Remember the community group called ACORN? Rest assured, congressional Republicans do.
As regular readers know, I’ve occasionally marveled at the right’s preoccupation with the organization, which permanently closed its doors several years ago. As recently as two years ago, Public Policy Polling found that nearly half of Republican voters believed President Obama only won re-election because of ACORN’s interference – even though ACORN didn’t exist at the time.
Such paranoia has been especially common in Congress, where Republicans continued to insist on provisions in spending bills that blocked ACORN from receiving public funding, despite its non-existence.
All of that changed, however, over the summer, when GOP lawmakers seemed to realize it was time to move on. House Republicans finally appeared to be “throwing in the towel” in its campaign against the organization, dropping the anti-ACORN language from their spending bills. It was a bright, new, reality-based day.
And now that day is over. Zach Carter reports that the nonsense is back with a vengeance.
Fear not, America. House Republicans have resumed their war on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an anti-poverty nonprofit staffed by low-income people, a scant 4 1/2 years after the organization officially folded. […]On Tuesday, House negotiators unveiled a bill to fend off a looming government shutdown that included the following ominous provision: “None of the funds made available under this or any other Act, or any prior Appropriations Act, may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, allied organizations, or successors.”
Remember, at present, there is no ACORN. Denying it funding is about as sensible as cutting off unicorn research.
All of which leads to the larger issue of Republicans tackling imaginary problems.
As we talked about over the summer, House Republicans also voted this year to prevent the Department of Energy from blocking offshore-drilling permits, despite the fact that the Department of Energy has nothing to do with offshore-drilling permits.
Last year, House Republicans also approved a measure to block an Obama administration policy on welfare reform that didn’t exist. Some Republicans have taken up measures to prevent the imposition of “Sharia law” on the public, despite the fact that there is no effort to impose such a policy. My personal favorite was the effort to stop the “NAFTA Super-Highway,” which never really existed outside the overheated imaginations of the political fringe and Ron Paul.
But anti-ACORN provisions remain the quintessential example of the phenomenon. When will Republicans move on? At this pace, probably never.