any old chair, mind you - he was sitting in an electric wheelchair, because he has multiple sclerosis. According to the Casper Star-Tribune:
While his aide Jeremy Moniz was helping him, Moniz heard Cubin's comment, too.
"She came right up and said it," Moniz said.
Rankin didn't say anything to Cubin before she confronted him, he said.
"It took me totally off guard," he said. "I said, 'Barbara, if you feel the need to slap me, go right ahead.'"
Cubin then turned around and walked away.
I think someone should get Rush Limbaugh involved in this case immediately. You never know - perhaps Rankin was faking his illness. Perhaps he didn't take his medication and was sitting in an electric wheelchair for dramatic effect! Because if that was the case, it would have been perfectly all right for Barbara Cubin to physically assault him. Or something.
Back in December 2005, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Obviously) took to the House floor and insulted decorated Marine veteran John Murtha by announcing that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do." (See Idiots 224.) For her efforts, she was roundly booed. Now Schmidt's challenger in Ohio's 2nd District, Democrat Victoria Wulsin, is using Schmidt's comments in a campaign ad. And Schmidt is furious.
As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Rep. Jean Schmidt blasted Democrat Victoria Wulsin on Wednesday for allegedly breaking a U.S. House rule that prohibits using the broadcast of House floor proceedings in campaign ads.
"Her continued violation will land her in serious trouble with the House Ethics Committee," Schmidt's spokesman Matt Perin said in a release, referring to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which the release mistakenly referred to elsewhere as the "House Committee on Official Standards and Conduct."
Unfortunately it appears that in her rage, Schmidt has forgotten that House rules only apply to members of the House. And since Wulsin isn't a member of the House unless she beats Schmidt in the election, trying to get the House Ethics Committee to punish her might be a tad tricky.
Mind you, there is someone in this race who has broken House rules - that would be Jean Schmidt, who violated House rules by making her dumb comment about Murtha in the first place, and subsequently asked to have her remarks stricken from the record.
Republicans have clearly decided that the only chance they have this year is to dredge the bottom of the barrel and sling whatever muck they find down there. Take John Spencer, Republican candidate for Senate in New York, who last week attacked Hillary Clinton on her looks.
The New York Daily News quoted Spencer as saying, "You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don't know why Bill married her."
Nice. Tell you what, let's take a look at John Spencer and find out whether he's qualified to call his opponent ugly:
Eek! Happy Halloween!
It wasn't so long ago that Ken Mehlman apologized to the NAACP for the Republican party's historic use of racial division to win elections:
By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out. Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.
So how sorry is Mehlman? Well, here's how a recent New York Times editorial described an ad the RNC is running against Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee:
The sleazy way in which campaigns and the political parties use loopholes in the campaign finance laws to evade responsibility for their attack ads is on full display in the Tennessee Senate race. Slick as a leer, pernicious as a virus, a campaign commercial transparently honed as a racist appeal to Tennessee voters has remained on the air, despite assurances from Republican sponsors that it was pulled down.
The ad is directed at Representative Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic candidate for the Senate, who is African-American. It includes a bare-shouldered white woman claiming to have met the candidate at a Playboy party and signing off with a close-up, whispered come-on: "Harold, call me."
The ad, resonating with the miscegenation taboos of Old South politics, may or may not be the nadir in the low-blow salvos now assailing the nation. But it takes the statuette for political hypocrisy as G.O.P. leaders insist they were hobbled by campaign law from cutting off what is clearly their own handiwork. "We didn't have anything to do with creating it," insisted Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
All Mr. Mehlman's committee did was finance the ad by way of a supposedly "independent" political shop that serves as a shadow party operation specializing in attack ads on behalf of the Republican candidate, Bob Corker. Mr. Corker eventually criticized the ad as tacky and not part of his campaign, asking that it be killed. But Republican assurances that it was finally off the air after days of damage have proved untrue, according to news reports. The 30-second fiction continued to air like some monstrous G.O.P. orphan.
Sounds about par for the course - but if that hypocrisy isn't good enough for you, try this. The ad also claims that Harold Ford took political contributions from the porn industry - but funnily enough the RNC seems to have forgotten all about its own contributions from the porn industry.
Last week, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo reported that "the Republican National Committee is a regular recipient of political contributions from Nicholas T. Boyias, the owner and CEO of Marina Pacific Distributors." And what is Marina Pacific Distributors? Why, they're "one of the largest producers and distributors of gay porn in the United States."
Rep. Ralph Arza of Florida must have been missed the day that Ken Mehlman apologized to the RNC for exploiting racial division in America - either that, or Arza is just a flat out racist.
Arza got into trouble two months ago when he was "allegedly heard using the 'N' word to describe (Rudy) Crew," Miami-Dade's black superintendent, according to NBC News. And last week that account was corroborated by another - Republican - politician, who says "Arza used same word on his cell phone."
"It was derogatory comments toward Rudy Crew," said state Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami Beach.
Barreiro said Arza left the message on his voice mail.
Wow - Arza will have to do some serious spinning to get out of this one. Let's see what he came up with:
"In Spanish, we have a word negro. Negro means black. You know, like black person, white person or Hispanic person," Arza said.
Nice try. So did the apology work? Well, according to the Miami Herald:
What began as a state lawmaker's alcohol-fueled racial tirade on a colleague's cellphone exploded onto Florida's political scene Tuesday, as state Rep. Ralph Arza refused entreaties from friends and higher-ups to leave office and found himself increasingly isolated and under investigation from authorities and his own colleagues.
One of Arza's close friends and political allies, incoming House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami, deserted him: Rubio denied the Hialeah Republican a future leadership post and called on current House leaders to investigate immediately.
Rubio, who spent much of Tuesday trying to persuade Arza to leave office, asked House legal experts to review the process for removing a sitting member of the Legislature.
So I guess not. Fortunately Arza has stumbled upon the Republican get-out-of-jail-free card which appears to be de rigeur this election season:
Arza admitted in a statement he had used inappropriate language in his call and blamed anger-control and alcohol problems for which he's seeking counseling.
That's right - he's gone into rehab! Hey Ralph - make sure you say hi to Mark Foley and Bob Ney while you're there.
And finally, TechRepublic.com ran a feature last week on America's worst political websites. There are some real classics on the list, but my favorite has got to be this one:
Yes folks, that's Rep. Dan Burton with his head photoshopped onto Indiana Jones' body, swinging a whip and showing off one manly nipple. Apparently Dan is in the "City of Lost Liberals," whatever that means.
Can it get any better than this? We've got one more Top 10 list before the elections, so I'm going to guess "yes." See you next week!
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