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The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
Posted by top10 in Editorials & Other Articles
Sun Jun 08th 2008, 11:28 PM

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 340

June 9, 2008
Broken Speaker Edition

John McCain (1,2) takes the top honors again, but there's plenty of room for the underdogs this week - meet Jim Ogonowski (3), Frank Powers and Frank Powers (4), Mike Daly (6), and Porter Berry (10). As usual, don't forget the key!

John McCain loser

Last week John McCain demonstrated the political gumption of a turnip by deciding to go head-to-head with Barack Obama on the night that Obama finally won the Democratic party's presidential nomination. Presumably Sen. McCain hasn't actually seen any of Obama's speeches, ever, otherwise he wouldn't have made such a ridiculous move.

I'll concede that McCain will be different from Bush in one significant way: he's an even worse orator. I know, I know - you didn't think it was possible. Watching George W. Bush at the podium is like watching an angry chimp defending a bunch of bananas. But John McCain's "creepy mannequin" routine really takes the cake. Look left... look right... look left... look right... slowly draw lips back across face into expression approximating smile... oh, it's good stuff.

McCain spoke in front of a pea-green backdrop which gave his skin tone a delightful zombie-like quality, while his audience of a few hundred people apparently didn't know whether they should be cheering or booing. Meanwhile Obama drove a packed house wild at the very arena in St. Paul where the Republican National Convention will take place this fall.

And it wasn't just the delivery - McCain's content also left a lot to be desired. Take his pithy comeback to Obama's powerful "Change We Can Believe In" slogan - McCain simply listed some of Obama's policy positions and followed each one with, "That's not change we can believe in."

Well played! One can only imagine that if McCain had run against Ronald Reagan in 1984 he would have done so under the slogan, "It's not morning in America."

John McCain cronyism fiscal irresponsibility

Two weeks ago MSNBC reported that John McCain's national campaign general co-chair, former Sen. Phil Gramm, "was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy."

But it turns out that there may be more to the story. The New York Times noted last week that:

Under pressure from the authorities, UBS is considering whether to divulge the names of up to 20,000 of its well-heeled American clients, according to people close to the inquiry, a step that would have once been unthinkable to Swiss bankers, whose traditions of secrecy date to the Middle Ages.

Federal investigators believe some of the clients may have used offshore accounts at UBS to hide as much as $20 billion in assets from the Internal Revenue Service. Doing so may have enabled these people to dodge at least $300 million in federal taxes on income from those assets, according to a government official connected with the investigation.


The case could turn into an embarrassment for Marcel Rohner, the chief executive of UBS and the former head of its private bank, as well as for Phil Gramm, the former Republican senator from Texas who is now the vice chairman of UBS Securities, the Swiss bank's investment banking arm. It also comes at a difficult time for UBS, which is reeling from $37 billion in bad investments, many of them linked to risky American mortgages.

Yes, that's the same Phil Gramm who is advising John McCain on economic policy. Want more?

McCain's campaign is already distancing itself from some of Gramm's other work for UBS: his involvement in attempts to sell financial products known as "death bonds," which BusinessWeek described last summer as one of "the most macabre investment scheme(s) ever devised by Wall Street." Not long after joining UBS, the Houston Chronicle reported, Gramm helped lobby Texas officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, to sign on to a UBS proposal in which revenue would be generated for a state teachers' retirement fund by selling bonds, whose proceeds would in turn be used to buy annuities and life-insurance policies on retired teachers. UBS would advance money to the retirement fund, then repay itself, compensate bondholders and pocket profits when insurance companies paid off on retirees who died. According to a banking-industry source, who asked for anonymity when discussing a sensitive matter, Gramm was involved in efforts to pitch similar UBS products to other financial institutions.

Gramm's office declined NEWSWEEK's request for comment.

Did I mention that Gramm has been touted as a possible Treasury Secretary should McCain win in November?

Jim Ogonowski dumb

Republicans thought they had a good chance at John Kerry's Senate seat this year after picking businessman Jim Ogonowski to run against him. Ogonowski is an Air Force veteran who believes that "Washington has become too big, too corrupt and too partisan." Not only that but the front page of his website has a funny animation of John Kerry windsurfing! How adorable.

