John Leo

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 November 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.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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