Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 19, 2009

WHEN THE ACORN OBSESSION GETS SILLY.... District Court Judge David Hamilton of Indiana, President Obama's first nominee for the appeals court bench, is likely to be confirmed. But in the drive to score some cheap points off the nomination, the right has come up a new talking point: Judge Hamilton is "tied" to ACORN. As conservative talking points go, this one's hilarious.

It apparently started with a National Review item from Wendy Long, who wrote on Tuesday, "Hamilton was a fundraiser for ACORN (nice ACORN payback, Mr. President)."

And from there, the race was on to see who could be the most ridiculous.

Hamilton's purported ties to ACORN immediately worked its way into right-wing commentary on the nomination, being highlighted by NewsBusters, Powerline, Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, and the Family Research Council ... twice, which complained that ACORN was getting it very own judge.

The idea that President Obama's nomination of Hamilton was "payback" to ACORN quickly became the right-wing talking point of the day, with people claiming that he was "a big shot at ACORN" and leading to posts like this one written by Matthew Vadum at "The American Spectator" entitled "ACORN's Federal Judge":

"Giving the term judicial activism new meaning, President Obama has nominated an ACORN loyalist to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Chicago Tribune reports ... The Judicial Confirmation Network notes that Hamilton previously worked as a fundraiser for ACORN, the radical direct-action group that not only resurrects the dead and gets them to the polls every election but also shakes down banks and pressures them to make home loans to people who can't afford to pay them back."

Ready for the punch-line? Judge Hamilton was a canvasser for ACORN -- in 1979. He spent a grand total of one month helping the group raise money the same year he graduated from college. He was 22 at the time.

National Review's item was wildly misleading and ignored the key detail that makes this a non-story. But NewsBusters, Powerline, the Committee for Justice, the Family Research Council and the American Spectator took National Review's word for it, and ended up looking rather foolish.

Again.

Steve Benen 9:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Comments

Looking foolish again, yes--but has anyone retracted, amended, or revised? I am so tired of this same old crap. Lather, rinse, repeat over and over until, "Well, everyone knows that blah blah blah blah blah." Meh. I need more coffee.

Posted by: Winslow on March 19, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Your taking the wrong point from him being a canvasser in 1979. Obviously, this just shows how deep the Manchurian story goes this president. The conspiracy has been in play for that long.....or longer!!!

The good news the right wing nuttery is preoccupied with crap that know one else cares about.

Posted by: Jeff In Ohio on March 19, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

"the radical direct-action group that not only resurrects the dead and gets them to the polls every election."

Will someone please tell these imbeciles the definition of voter fraud? ACORN employees who falsify a registration or guilty of voter REGISTRATION fraud, and ACORN does a pretty good job of policing it. I challenge anyone from the right to show an example of someone attempting to illegally vote using a falsified ACORN registration.

Posted by: John on March 19, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Judge Hamilton was a canvasser for ACORN -- in 1979.

In 1979? The same year the Iranian students stormed our embassy and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan? Coincidence? I think not....

Posted by: Stefan on March 19, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

And the race is on...

1) A reich-wing web site makes up a story...
2) Reich-wing 'news' repeats the story...
3) Drudge posts links (coming)...
4) The Corporate Media picks up the story (coming)...
5) It becomes a topic of discussion for the Cable Corporate Media talking heads (coming)...

It is insignificant that there is not a real story here. My prediction is that it will be a 'story' on the corporate media within ?3? days.

Posted by: SadOldVet on March 19, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't EVERYONE a canvasser for ACORN at some time? A quick job with extremely high turnover, working for ACORN seems to be one of many jobs college students have, including flipping hamburgers. I suppose if someone worked for McDonald's one summer in their youth they are now deeply linked to the beef industry, corporate food conglomerates and the deforestation of the Amazon.

Posted by: Carol on March 19, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

This just shows how completely bankrupt the Republicans and conservatives are these days. They've got nothing to offer the country, so just make stuff up about the evil Dems and wait for the MSM to run with it.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 19, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I guess that makes my wife a lobbyist for the McDonald's corporation, because she used to flip burgers when she was in high school. I guess that also makes me a shill for the newspaper industry, because I was once a paperboy.

Posted by: jonp72 on March 19, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I guess that also makes me a shill for the newspaper industry, because I was once a paperboy.