Such a shame, then, that the Boston Globe was forced to report last week that:

In a major embarrassment to Republican leaders in Massachusetts and in the US Senate, Jim Ogonowski, the party's anointed candidate to challenge Democratic Senator John F. Kerry, failed by a razor-thin margin today to qualify for the GOP primary ballot.

With Ogonowski's stunning blunder, the only GOP name on the primary ballot will be Jeff Beatty, a little-known security expert from Harwich.

Just how stunning was this stunning blunder?

According to Secretary of State William F. Galvin's office, Ogonowski's campaign delivered just 9,970 certified voter signatures to its election division today just before the final deadline, 30 short of the 10,000 he needed.


Frank Powers and Frank Powers batshit crazy

Back in Idiots 335 I noted that Staten Island congressman Vito Fossella (R-Obviously) had gotten himself into a spot of bother by a) getting caught driving drunk in Virginia, and b) telling police that he was on his way to visit his girlfriend and daughter, which obviously came as a bit of a surprise to his wife and three kids back in New York.

Fossella subsequently resigned his seat and the GOP have been scrambling to come up with a replacement. They recently selected Frank Powers, an MTA board member. Unfortunately...

If things weren't already bad enough for the Republican party's chances to hold onto scandal-tarred Rep. Vito Fossella's (R-N.Y.) Staten Island seat, they took a bizarre turn for the worse today.

Francis Powers, the son of the likely Republican nominee Frank Powers, is now planning to run against his dad on the Libertarian party ticket, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Frank Powers (the dad) is seeking to succeed Fossella, whose own family problems have been well-documented in recent weeks.

Francis Powers, a 47-year old carpenter who shares the same name as his dad, said that his candidacy is "not a vendetta against his father" -- but it's clear there's not a lot of love between the two.

That's right - New York's 13th District is going to have two sets of Frank Powers on the ballot this fall. That shouldn't be at all confusing for Republican voters!

By the way, if you're wondering what could cause a man to go to such lengths, take a look at this picture of Frank Jr. and you'll see where he gets his "powers..."

Incidentally... I was trying to recall what that picture reminded me of, and it just came to me.

Dick Cheney dumb

Dick Cheney obviously noticed that the voters of West Virginia have been a hot topic over the past few months, so last week he did his best to shore up the Appalachian vote for John McCain.

Talking about his family roots and how he's distantly related to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the vice president noted that he had Cheneys on both sides of his family.

"And we don't even live in West Virginia," Cheney quipped.

"You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."

As it turns out, you can't.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, quickly asked Cheney to apologize.

"I truly cannot believe that any vice president of the United States, regardless of their political affiliation, would make such a derogatory statement about my state or any state for that matter," he said.

On Capitol Hill, Cheney's comment was denounced by both Democrats and Republicans.

"This is exactly the type of stereotyping that we don't need from our elected officials," said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. "It's disrespectful, and it's certainly not funny. ... As a proud state, I can say we are disappointed."

Cheer up Shelley, at least he didn't shoot you in the face.

Mike Daly just plain evil

Speaking of which, hats off to County Commissioner Mike Daly of Oregon (R-Naturally) for reminding everyone that while the Democratic party is uniting and moving forward into the 21st Century, the GOP is still stuck in the Stone Age. The Source Weekly reported last week that at a recent meeting, Commissioner Daly - a former state police officer - announced that domestic violence laws were too tough in Deschutes County, and "speculated that maybe it wasn't a good idea to arrest the battering spouse or boyfriend on the first offense, as the law now requires."

"I know there's probably some very minor cases of domestic violence," he added, "but if there's a mandatory arrest on every occasion, I question that."

Just to clarify his position, Daly continued:

"Did anybody ever think that he or she might have had it coming?"

Joe Lieberman chickenhawk massive ego

Oh, Joe Lieberman. Just eight short years ago you were the Democratic vice presidential nominee, and now look at you. A sniveling, turncoat, wannabe-GOPer with your nose planted between John McCain's buttcheeks. Such a shame.

Last week Barack Obama gave his first general election speech after being declared the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama appeared (along with Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton) at AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. The speech was warmly received, but it only took Joe Lieberman about five minutes to take a dump on his former friend's parade.

Senator Joe Lieberman, serving aptly as John McCain's foreign policy attack dog, jumped on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday to rip holes into Barack Obama's stance on Israel.

