Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN
If you turn to Page 1,473 in your "Ridiculous Republican Attacks Handbook," you'll see that it encourages ridiculous attacks on progressives and progressive policies by tying them to ACORN, no matter how preposterous the supposed connection is. Fox Business correspondent Charles Gasparino clearly was reading from this page last night in an appearance on Fox News' Hannity.
While discussing legislation to establish financial regulatory reform, Gasparino said:
GASPARINO: Think about ACORN. ACORN is going to be able to lobby a real specific -- an energy -- just not lobby the government. They're gonna look at the people that are on that Consumer Credit Board, and they're gonna make the small banks give loans to people that just can't afford homes.
Host Sean Hannity replied: "But this is what got us into this mess -- the idea that through this socialist mind-set utopia that every American can own a house whether they can afford it or not."
Wow. Leaving aside how Hannity is repeating the myth that affordable housing initiatives were to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, Gasparino's remarks strain credulity in a couple of ways. First, it follows the common conservative practice of blaming ACORN for just about everything, even stuff to which it has no connection. As Media Matters documented extensively in a 2009 report, conservatives have repeatedly turned to using ACORN as a bogeyman in place of substantive analysis, even when the group has little or nothing to do with the issue. For example: Conservatives repeated the discredited claim that ACORN contributed to the housing crisis by "bullying" banks into irresponsible lending to minorities; they falsely claimed that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would provide funding for ACORN; and they opposed the nomination of David Hamilton to a circuit court judgeship based on his ties to ACORN. Similarly, The Washington Times falsely asserted in February that ACORN was "slated to receive nearly $4 billion" from President Obama's 2011 budget.
In each of those cases, conservatives fabricated or greatly overstated ACORN's involvement (Hamilton's "ties" to the group were that he worked for it as a fundraiser for a month in 1979). That's the case here too. The financial regulatory reform bill, of course, makes no mention of ACORN, and you'd be hard-pressed to even think of a way in which the bill would involve ACORN, but Gasparino is attacking the bill by trying to link it to ACORN.
What makes Gasparino's comments even more ludicrous is that the ACORN "dissolved as a national structure" in February.
Shouldn't Gasparino update his talking points to reflect developments like this?