August 19, 2008—“The goal is to defeat Obama,” author Jerome Corsi said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”
Books used to be written to educate, inspire, or entertain. These days they are written to serve as political weapons. And the intellectual standards of book publishers appear to have been degraded significantly.
Jerome R. Corsi has written a “new attack book” titled: The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality The chief editor of the publisher, Threshold Editions, is Mary Matalin, the former Republican operative turned publisher-pundit.
As of Aug. 17, the book was No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for the second week, being pushed along by a large volume of bulk sales to conservative organizations and an estimated 100 author interviews with talk show hosts.
The "best-seller" status of the book is used to bolster its claims of legitimacy. Threshold has reportedly printed 475,000 copies so far.
The book charges that the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, is “an extreme leftist,” “a stealth radical liberal” who has tried to cover up extensive connections with Islam and radical politics.
Corsi was the co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, which included accusations that were “ultimately undermined by news reports pointing out the contradictions,” the New York Times reported.
It appears Corsi and Matalin hope that the Obama book will repeat the ’04 Swift Boat anti-Kerry feat.
The book description states that it “explains why the extreme leftism of an Obama presidency would leave the United States weakened, diminished and divided, why Obama must be defeated — and how he can be.”
The book purports to be a “thoroughly researched and documented book” and emphasizes its “[s]crupulously sourced...600 footnotes.”
Corsi attempts to legitimize his book with his Ph.D. credentials prominently displayed on the book cover. But Corsi’s status as a respected scholar has been challenged.
Corsi has been characterized as a “conservative gadfly,” a “fringe author,” and a “lying, white supremacist, propagandist” known for his “paranoid ramblings” and who, in addition to being charged with lying about John Kerry’s military service, made his name for making anti-Islam, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.
According to professor of history Joe Palermo, Corsi “staunchly supported the Vietnam War when he was draft age, but he ducked military service with the excuse of being afflicted with ‘hereditary eczema.’ ”
The Chicago Sun-Times calls his "Latest smear against Obama an abomination.”
According to People for the American Way (PFAW), Jerome Corsi is “little more than a third-tier hack prone to spinning out conspiracy theories with an overblown sense of his own importance,” and an author who “has left a trail of wild theories, vitriol and dogma that have called into question his credibility.”
According to PFAW, Corsi posted a series of online comments throughout 2004 that included suggestions that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a lesbian and Muslims worship Satan. He also calls Muslims "Ragheads" and "Boy-Bumpers."
Politico states that Corsi “has left a trail of wild theories [among them the assertion that oil is a nearly infinite resource that continues to generate naturally], vitriol and dogma that have called into question his credibility.”
Significant parts of the book have already been challenged as “misleading or false.”
Media Matters, which is run by former right-wing journalist David Brock, has determined the book “unfit for publication” and lists several of the book’s accusations that are “unsubstantiated, misleading or inaccurate.”
Media Matters reports that it previously documented false and baseless charges Corsi made about Obama’s positions on the Global Poverty Act of 2007 and nuclear weapons, as well as false statements Corsi made concerning Obama’s position on abortion and his memoir, Dreams From My Father, while discussing the book with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Conservatives have their own concerns about Jerome Corsi. Jon Henke of the conservative Web site, TheNextRight, writes: “The continued tolerance and prominence of Jerome Corsi - his books, columns and appearances - is just embarrassing. It is embarrassing for the Right, embarrassing for Republicans, embarrassing for conservatives and libertarians, embarrassing for all of us.”
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Washington fears that Corsi is “hoping his book will give credibility to the smears you can read for free on the Internet. Only now -- it'll cost you.”
“A rebuttal,” she says, “would only fuel more interest in the book and put more money in Corsi's bank account.”
Another view, however, is that the lack of immediate and aggressive rebuttal of the Swift Boat attacks in 2004 hurt John Kerry and that responding to any and all inaccuracies or lies in Corsi’s book is essential.
The Obama Campaign has produced a 41-page Investigative Report on the Lies in Jerome Corsi’s ‘Obama Nation.’
John McCain’s response to the Corsi book has been reported as: “Gotta keep your sense of humor.”
That the humor of the Republican presidential nominee is startling is an understatement.
Writer Andy Borowtiz reported this past July that a smiling Sen. McCain, speaking in a video on his www.JohnMcCain.com site, says, "My friends, in these trying times in which we live, there's one thing all Americans can agree on: killing Iranians is hilarious."
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This story was published on August 19, 2008.