According to the new book by conservative author and journalist Bernard Goldberg, 100 people are to blame for the sad state of our country, and most are decidedly liberal.
In 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is No. 37), Goldberg insists that people like Eminem, Courtney Love and Maury Povich, who contribute to America's corrosive culture, and those like Barbra Streisand, Barbara Kingsolver and Bill Moyers, who are outspoken liberals, are our nation's greatest villains. His naive rantings take aim largely at the entertainment and infotainment industries, as if changing to a steady diet of ''Ozzie and Harriet'' would fix things. You know: bring our troops home, pay off our national debt and make prescription drugs affordable.
On the final page, Goldberg invites readers to come up with their own list.
So, here are the seven people (space won't allow for more) I think are screwing up America. I am leaving off all current elected officials and Supreme Court justices, because they would take up the whole list. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would be Nos. 1 and 2 (with Bush being 2), and that would be too predictable.
l No. 7: Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza.
In addition to having been a major contributor to anti-abortion groups in the late 1980s, Monaghan is intent on transforming parts of America into Catholics-only territory. His Ave Maria project already includes Ave Maria University, Ave Maria College and Ave Maria Law School, where orthodox Catholicism is incubated in young minds and future leaders. But he also has joined with a local Florida developer to build the town of Ave Maria in Collier County. About the future town, Monaghan said in a speech: ''We're going to control all the commercial real estate, so there's not going to be any pornography sold in this town. We're controlling the cable system. The pharmacies are not going to be able to sell condoms or dispense contraceptives.''
l No. 6: John Timoney, Miami police chief.
Wherever Timoney alights, free speech is crushed underfoot. In Miami, he orchestrated the aggressive police response to the peaceable demonstrators who gathered to protest at a trade summit in November 2003. Retired union members and young activists just trying to exercise their First Amendment rights were subject to arbitrary arrest and indiscriminate use of force by Timoney and his police troops, who were decked out in riot gear. He is a tyrant with a badge.
l No. 5: W.J. ''Billy'' Tauzin, former Louisiana congressman and current head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry's biggest trade group.
Tauzin represents the worst of Washington self-dealing. As the powerful chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he was a principal author of the legislation adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, which included a provision barring the federal government from negotiating any discounts on drug prices. This restriction will cost taxpayers untold billions, money that will now line the pockets of the companies that underwrite his current employer. Ethics, shmethics.
l No. 4: Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel.
Thanks to Ailes, the public now expects ''news'' to be delivered with an ideological slant. Fox News allows conservatives to filter out any discomforting facts about the world that don't match their political views. And we have Ailes to thank for the stardom of mad-dog Bill O'Reilly, whose idea of an intelligent comeback is to yell ''shut up'' at his guests.
l No. 3: James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based ministry, Focus on the Family.
Dobson is the country's most influential evangelical leader and has been dubbed a Republican kingmaker for the sway he holds over the party. He controls a Christian Right media empire, with a radio show that purports to have 7 million American listeners - a powerful podium from which to push a radical agenda. How fast can gays and lesbians go from civil unions to civil arrest? Just ask Dobbie.
l No. 2: Kenneth Lay, former CEO and chairman of the now-bankrupt Enron Corp. (He actually makes Goldberg's list as No. 45.)
I use Lay as a symbol for American business gone wrong. He is representative of corporate executives everywhere who would milk personal riches from a dying company - a company they helped kill - leaving employees and shareholders with the worthless dregs. Lay exemplifies the culture of greed that has infected too many American businesses.
l No. 1: Karl Rove, a White House deputy chief of staff and President Bush's top political adviser, also known as ''Bush's Brain.''
Rove took a guy who used family connections to avoid Vietnam, who was a fall-down drunk ne'er-do-well until the age of 40, who failed at business until Daddy's friends came to the rescue, who held so little curiosity about the world that he didn't bother to travel, and made him president - twice. Rove is by far the man who has done the most to screw up America. Goldberg put Michael Moore in the top spot. It's no contest.
© 2005 Tribune Media Services