Another member of the pro-Obama liberal media conspiracy.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 19, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone should know by now that when a group such as ACORN impedes the "Rushpublican version" of voter registration, it qualifies as the "Rushpublican version" of voter fraud. I'm surprised that more people haven't figured that out by now.

As for all the willie-nillie blathering about ACORN, I wonder---what would happen if we-all started talking about ACORN's metamorphosis into the ultimate voter-registration machine: GREAT BIG OAK TREE?

You may now insert the "Rush Limbaugh explodes like Mr. Creosote" soundtrack of your choice....

Posted by: Steve W. on March 19, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Not only looking, but, sounding rather foolish. Once saw R. Emmitt Tyrell of American Spectator on C-Span attending a meeting of intelligentsia in Canada. Sounded like "Ernest meets with the faculty at MIT"? Could just picture him saying, "Does an ACORN fall far from the tree?"

Posted by: berttheclock on March 19, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

I am deeply ashamed to admit that I have been a sleeper agent for Big Oil for forty-five years: I got a work permit and pumped gas for Union Oil when I was sixteen.
Um, drill, baby, drill.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on March 19, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well this will help feed the freeper fear and hate fest over ACORN. People over at that site are literally threatening to kill any ACORN canvassers coming to their door to collect census information.

Posted by: dk on March 19, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Raivo Pommer
raimo1@hot.ee

US-Notenbank

Zur Stützung des amerikanischen Finanz- und Immobiliensektors will die US-Notenbank zusätzlich eine Billion US- Dollar (770 Mrd Euro) in die Märkte pumpen.

Wie die Federal Reserve am Mittwoch in Washington ankündigte, will sie bis zu 750 Milliarden Dollar (577 Mrd Euro) an hypothekenbesicherten Wertpapieren erwerben. Außerdem sollen bis zu 300 Milliarden Dollar an langfristigen Staatsanleihen gekauft werden, um die Zinsen auf verschiedenen Märkten zu drücken. Dadurch sollen Kreditklemme und Immobilienkrise überwunden werden. Zugleich beließ die Fed den US-Leitzins auf seinem historischen Tiefstand von knapp über null Prozent, der Mitte Dezember festgelegt worden war.

"Die Federal Reserve wird unter den gegebenen Umständen alle verfügbaren Mittel einsetzen, um die wirtschaftliche Erholung voranzutreiben und Preisstabilität zu gewährleisten", hieß es in der Mitteilung der Notenbank nach der Sitzung des Offenmarktausschusses.

Posted by: raivo pommer on March 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

One month as a door-to-door canvasser? Either he wasn't good at it or got a better gig.

Either scenario suggests he wouldn't have significant loyalty to ACORN and might be hostile.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 19, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

ravio, Ruhig - Mit eine umlaut, to boot.

Any posters out there from Tierra del Fuego?

Posted by: berttheclock on March 19, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Mr Nyberg (@ 10:13AM), I believe that is logic that you are using.
Logic has as much impact on the Right Wing Republiscum as a flower thrown at an A-1 Abrams tank.
These dangerous fools regularly conduct their media circle-jerks, feeding political porn to their perverted readers. This is just the latest money-shot.
And they are pissed off that they can't have a cigarette in the office afterwards because of those damned liberals.

Posted by: BuzzMon on March 19, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I don't agree with the implied theory that these outlets are just careless in jumping at bogus muck. Instead, IMHO they take a calculated risk to get the damage out there, and hope that their dopey anti-intellectual base won't care about facts or logic. The rest of us, the rational people, those who care about news standards, etc? The Wurlitzerites just don't care that we despise them.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on March 19, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

These people fear something, but what is it?

Posted by: Gandalf on March 19, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Raivo, pls. be kind enough to put an translation here. Sure we can do it with little trouble, but this is a mostly English-speaking community and most readers will ignore even what seems to be interesting material, if in German.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on March 19, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

SadOldVet - I think you got the timeline right. When I go to the Gym tonight and there on the TEE VEE screen will be Glenn Beck crying about how the radical group Acorn is about to destroy democracy as we know it ...head for the bunkers

Posted by: John R on March 19, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

They aren't being silly, they're deliberately misleading, lying, and smearing for the purposes of propaganda. And the result doesn't make them look foolish, it makes them look like the asshole propagandists they are. The only thing surprising here is that an actual, if trivial, fact engendered the bullshit. Usually they don't even bother.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on March 19, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Neil, my German isn't the world's best, but I believe his post translates to something along these lines: "Dear Federal Reserve Board of the U.S.: Beloved in Christ, I am a German businessman who has been forced to flee my country for political reasons, and I need to deposit $10 million in an off-shore bank account. Please send me your account number so that I can send you the money." Apparently he has excellent reason to believe that Americans will fall for it.

