ALFThere’s no need to even get into the junior-league, internetty wingnuts this week, when we have astonishing ninsense from Republican leaders themselves. So we’ll ignore the gooberfascists, just briefly pause to note that Dan Riehl is swine, and merely glance at the fascinating ethical standards of our redoubtable Corps of Citizen Journalists, and concentrate on the rot at the top.

We open with The Chief Executive of Our Republic representing the American people on the world stage, and making himself look like a clown — again.

Breaking news out of the White House yesterday: the press office gives President Bush phonetic pronunciations for those tough-to-pronounce countries like Kyrgyzstan. The proof came when a copy of Bush’s UN speech (complete with pronunciation key) found its way onto the UN website. Exercising its influence over the United Nations, the White House quickly had it removed. Dana Perino dismissed questions yesterday in the Press Room about the incident as “offensive.”

Gotta love that last bit about the questions being “offensive”: to this bunch all questions are by definition offensive. But we have seen this movie before, right down to the low comedy of Bush’s notorious inability to bring himself to care about the real world as opposed to the imaginary one in his head where he’s The Exalted Beloved Glorious Emperor, Christ Quincy Ponypants Teh First: As Moira Whelan points out, the punchline of the whole affair is that “Bush STILL mispronounced Kyrgyzstan in the speech.” (And for anyone inclined to give him a break on “Kyrgyzstan,” remember that he also thinks Australia is located somewhere in the Alps. Or as he might put it, the ALFs.)

And then we have the semi-professional traveling comedy troupe of GOP primary contenders. It’s not so much that they constantly pander. It’s that they constantly pander so frickin’ creepily, like a bunch of drunk, decrepit stockbrokers hitting on sorority girls at an Applebee’s happy hour.

Saint McCain of the Straight-Talk seems to be making up new Christian denominations to belong to every fifteen minutes or so; at the moment I believe he’s a fervent Baptipiscopalian. The central tenet of this faith is a Divine Prophecy stating that the next President of the United States will be an ancient authoritarian lunatic from Arizona who nobody likes except Tim Russert. The joke is that the stuff he’s spouting, about the Constitution being a Christian document and so forth, isn’t even crazy enough for the maniacal religious right to take him seriously while making him look even more like a total weasel to moderates (or would, if moderate Republicans still existed). Brilliant strategy, Napoleon.

But even he’s nothing next to Saint Rudy of the Towers, who recently revealed that he took that infamous phone call from his wife because.. well, because of 9/11. What else could it have been?

”And quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other,” he said.

”Sometimes if I’m in the middle of a very, very sensitive meeting, I don’t take the call right then; I wait. But I thought it would be kind of nice if I took it at that point, and I’d done that before in engagements, and I didn’t realize it would create any kind of controversy,” he said.

Oh, puke.

This would be touching, except that Giuliani answered the call at that NRA event where he was already using 9/11 to pander on guns, and was also by his own admission taking the call to look “nice” and presumably cuddly before a bunch of guys interested mostly in firearms, and that’s just weird. This might have won him points on Oprah: wrong crowd, guy. And even besides that, as Steve Benen was impious enough to point out, “it’s interesting that Giuliani makes this reaffirmation with his third wife before air travel “since Sept. 11,” given that on Sept. 11, Giuliani was married to someone else.”

Of course, Saint Rudy has an answer to Steve and all his critics: 9/11! Squawk! 9/11! And if that ain’t enough to make you ashamed of yourself, Rudy helpfully reminds you that you’re not Jesus, you hoser:

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani compared the scrutiny of his personal life marked by three marriages to the biblical story of how Jesus dealt with an adulterous woman….

”I’m guided very, very often about, `Don’t judge others, lest you be judged,”’ Giuliani told CBN interviewer David Brody. ”I’m guided a lot by the story of the woman that was going to be stoned, and Jesus put the stones down and said, ‘He that hasn’t sinned, cast the first stone,’ and everybody disappeared.

”It seems like nowadays in America, we have people that think they could’ve passed that test,” he said. ”And I don’t think anybody could’ve passed that test but Jesus.”

Indeed. Jesus would never have thrown stones at sinners. He would have thrown them at ferrets. See, Rudy is all about the non-judgmental compassion… it’s his calling card, you know…

What’s amazing is just how transparent these Bushes and McCains and Giulianis are: it’s not even good endless, mindless, theocratic wannabe tough-guy posturing. Feh.