Political Mudslingers Populate Far-Right Miami Conference

MIAMI, Fla. — Self-described “birther king” and World Net Daily (WND) founder Joseph Farah said today that he thinks one or two states will pass legislation in the next year requiring presidential candidates to provide irrefutable proof that they are U.S. citizens in order to have their names placed on those states’ ballots. If that happens, Farah predicted, Obama won’t seek reelection in 2012. That’s because there is something “hideously embarrassing” in Obama’s background.

Farah’s soothsaying came during a question-and-answer session during the first day of a three-day conference he put together in Miami called “Taking America Back 2010” (the day after the conference ends, Farah and other far-right stalwarts will be hosting a similar event, this one on board a Caribbean cruise). A prayer that kicked off the conference today thanked God for Farah’s right-wing, conspiracy-minded WND. Later, one of the speakers thanked God for Farah. Farah, however, was far less interested in thanks than in the kind of political mudslinging for which he and several other conference attendees are well known.

Farah’s online publication — one of the “news” pillars of the contemporary American far right — has repeatedly questioned whether Obama was born in the United States (if he wasn’t, he could not legally serve as president). Of course, Obama has produced documents showing he was born in Hawaii, and that state’s Republican governor, along with a slew of news organizations, have vouched for his citizenship. But none of that has convinced Farah and his fellow travelers.

One of those fellow travelers, Jerome Corsi, is scheduled to speak at Farah’s conference Friday. A regular WND contributor and prolific producer of tendentious material, Corsi has written one book savaging Obama; another praising the anti-immigrant Minuteman movement; and a third, the most infamous, that “Swift-boated” then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Corsi has also been a guest on a white supremacist radio show.

In his prepared remarks today, Farah didn’t touch on Obama’s birthplace. Instead, he devoted much of his speech to what he sees as the shortcomings of the conservative movement, and his dismay at the progress being made by gay rights proponents. “The movement is simply not up to the task at hand,” an exasperated Farah complained. He added that there are ongoing efforts by unnamed forces to limit the agenda of the Tea Party movement solely to economic issues — a grave mistake, according to Farah, who told his audience of some 90 people that the conservative movement had lost its bearings by not uniformly opposing same-sex marriage. “Conservatives don’t recognize sin when they see it,” he said.

He cited right-wing attack dog Ann Coulter, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and radio ranter Rush Limbaugh as examples of what he’s talking about. Farah recently withdrew his invitation for Coulter to speak at the Miami conference after learning that she was the headliner at an upcoming meeting of a gay Republican organization called GOProud. (Coulter, never one for niceties, responded by describing her erstwhile co-religionist as a “publicity whore.”) Norquist serves on GOProud’s advisory council. Beck recently said gay marriage is not a threat to the country. Limbaugh favors civil unions, Farah added, and had Elton John perform at his wedding.

“Conservatives aren’t fighting. They’re capitulating,” Farah fumed. “Their standards are being destroyed.”

He called U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker “a homosexual activist” who “imposed his own views on the electorate of California” by ruling last month that that state’s Proposition 8 ballot denying marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional. “I don’t think Americans can take much more of this tyranny,” he said. Farah also criticized pastors who are silent on controversial social issues, such as same-sex marriage. And he wasn’t alone. Clergy who don’t speak out on the “culture war” are “Dr. Evil, and part of the problem,” said another speaker, Doug Giles. Giles added that he wasn’t including Muslims in his criticism “because if we take them on…” — and then he made a sound mimicking that of explosives going off. Later, referring to a proposed Islamic Center in lower Manhattan, he said, “Islam is wanting to build a theme park at Ground Zero.”

Giles isn’t just another conservative South Florida minister and radio commentator. It was Giles’ daughter, Hannah, who famously pretended to be a prostitute in an undercover video filmed at ACORN offices that was used by conservatives to essentially destroy the liberal community organizing group. Giles’ other daughter has started a website called Girls Just Want to Have Guns.

Another speaker, Floyd Brown, led the audience in chants of “Enough is enough!” Brown is president of a consulting company that is perhaps best known for introducing the racially charged Willie Horton television ad that badly damaged the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988. “Obama hates Christianity,” Brown declared. “He is a Muslim.” The proof? Among other transgressions, the president has refused to attend the National Prayer Breakfast but celebrates Muslim holy days, Brown claimed. The media, for its part, is involved in a “conspiracy of silence” to conceal Obama’s hatred of Christianity, he charged.

Brown worked for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, and now he advocates that the new Congress that convenes after the November elections impeach Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors. That broad term, he said, simply means bad behavior. The president, he claimed, wants the United States to fail so that the goals of an “international socialist movement” will be achieved. “Barack Obama is a very dangerous man,” Brown declared. The past two years have been a “slow progression of what I’ll call a bloodless coup.”

Many of the speakers today and for the remainder of “Taking America Back” are from the religious right. One of them, a pastor named Gary Cass, decried the absence of God in politics. Secularism, he said, “seeks to undermine the republic with arbitrary, man-made laws and rights. When will we cry out to God for his mercy on America?”

Outside the ballroom where the parades of speakers appeared, conference attendees could get books like The Homosexual Agenda signed, buy slogan-emblazoned T-shirts and jewelry, grab literature from groups advocating that parents pull their kids from public schools in favor of Christian schools, pick up petitions opposing the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, and much, much more.