Fish. Barrel. Boom.
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 11 March 2004
"I'm a firm believer in feeding people their own words back to them, when it's appropriate."
– Trent Lott
As we hurtle headlong into the silly season, a high colonic for the mind is in order. There is going to be a lot of back-and-forth between the
candidates regarding who said what and when. Feast, in that context, upon this small collection:
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
- George W. Bush, discussing Kosovo, Houston Chronicle, 04-09-99
"I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation,
and I will not trust the Bush administration again."
- Bill O'Reilly, on ABC's Good Morning America, 03-18-03
"I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what
these people stood for."
- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95
"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual gay sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right
to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. All of those things are antithetical to a
healthy, stable, traditional family and that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, the right to
privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."
- Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Associated Press, 04-22-03
"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if
I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation.
It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor."
- Pat Robertson, speaking of organizers putting rainbow flags up around Orlando to support sexual diversity, Washington Post, 06-10-98. For the
record, Orlando remains undestroyed by meteors.
"Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They
are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."
- Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska Public Radio, 08-19-96
"When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he's being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are
out of whack, folks."
- Rush (currently under investigation for drug use) Limbaugh, on the death of Jerry Garcia, 08-20-95.
"I don't understand how poor people think."
- George W. Bush, confiding in the Rev. Jim Wallis, New York Times, 08-26-03
"Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him."
- Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton, as reported by journalist Steve Miner of KSUB radio who overheard his conversation,
"We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."
- Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95
"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."
- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02
"Homosexuals want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face
- Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-18-95
"And there is, I am certain, among the Iraqi people a respect for the care and the precision that went into the bombing campaign."
- Donald Rumsfeld, defenselink.mil, 04-09-03
"Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist."
- Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Majority Whip, during a debate on increasing the minimum wage, Congressional Record, H3706, 04-23-96
"Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great
despotisms of the past - I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble - recognized that the
families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an 'enemy of the
people.' The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, 'clan liability.' In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished
'to the ninth degree': that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the
great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed."
- John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01
"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the
head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."
- Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-08-92
- Jeb Bush, during his losing 1994 bid for Florida Governor, when asked what he would do for black people, quoted by Salon on 10-05-02
"The homosexual blitzkrieg has been better planned and executed than Hitler's."
- Rep. William Dannemeyer (R-CA), The New Republic, 08-01-94
"When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved in Adolph
Hitler were Satanists. Many of them were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together."
- Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-21-93
"Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in
the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."
- Lt. General William G. Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, New York Times, 10-17-03
"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too.
Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."
- Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02
"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the
- Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, NPR Morning Edition, 05-25-01
"I don't agree that you need an enormous number of American troops. Saddam's army is down to one-third than it was before, and I think it
would be a cakewalk."
- Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board, to Wolf Blitzer on CNN, 12-06-01
"The fact of the matter is that this (increased American casualties) is a sign of the success of our operation, not its failure."
- Ralph Reed, GOP strategist, on MSNBC's program 'Hardball,' 10-28-03
"There are some who feel that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on. We have the force
necessary to deal with the situation."
- George W. Bush, Chicago Tribune, 07-03-03
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree
on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason."
- Paul Wolfowitz, quoted by Tim Russert on 'Meet The Press, NBC, 06-01-03
"Quit looking at the symbols. Get out and get a job. Quit shooting each other. Quit having illegitimate babies."
- State Rep. John Graham Altman (R-SC), addressing African-American concerns about the 'symbol' of the Confederate Flag, New York Times,
"Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption
and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God's Law and the disenfranchisement of
- State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01
"NOW is saying that in order to be a woman, you've got to be a lesbian."
- Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 12-03-97
"My biggest fear is going to be going to the funeral of some young Iowa man or woman who dies in this conflict and having their mother or father
come up to me and ask whether or not their son or daughter died for America, or died to save Bill Clinton's presidency. I don't know what I would
say to those grieving parents. For that reason I believe the President must resign immediately."
- Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA), Congressional Record, H11963, 12-18-98
"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful
mind on something like that?"
- Barbara Bush, said on 'Good Morning America' the day before the Iraq war started, New York Times, 01-13-03
"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the
President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
- George W. Bush, Washington Post, 11-19-02
These quotes, and about a thousand others equally as preposterous, can be found in a new book by Bruce Miller and Diana Maio titled 'Take Them
At Their Words.' The next time our valiant conservative leadership bemoans the "corruption and fall of the nation," remember that, by and large,
these bemoaners are the clowns who have been running the circus for the last several years.
A few are also up for re-election in 2004. Bear that in mind.
William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for truthout. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books -
'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'