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Open Mouth, Insert Foot

November 28, 2004

It’s time for the 2004 awards for over-the-top rhetoric.

Cameron Diaz said that if you think rape should be legal, you should not vote on Nov. 2.

Alan Keyes, Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, said Catholics who voted for his opponent, Barack Obama, would be committing a mortal sin.

Comedian John Leguizamo said that Hispanics who pulled the lever for Bush would be like roaches voting for Raid.

According to Sen. John Edwards, “I’d say if you live in the United States of America and you vote for George Bush, you’ve lost your mind.”

So, according to these four sages, on Election Day 44 percent of Hispanics revealed themselves as roaches who favor Raid, 1.3 million Illinois Catholics committed a mortal sin, 80 million nonvoters may have endorsed rape and 60 million Americans lost their minds.

In the narrow category of people who used the “H” word (Hitler) and were not referring to George Bush, the winner is Roseanne, who said the person who reminds her of Hitler is TV’s Dr. Phil. In the even smaller category of Hollywood people who used the “F” word but weren’t talking about the president, the winner is Tim Robbins for “F— compassionate conservatives!” In the animal-waste category, honors go to actor Billy Bob Thornton, who said that all of Shakespeare’s work is bulls—. Previous winner: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who said in Iowa that large-scale hog farms are a bigger threat to America than Osama bin Laden and his terrorists.

In the sour-grapes department, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann said “Fox News is hated because they’re elitist and the worst winners television’s ever seen.” Also referring to Fox News, he said “Shallow, phony patriotism will always draw a crowd, like dogs humping in the street.” Bill Moyers, who said in 2003 that the Republicans were planning the “deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America,” said this year that the Republicans would end democracy in America by staging a coup if Kerry won, because “the right wing is not going to accept it.” Perhaps inspired by Moyers, Village Voice theater critic Michael Feingold said Republicans “should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.”

Some people blamed Bush for personal setbacks or natural disasters. Palm Beach Post ombudsman C.B. Hanif thought Bush produced Florida’s hurricanes by irritating God. Sharon Stone blamed Bush for preventing her from planting a lesbian kiss on Halle Berry in the movie “Catwoman.”

Others thought Karl Rove was the primary villain. Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite said he is inclined to think that Rove “probably set up bin Laden” to deliver his latest tape. Maybe he set up Florida’s hurricanes, too.

In the category of saying nice things about terrorists, Michael Moore wins for comparing the insurgents in Iraq to the American Minutemen (one difference being that the Minutemen did not rape women or hack their arms, legs and heads off). Julian Bond, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said at his group’s 2003 convention that Republicans’ “idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side.” Bond liked it so much that he repeated it in 2004. Elsewhere, a St. Louis conservative sold anti-Hillary “Osama bin Rodham” T-shirts and mugs featuring a composite picture of Senator Clinton and bin Laden.

Janeane Garofalo said after Bush’s re-election that she wants the “Archie Bunkers in the cracker belt to feel pain.” Citing a quote from Thomas Jefferson, Hollywood political analyst Barbra Streisand called the Bush era a “reign of witches.” Playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) wrote a one-act anti-Bush play for the campaign featuring Laura Bush reading the works of Dostoyevsky to a group of Iraqi children, all of them dead.

Eve Ensler, genitally oriented author of “The Vagina Monologues,” said at a feminist concert and rally for Kerry in New York that women should “Step into your vaginas” on Nov. 2, an unusual approach to voting and one that sounds just plain uncomfortable.

At another New York rally, John Mellencamp called Bush “a cheap thug,” and Whoopi Goldberg offered some obscene reflections on Bush’s name. John Kerry said that the entertainers who spoke at the rally reflected the “heart and soul of our country.”

Natalie Maines, apparently surprised that many Dixie Chicks fans hated her famous anti-Bush comments of 2003, said, “I realize that I’m just supposed to sing and look cute so our fans won’t have anything to upset them while they’re cheating on their wives or driving around in their pickup trucks shooting small animals.” Then she complained that the political climate is “so the opposite of me as a person and what I believe in.” It’s just about opposite my personhood too, Natalie.

CORRECTION: One of the two Natalie Maines quotes cited in this column was bogus. She never said she was “just supposed to sing and look cute” and didn’t accuse her detractors of “cheating on their wives or driving around in their pick-up trucks shooting small animals.” The quote came from an Internet hoax or satire that I should have caught but didn’t. My apologies to Ms. Maines and to readers.

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