Posted by: T-Rex on March 19, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

The right-wing media obsession with ACORN is pretty crazy. This is a great illustration.


I do have one complaint about this blog post, though. I followed the link you provided to "right wing watch," (rightwingwatch.org), a blog of People for the American Way (PFAW), and most of your blog post seems to be taken from their blog post. Steve, you really should not be lifting chunks of other people's blog posts word for word without quoting (even if you do provide a link). That is not appropriate. This is a good story, so add your commentary, quote the other blog, and acknowledge them in the text. Just because you have a more visible blog doesn't mean you should just grab stuff from other bloggers without acknowledgement. (Unless you have an arrangement with PFAW to tell us about?)


Not to rain on the parade -- I just want to see smaller blogs get the credit they deserve.

Posted by: JR on March 19, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Raivo's post in German is essentially the dispatch of some press agency (like AP, Reuters or AFP). It describes yesterday's announcement of the Fed that it will use $1 trillion to buy up asset-backed securities and quotes from the Fed's press communique released on that occasion.

I don't think that post contributes much to a discussion in general and it definitely doesn't have anything to do with the Acorn topic. Quite possible that it is spam.

Posted by: SRW1 on March 19, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Wingnuts are proof that there is indeed a species of hairless biped on the planet which lacks both opposable thumbs and frontal lobes.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why we're conceding the false premise that ACORN is some sort of nefarious criminal organization similar to the KKK, the AIP, or the White Citizen's Council ( organizations that have enjoyed support from Republicans).

ACORN was one of the organizations that helped organize the gutting of flooded houses in post-Katrina New Orleans. They help mobilze voters and actualy did self-regulate (unlike our friends on Wall Street) when there were isolated incidents og malfeasance with regard to so-called voter registration fraud.

Posted by: WInknandanod on March 19, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

WInknandanod:
exactly. framing it as 'he was only 22 when he worked for Acorn' allows them to advance the ridiculous premise that there is something wrong with volunteering or working for Acorn.

way too defensive. you can't allow that shit.

Posted by: bh on March 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I followed the link you provided to "right wing watch," (rightwingwatch.org), a blog of People for the American Way (PFAW), and most of your blog post seems to be taken from their blog post.

Is the large blockquote in Steve's post not showing in your browser?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 19, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

A confession

Some years ago, when I was a cash-strapped student, I did on a total of three occassions have summer jobs with a local bank: Opening and licking envelopes, running errands, occasionally transporting smaller amounts of cash, etc.

I confess to being one of the miscreants responsible for the current banking crisis.

Posted by: SRW1 on March 19, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

winkandnod and bh, you are completely right. However, most of the people who read this blog already know it and many of the ones that read Drudge or the American Spectator or watch Fox will never believe it.

Being able to point out that in this case they are getting worked up about someone that worked for ACORN for one month almost 30 years ago is a quick, easy way to heap ridicule on these people without getting into long discussions about whether there is anything wrong with ACORN.

And who knows, in a few cases, once you get them to see how ridiculous this case is, it might (but usually won't) give you the opening to get them to listen to why the whole "ACORN is stealing elections" meme is such a piece of bullshit.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 19, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I was a little sloppy with pronouns in the last post:

"they" and "these people" in the 2nd should refer to the rightwing media, while "them" in the 3rd paragraph means the suckers who believe this garbage.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 19, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK
Some years ago, when I was a cash-strapped student, I did on a total of three occassions have summer jobs with a local bank: Opening and licking envelopes, running errands, occasionally transporting smaller amounts of cash, etc.

Oh.
Crap.

Having helped process several million dollars of promissory notes and deeds for a bank merger in the late 80's while working for a temp agency, it would appear I too bear great responsibility for the credit crisis.
I don't know nothin' about no Silverado Savings and Loan, though.

Posted by: kenga on March 19, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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