Playing off of Obama's address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the Connecticut independent acknowledged that he hadn't heard the speech -- and urged for a "civil and constructive" presidential campaign -- before taking Obama to task for not being consistently tough on Iran.

The next day, Lieberman sent out an email announcing a new group called "Citizens for McCain."

Citizens for McCain is an organization within the McCain campaign for people who put country before political party and support the candidate for President who has a proven record of bipartisanship.

As you know, I caucus with the Democrats as a United States Senator and was the Democrat Party's nominee for Vice-President of the United States against President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Er, "Democrat Party?" Excuse me Joe, I think you might have spent a bit too much time hanging around with your buddies at Fox News.

The Bush Administration just plain evil

Let's face it, only the culture of utter incompetence and extreme indifference propagated by the Bush administration could deliver something like this...

Army Sgt. Jonathan Strickland sits in his room at noon with the blinds drawn, seeking the sleep that has eluded him since he was knocked out by the blast of a Baghdad car bomb.

Like many of the wounded soldiers living in the newly built "warrior transition" barracks here, the soft-spoken 25-year-old suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. But even as Strickland and his comrades struggle with nightmares, anxiety and flashbacks from their wartime experiences, the sounds of gunfire have followed them here, just outside their windows.

Across the street from their assigned housing, about 200 yards away, are some of the Army infantry's main firing ranges, and day and night, several days each week, barrages from rifles and machine guns echo around Strickland's building. The noise makes the wounded cringe, startle in their formations, and stay awake and on edge, according to several soldiers interviewed at the barracks last month. The gunfire recently sent one soldier to the emergency room with an anxiety attack, they said.

"You hear a lot of shots, it puts you in a defensive mode," said Strickland, who spent a year with an infantry platoon in Baghdad and has since received a diagnosis of PTSD from the military. He now takes medicine for anxiety and insomnia. "My heart starts racing and I get all excited and irritable," he said, adding that the adrenaline surge "puts me back in that mind frame that I am actually there."

I'd better be careful though. I didn't serve in the military, so according to John McCain I'm not allowed to say that making traumatized troops live next door to a firing range is the dumbest idea I've ever head in my life.

Daniel Pipes fearmongering

For the longest time, Republicans had a winning electoral strategy: simply tell everyone that a vote for the Democrats means that the terrorists will attack America. Unfortunately that strategy doesn't seem to be working any more. Despite the Republicans' best efforts, the voting public steadfastly refused to crap their pants in 2006 and booted the GOP out of the House and Senate.

So what's next? They've got no ideas, they have a terrible record of failure, and their last best electoral strategy is a dud. Where do Republicans go from here?

Neo-con Daniel Pipes might have the answer. While discussing the possibility of an attack on Iran during an interview with National Review Online last week, he said:

What I suspect will be the case is, should the Democratic nominee win in November, President Bush will do something. And should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he'll punt, and let McCain decide what to do.

Or in other words, if you vote for Barack Obama this fall, hair-trigger George will lose his shit and start World War III.

I'm not sure if that's exactly a winning message for the McSame campaign, but it might be all they have left.

Porter Berry loser

And finally, Bill O'Reilly has been called many things - nutjob, dickwad, pervert - but "journalist" is not usually one of them. Rather than get his own hands dirty, Bill prefers to send his hapless producer Porter Berry to ambush unsuspecting public figures in the middle of the street. The initial surprise of such an encounter is usually enough to throw the interviewee off their game, leaving them confused and blustering, and once the tape gets back to Fox HQ, it's edited for maximum embarrasment. It's a little bit like what the Daily Show does, the main difference being that Comedy Central isn't pretending to be a legitimate media outlet.

But last week Porter Berry made the mistake of trying his hit-and-run tactics on a real journalist - Bill Moyers. The result, which you can see in this unedited video footage, is both hilarious and revealing. And not only does Moyers take a piece out of Berry - in the most sedate, polite way possible - but the folks taping the encounter then followed Berry all the way to the exit, pestering him about what it was like to be publicly humiliated. Oh the irony.

Honestly, I wouldn't want to be in Berry's shoes once O'Reilly gets wind of this. He'll probably have Berry scraping the falafel off his shower walls for the next month.

See you next week!

-- EarlG
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