These days, ACORN is what Commies were to Joe McCarthy and that bunch back in the dark old '50s: a useful tool for painting one's opponents as un-American. No matter how disheveled, no matter how scoundrel-like, McCarthy-ites (and "Tail Gunner Joe" himself) could always call someone a pinko, a Communist stooge, a fellow traveler. Hell, the founder of the John Birch Society once even went so far as to refer to President Dwight D. Eisenhower as "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist Conspiracy."
There are no longer many actual Communists around -- Glenn Beck's ignoramus labeling of President Barack Obama as a "Marxist," aside. True, the Communist Party controls China, but Chinese "Communists" practice their own form of capitalism, so they ain't the Commie menace of yore. The Communist Party U.S.A. is a ghost of its former self. So how to muddy your opponent with McCarthy-style tactics, sans an actual Communist Conspiracy?
That's where ACORN comes in. After all, they help poor people, and that's Commie-like, even if they're helping poor folk own and keep their homes and whatnot, which seems more akin to the rights of property owners, and which in turn is very un-Commie. They help register poor people to vote -- an act more in line with Jeffersonian democracy than the dictatorship of the proletariat. But, hey, them ACORN cats do wear red shirts. So they must be Reds, right?
Enter minuteman Chris Simcox, a guy who hardly has a sterling rep, even with his fellow minutemen, and he sends out an e-mail to those on his listserv titled "McCain tied to ACORN - Enough is enough!" The e-mail links to a video of McCain speaking before a 2006 rally sponsored, in part, by ACORN in Florida.
Simcox is a dark horse challenger to McCain in the 2010 GOP primary for the U.S. Senate, so he apparently figures that reminding wing-nuts of this video -- one already hashed and rehashed during the 2008 campaign -- will do for him what Alger Hiss did for Richard Nixon's career once upon a time.
"As you know by now, I am Chris Simcox and I am running for the United States Senate as a True Conservative Republican in Arizona," Simcox informs his fellow conservatards in the message."But first and foremost I am an American and a Patriot, who is fighting to keep Socialism from creeping into Our Country and destroying Our Constitution and Bill of Rights. That is more than I can say about our current Senator, John McCain, who is standing right next to Obama and helping to do just that, dismantle America and our way of life."
Not that I'm coming to McCain's defense. McCain used Obama's connection to ACORN against B-rock, only to be hoisted on his own petard when that ACORN video was exposed. What's funny about Simcox's posturing here is that he's not much thought of even by those who consider Obama akin to Stalin or Hitler (take your pick -- some Republitwits think they're the same dood).
Repeating Simcox's tawdry resume is enough to turn your stomach. In 2007, while he was still head of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, he excommunicated several high-profile members of his own organization because they were asking for a full accounting of MCDC's finances. (Heaven forbid.) Fountain Hills resident Jim Campbell sued Simcox that same year, seeking the return of $100K he'd donated for the purpose of constructing an "Israeli-style fence" on private land near the Arizona-Mexico border. Campbell later dropped the suit, apparently without getting his dolo back.
Back in 2004, Simcox was found guilty on a federal weapons charge and was sentenced to 24 months supervised probation. And in a creepy 2005 expose, reporters for the Southern Poverty Law Center interviewed Simcox's first wife and others who the SPLC says corroborated her accusation that Simcox attempted to molest their 14-year-old daughter.
"He tried to molest our daughter when he was intoxicated," Deborah Crews told the SPLC's Intelligence Report magazine. "When she ran out, he tried to say he was just giving her a leg massage and she got the wrong idea."
Feel like taking a bath, yet? But there's more. Simcox's second wife claimed in court that Simcox was mentally unstable.
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"He once took a knife from the kitchen and threatened to kill himself," Kim Dunbar stated in court docs quoted by the SPLC. "When he was angry, he broke furniture, car windows, he banged his head against the wall repeatedly and punched things."
Finally, though Simcox stepped down from MCDC this year to run for U.S. Senate, the woman he left in command, Carmen Mercer, was recently named as the defendant in a lawsuit brought by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard looking into allegations of a property tax scam.
And this is the guy trying to use neo-McCarthyist tactics against fellow Republican John McCain? Jesus, just look at the picture above. Simcox looks like he's panhandling for grub money off the side of the freeway. But he won't have to if Ron Paul fundraiser extraordinaire Trevor Lyman works his magic with "The Little Prince," as he's attempting to do now. Not that Lyman got Paul nominated to squat in 2008, but he did raise a boatload of ducats for the wacky Congresskook from Texas. And maybe that'll be the sole goal here, as Simcox's candidacy has all the hope and promise of a hypothetical Sarah Palin Presidency.
Does Simcox's swinish neo-McCarthyism land a glove on McCain? Not really. But the attempt does point out how even the lowest political bottomfeeders think they can exploit ACORN's current role as America's new red menace, as undeserved as that characterization may be.