Finally, at long last, we have an extreme right-wing personality making the rounds in the corporate media who tears down the facade of "legitimacy" and "respectability" the Far Right bestows upon its craziest enthusiasts. Orly Taitz, the Czarina of the "Birther" Movement, is not saying anything zanier than what we've grown accustomed to hearing from Michelle Malkin, Glen Beck, William Kristol, Alan Keyes, Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh.
The Orly Taitz phenomenon illustrates that when the Republican Party chose to fuel the white hot rage of its looniest elements to win votes (as the McCain/Palin campaign did in 2008) it sometimes becomes impossible to contain the fire. Orly Taitz raises the question: Where does the Republican Party draw the line?
Dr. Taitz, whose curriculum vitae famously includes training as a lawyer, dentist, and real estate agent, is a very smart self-promoter who latched onto the nuttiest conspiracy theory ever cooked up and has made a kind of career for herself as an "expert" pundit on all things relating to the birth of the President of the United States. Orly's shtick is no different from any other ubiquitous right-wing gasbag we're forced to endure on the public airwaves -- just look at Dick Morris, Bernie Goldberg, or Frank Gaffney -- why these men are considered "experts" in anything defies me.
Enter Orly Taitz.
With her thick Russian accent, her fake eyelashes, her Euro-fashion sense, and her batshit craziness, Orly Taitz has it all. In a perverse way, the more I see her on TV the more hopeful I feel about America. It's like seeing a tape-loop of Joseph Welch shaming Joe McCarthy during the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings over and over again. Ms. Taitz's very existence as part of the American Right has the effect of de-legitimizing the American Right. It's beautiful. No wonder even Ann Coulter -- Ann Coulter! -- has distanced herself from Taitz saying, in effect: "I don't want to encourage that woman, she's a nutjob!" When Coulter claims to be put off by a fellow traveler you know something strange is happening -- or maybe Anne is just pissed off that Orly is crowding in on her turf?
Which brings me back to my original point: Orly Taitz is no different from the countless other right-wingers we see all over the airwaves. Both the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine ran puff pieces on Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, respectively. Last Sunday, George Stephanopoulos, host of This Week on ABC, had on his show the former Chair of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, only to be followed by Michelle Malkin who spews bile every bit as goofy as anything that comes out of Orly Taitz's mouth.
Sitting at the same table where Greenspan and Geithner had held court with their erudite (but nauseating) remarks, Malkin went on to claim that the Tea Baggers and those who are currently disrupting town hall meetings represent grassroots "counterinsurgencies" against President Barack Obama's health care agenda. Malkin said Obama advocated not only a "redistribution of wealth" but a "redistribution of health." Catchy phrase. Forget about the fact that Malkin misused the word "counterinsurgency," the point here is that given Malkin's past remarks and writings she should never be allowed to come near a "serious" news/commentary show. Stephanopoulos might as well have had a segment with Orly Taitz follow Greenspan and Geithner.
Media Matters had this that I found in about two seconds:
Back in 1996, as a guest on ABC's This Week:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think that someone has to -- should have to pass a bare threshold of credibility before they're put on the air to millions of viewers. You know, his story couldn't get past the fact checker at The National Enquirer, so I think before ABC News puts him on, then there should be some questions asked.
George Stephanopoulos as host of ABC's This Week last Sunday:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: With that, we bring in ... Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist, also the author of the new book Culture of Corruption.
What's on next week George? A split screen debate between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Orly Taitz?
Unfortunately, the Orly Taitz stuff might work (in a way) if the Stephanopouli let it. The Swift Boaters have never been held to account and the Supreme Swift Boater Jerome Corsi was back at it again in 2008 with his wretched hit job on Barack Obama (he's now a big Birther). Only a thorough discrediting of the lies and right-wing smears from corporate media can stop this kind of thing.
But seeing Andrea Mitchell the other day -- the wife of Greenspan -- allow Republicans to cite bogus health industry financed "think tanks" on health care without challenging them doesn't bode well. The right-wing lunatics have infiltrated the mainstream media news shows because the corporations that own those shows like what they're saying.
Originally published by The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author