This Week’s BOW Award

March 29, 2008

Another Saturday, another BOW Award.  We had a veritable battle of the titans for this week’s award, national figures who seemed to go out of their way to prove that Buffoon Of the Week is not a title for pikers.  For those of you who haven’t read about the BOW Award before, it’s something I’ve started giving out weekly to the politician or pundit who says or does the stupidest thing.  Very simple really.  And given the number of people vying for the honor, it seems that politicos of every stripe want to be recognized for their idiocy.

So without further ado….

This week’s third place finisher is Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY).  Senator Clinton, in touting her foreign policy experience, claimed that in 1996, during a visit to war-torn Bosnia, her plane had been forced to take evasive action on approach to the Tuzla airport, and that she had de-planed under sniper fire.  News reports from 1996 soon resurfaced, and they painted a somewhat different picture.  The then First Lady is shown in these video clips stepping off the plane calmly, waving to supporters and taking part in a pleasant welcoming ceremony.  Some have claimed that Senator Clinton purposefully exaggerated the events to enhance her foreign policy resume.  The candidate herself claims that she simply misremembered.  Either way, it’s the type of claim you might want to double-check before actually making, particularly in this highly charged political atmosphere.  Pretty stupid.  But not stupid enough to win this week’s award.

Second place goes to the Republican Party’s presumptive Presidential Nominee, Senator John McCain(R-AZ), who claimed this week that it would be “an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal.”  I’m sorry, I thought the “stain on our character as a great nation” resulted from our going to war in the first place.  I thought the “unconscionable act of betrayal” came when the Bush Administration lied to the American people in order to justify the initial invasion of Iraq.  But here’s the most salient point.  Yes, there may be legitimate differences of opinion on how to handle the current situation in Iraq.  But as soon as a candidate begins to throw around words like “betrayal” and “stain on national character” the debate becomes something else.  McCain, with this absurd statement, is challenging the patriotism of every American who disagrees with his approach to the war.  I want to see American troops leave Iraq as soon as possible.  Does that mean I’m guilty of some sort of betrayal?  Does that mean that I am less of a patriot than John McCain or George Bush?  Of course it doesn’t.  Let me ask this a different way:  Isn’t it a betrayal of our men and women in uniform to keep them in the middle of a civil conflict that McCain himself has admitted may take 100 years to resolve? I think it is, and so do well more than half of American voters.  So not only are his statements deeply offensive, they were also pretty darn stupid from a political standpoint.  And yet, they weren’t stupid enough.

So who is our winner?  Who said something so stupid that it made Clinton and McCain look clever by comparison?

Today’s winner of the BOW Award is none other than Vice President Dick Cheney, who has said so many stupid things over the past several years that I wish I’d started giving out the BOW Award in 2003.  Speaking on national television this week, the Vice President was asked about the death of the four thousandth U.S. soldier to die in the Iraq War.  Mister Cheney marked this tragic milestone by paying some lip service to the sacrifices made by the familes of American soldiers.  But then he went on to say the following:  

The president carries the biggest burden, obviously.  He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.

This is so wrong on so many different levels that I’m really not sure where to begin.  The biggest burden falls on the President?!  He carries a bigger burden than the widow who has to raise her kids on her own because her husband died in this immoral and illegal war?  He bears a greater burden than the kid who will never know his mother because she was killed by an IED?  He bears a greater burden than the parents who have lost their child in this madness?  How insensitive, how out of touch, how utterly callous can this man be?  Is it possible that he really believes this crap, or is he just so cynical that he would seek to defend his Administration even in the face of such tragedy?  I first conceived of the BOW Award as something humorous, a light-hearted way to poke fun at our politicians and journalists.  But this isn’t funny.  This is infuriating; it’s intolerable; it’s shameful.

So, Dick Cheney take a BOW  You’ve earned it.  And then, please, crawl back under your rock.


5 Responses to “This Week’s BOW Award”

  1. Brian said

    here here, I cant wait for the actual presidential election. The state I live in has voted its primary already, Im getting impatient.

  2. *groaning at it all*

    But I will say this about McCain, to bring this back to the lighthearted. The stain made by early withdrawal seems a truly unfortunate choice of words. Reminiscent of a certain dress kept by Monica Lewinsky . . .


  3. Suzane in VT said

    Though he died early in the Afghan conflict, an eighteen year old young man’s death (an only child) here has now caused his parent’s to divorce after his mother’s continued failure to comprehend that he’ll never be coming home again. Then add to that his father’s resulting attemp at suicide. Now, the first home they’d dreamed of and worked hard to buy (and bought shortly after their son’s death) is up for sale.

    Then the ripple effect begins to take effect.

    That property is one on which I spent much of my summer holiday weekends growing up (and continued to until just a few years ago) as it used to belong to my great-uncle and great-aunt. We stayed at the camp on the property not far from their house. And since I now live close by and have to drive past the place twice a day for work, it’s no longer a happy place for me.

    *shakes head* How clueless can King George I and his court be?

  4. davidbcoe said

    Thanks for the comment, Brian! I wish it was over already, too.

    Di, I’m not sure whether to thank you or not. 🙂 During the last days of the Vietnam War, George Carlin did this great routine on the debate over “pulling out” of the war, and how this didn’t sound “manly” enough for most hawks. “I say let’s keep it in there and get the job done!”

    And Suzane, that’s a terribly sad story, and as you say, it’s just further proof of how insensitive these people are.

  5. Alan said

    Hey, we shook off Bush’s little sheriff, John Howard, and already we have a country we can be proud of again. When the election comes around, you guys can do the same thing. (I’m an Australian, by the way, for all those wondering, “Who the hell is John Howard?”)


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