THE ACORN OBSESSION ISN’T PRETTY…. Several far-right House Republicans have been demanding congressional hearings into ACORN. Dems have ignored the nonsense, which led eight GOP lawmakers to host a pseudo-hearing — technically labeled a “forum” — on the community group.

Dave Weigel was on hand for the event, and seems to have enjoyed the nuttiness.

With most of Washington’s attention focused on the health care debate happening a few blocks away in the Senate, or President Obama’s upcoming speech on troop escalation in Afghanistan, Smith and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the sponsors of the hearing, were able to attractive an impressive amount of media. Six cameras were staged around the room, and national reporters filled out the seats behind the witness stand alongside members of ACORN-investigating conservative organizations like the Capital Research Center and Big Government. Officially titled a “Joint Forum on ACORN,” the hearing gave Republicans a chance to re-air allegations against the controversial activist group, which lost its long-standing federal funding in two lopsided September votes.

The eight Republican members of Congress who showed up for the hearing didn’t disappoint. With one exception, they labeled ACORN a “criminal enterprise” with close and current ties to the highest levels of the Obama administration and the labor movement.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who presumably would be the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Republicans take back the House, insisted the attorney general should “appoint a special prosecutor to investigate ACORN,” in part because, as Smith sees it, “President Obama previously served as ACORN’s lawyer.” (He didn’t.)

Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) thinks the White House has become “the war room for ACORN’s political machine.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) brought a brought a plastic bucket of acorns with him — seriously — and continued to argue that former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn’s long-planned resignation had something to do with ACORN. To bolster his attacks, King encouraged a hearing witness to watch a Fox News documentary.

When a caucus, or at least a part of it, falls victim to paranoid delusions, it’s not a pretty sight.

Steve Benen

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.