Here, belatedly, is the story of how ACORN got Swiftboated. One weeps for democracy reading it.

This is not to say ACORN is perfect – anymore than, say, the Republican Party is perfect.

But it is a measure of the right’s effectiveness that so many people actually think ACORN stole the last election. Fifty-two percent of Republicans think this, according to one poll, which is as completely false as the notion that Iraq attacked us on 9/11. (Seventy percent of Bush re-elect voters believed that.)

And it is a measure of the right’s effectiveness that ACORN’s 40 years of good work on behalf of the least among us could be blown up this way – just like John Kerry’s courageous military service.

Now comes news that the last straw in what had been an eight-year campaign against ACORN – those ‘pimp/prostitute’ sting tapes made by the fellow later arrested for wiretapping a senator’s office – was not quite what it appeared:

Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe that began when undercover conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money.

While the video by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide ill-gotten gains, the unedited version was not as clear, according to a law enforcement source.

“They edited the tape to meet their agenda,” said the source . . .

☞ Again, this is not to say that every ACORN worker does his or her job well. But as Fox News, et al, relentlessly failed to acknowledge, when it came to cases of bogus voter registrations, it was ACORN itself that found and reported the lapses – and in real time, before any damage was done.

If only that were true of over-zealous Republican operatives, like Allen Raymond, author of How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative (2008): ‘If you could find two of us Republican operatives who could still tell the difference between politics and crime, you could probably have rubbed us together for fire as well.’

Or like the estimable David Brock, long-since reformed and doing terrific work, but who began his Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (2003): ‘This is a terrible book. It is about lies told and reputations ruined. It is about what the conservative movement did, and what I did, as we plotted in the shadows, disregarded the law, and abused power to win even greater power.’

The difference is that the ACORN employees who may have given faux prostitutes inappropriate tax advice were at the bottom of the organizational pyramid, or (in the case of the paid registration gatherers), not even employees; whereas those Republican operatives were near, or (in the case of Karl Rove) at, the top.

To my mind, it’s an important difference. Please share it with your friends.


Last month, the newly elected Republican governor went out of his way to rescind Virginia’s nondiscrimination policy against gays and lesbians. Last week, his newly appointed attorney general asked Virginia colleges to do likewise. Read it here.


OK, so with the stock closing Friday at $3.16, we have our 27% – well, 33%, actually. That part was the ‘chip shot’ suggested here. And earning a low-risk 33% in two weeks is the best this column can do. DEPO now comes off the ‘chip shot’ list (sorry: I have nothing else on that list) and goes back into the ‘speculative basket.’ Loving few things more than an attractive speculation, I’m holding most of mine.


PS – For those who thought I took Friday off, it turns out that Ferris – realizing he was no longer in high school – posted a column after all.


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