GAFFNEY CAN’T HELP HIMSELF…. How low are the Washington Times’ standards? The conservative paper is willing to publish items like this one from Frank Gaffney, arguing that President Obama might really be a Muslim.

Pointing to the president’s speech in Cairo, Gaffney insisted:

* Mr. Obama referred four times in his speech to “the Holy Koran.” Non-Muslims — even pandering ones — generally don’t use that Islamic formulation.

* Mr. Obama established his firsthand knowledge of Islam (albeit without mentioning his reported upbringing in the faith) with the statement, “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” Again, “revealed” is a depiction Muslims use to reflect their conviction that the Koran is the word of God, as dictated to Muhammad.

* Then the president made a statement no believing Christian — certainly not one versed, as he professes to be, in the ways of Islam — would ever make. In the context of what he euphemistically called the “situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs,” Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day “. . . when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”

Gaffney went on to argue that the president has “aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah.” He added that Obama and ACORN may also orchestrate a conspiracy to inflate the number of Muslims in America in the next census.

Instead of responding to the “substance” of this nonsense, I’d just like to ask the same questions I always ponder when I see Gaffney gain attention from major media outlets: is there nothing conservatives can say that would force them from polite company? Just how nutty must a far-right activist be before he/she is no longer invited to share their ridiculous ideas?

This is the same Gaffney who was on national television in March, arguing that “evidence” exists connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11, the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and the Oklahoma City bombing. In September, Gaffney argued that Sarah Palin has learned foreign policy through “osmosis,” by living in Alaska. He’s argued that U.S. forces really did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but the media covered it up. He’s used made-up quotes and recommended “hanging” Democratic officials critical of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. He even believes there’s “evidence” suggesting the president is not a natural born citizen of the United States, and once recommended a military strike on Al Jazeera headquarters.

Gaffney is certainly entitled to believe obvious nonsense, but that doesn’t mean he deserves a platform.

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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.