Later today, three Democratic members of Congress, including civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, will be testifying against Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be attorney general. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have invited three Sessions supporters to join the panel, including former Sessions staffer William Smith, now chief of staff to Rep. Gary Palmer.
Smith created a bit of a stir in 2009, when Sessions named him as chief counsel for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and a legal reporter noticed an April 2009 blog post he had written comparing a top John McCain aide’s speech to a gay conservative group to a speech to the pro-pedophilia group NAMBLA:
William Smith’s post responded to a recent speech by Steve Schmidt, a Republican campaign consultant who advised Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. Speaking in Washington to the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, Schmidt had urged Republicans to support same-sex marriage.
“I wonder if next week Schmidt will take his close minded stump speech to a NAMBLA meeting. For those unfamiliar with NAMBLA, the acronym is for North American Man Boy Love Association,” Smith responded on wsmith.org in a post dated April 20.
Smith’s post, which was later removed from his blog, continued:
Schmidt would quickly tell you that he is not advocating that we support 60 year old men in their desire to rape 8 year old boys, but he would not classify his opposition as narrow minded. No! This is a principled position; there is some logic behind it, Schmidt would say.
Is Schmidt then going to take his close minded stump speech to the Bestiality Club? Again, his answer would be no, although there are a group of people who embrace this lifestyle.
Schmidt and other gay lifestyle proponents would say that my opposition is based on the slippery slope approach. I say that it is based on principle and that it is no more close minded than their position for gay unions. The difference between me and Schmidt is that I’m not a maverick. I’m guided by something called Christian principles. And I don’t need people in California, New York and Washington to tell me what the principles should be.
But that wasn’t the only questionable material on Smith’s blog, wsmith.org. While the blog no longer exists, some of its posts are preserved in the Internet Archive, including this post from February 2009 attacking a few Obama administration nominees, which appears to have been written by Smith. In the post, Smith pushed racist birther allegations that President Obama covered up a foreign birth in order to illegally become president.
“President Obama has been very good at covering up the question of whether he was born in the United States,” Smith wrote, “but his cabinet nominees have not found as much success covering up the problems with their backgrounds.”
After running through allegations against Obama nominees, he wrote: “These are just a few of the items President Obama’s nominees forgot to include on their resumes. Unfortunately for them, they have not been as successful as President Obama in covering up the flaws in their background.”
Someone who has promoted the birther myth may not be the GOP’s best bet for pushing back against criticism of Sessions’ atrocious civil rights record.
Update: The February post seems to be only sporadically available via the Internet Archive, so we’ve included a screenshot here: