WHEN THE ACORN OBSESSION GETS SILLY…. District Court Judge David Hamilton of Indiana, President Obama’s first nominee for the appeals court bench, is likely to be confirmed. But in the drive to score some cheap points off the nomination, the right has come up a new talking point: Judge Hamilton is “tied” to ACORN. As conservative talking points go, this one’s hilarious.

It apparently started with a National Review item from Wendy Long, who wrote on Tuesday, “Hamilton was a fundraiser for ACORN (nice ACORN payback, Mr. President).”

And from there, the race was on to see who could be the most ridiculous.

Hamilton’s purported ties to ACORN immediately worked its way into right-wing commentary on the nomination, being highlighted by NewsBusters, Powerline, Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, and the Family Research Counciltwice, which complained that ACORN was getting it very own judge.

The idea that President Obama’s nomination of Hamilton was “payback” to ACORN quickly became the right-wing talking point of the day, with people claiming that he was “a big shot at ACORN” and leading to posts like this one written by Matthew Vadum at “The American Spectator” entitled “ACORN’s Federal Judge”:

“Giving the term judicial activism new meaning, President Obama has nominated an ACORN loyalist to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Chicago Tribune reports … The Judicial Confirmation Network notes that Hamilton previously worked as a fundraiser for ACORN, the radical direct-action group that not only resurrects the dead and gets them to the polls every election but also shakes down banks and pressures them to make home loans to people who can’t afford to pay them back.”

Ready for the punch-line? Judge Hamilton was a canvasser for ACORN — in 1979. He spent a grand total of one month helping the group raise money the same year he graduated from college. He was 22 at the time.

National Review‘s item was wildly misleading and ignored the key detail that makes this a non-story. But NewsBusters, Powerline, the Committee for Justice, the Family Research Council and the American Spectator took National Review‘s word for it, and ended up looking rather foolish.


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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.