WHEN CONSERVATIVE MEDIA GAY BAITING GETS CHEAP…. Given the Washington Times‘ unabashed conservatism and antipathy towards the LGBT community, I expect it to defend the status quo on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But is it too much to ask that the paper steer clear of cheap gay-baiting? Actually, yes, it is too much to ask.

Media Matters flagged this ugly Washington Times editorial today, that reads like decades-old anti-gay propaganda.

The destructive force unleashed by the Pentagon’s collaboration with the leftist agenda is apparent from the circus created when homosexual activists like Dan Choi sashayed over to the Times Square recruiting center to make a political point in the short period in which the Phillips order was effective. Leftists are only interested in political points and symbolism here. Providing defense to the nation in the most effective way possible is the furthest thing from their mind.

Treating military recruitment primarily as a diversity issue opens up a closet full of absurdities. On what basis, then, would the military discriminate against the elderly? Why can’t grandpa become a paratrooper? Should the military not reject someone merely because he is handicapped? Why not a wheelchair-bound infantryman?

Yes, the Washington Times is comparing gay troops to the disabled … and Dan Choi “sashays.”

The editorial is almost a caricature of far-right nonsense. In the editors’ minds, it makes sense to compare able-bodied, well-trained, patriotic American volunteers who’ve already proven they can help keep Americans safe through military service to “a wheelchair-bound infantryman.”

As Adam Serwer noted this morning, “The Washington Times isn’t making an empirical or rational argument, it’s just counting on the reader being as frightened and hateful as they are. There’s no response to that, other than disgust.”

I also couldn’t help but note that as far the editors of the far-right paper are concerned, those who support ending the existing policy — a majority of Americans, a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate, the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and two of his recent predecessors — just don’t care enough about “providing defense to the nation in the most effective way possible.”

This is pretty idiotic, even by Washington Times standards, but I’d encourage the editors to consider a real-world example. Take the case of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach. He’s an F-15 fighter pilot, and an 18-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew combat missions over Afghanistan in 2002, and over Iraq in 2003.

The U.S. government invested $25 million in training Fehrenbach, and it was money well spent — he’s a highly decorated pilot, having received nine air medals, including one for heroism. He’s flown 88 combat missions, and logged more than 2,000 flying hours. In the midst of two wars, this war hero is ready to deploy again, hoping to serve his country honorably, but because of his sexual orientation, the government has said Fehrenbach’s services are no longer needed.

The Washington Times is convinced Americans are less safe with Fehrenbach serving his country. It’s a reminder why it’s often difficult to take conservatives seriously when it comes to national security.

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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.