CONSERVATIVES FIND GREAT IMPORTANCE IN MISS USA PAGEANT…. Who knew political conservatives cared so deeply about a beauty pageant?

Last week, organizers of the Miss USA pageant published promotional photos recently of contestants wearing lingerie. Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) were outraged, and Gohmert suggested the promotional shots can be linked to “economic chaos,” which in turn leads to Americans being “willing to give up liberty.”

Now that the pageant has come and gone, we can move on to more meaningful matters, right? Wrong — the right is outraged again, because conservatives disapprove of the winning contestant. Indeed, it’s apparently the single most important story of the day on far-right blogs.

One complaint was particularly amusing.

A new Miss USA was crowned last night, the first time a Muslim, Arab-American woman won the honor. But for Daniel Pipes, a neocon pundit who writes for the National Review and was a Bush appointee to the Peace Institute, that’s one too many.

On his blog yesterday, Pipes pointed out five other Muslim women who’ve won beauty contests in the U.S., Britain and France over the last five years.

“They are all attractive, but this surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action,” he wrote.

My favorite part of Pipes’ conspiracy theory? He noted that the results “prompted” him to “recall some prior instances of Muslim women winning beauty contests in Western countries.”

In other words, a prominent conservative “thinker” is not only bothered by the winner of the Miss USA pageant, but he cares enough about the matter to “recall” similar instances — as if he actually keeps track of such things.

And Pipes is hardly alone. Zaid Jilani noted one right-wing media personality who blamed the results on a “politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate” in America, adding that the winner is a “Lebanese Muslim Hezbollah supporter with relatives who are top terrorists.”

I realize right-wing political observers get worked up over strange things, but even for conservatives, this is bizarre.

Update: Adam Serwer notes, “[T]he tone and substance of the fever swamp’s reaction to an Arab-American winning a beauty contest is at least useful for pointing out how some people’s political opinions aren’t based so much in questions of policy as anti-Muslim animosity. The level of anger is just so plainly disproportionate to the matter at hand as to be self-implicating.”

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.