If you are now tracking all the ways that the McCain campaign and its surrogates have become incredibly desperate, look no further than the appearance of Andy Martin as an expert commentator on Barack Obama in the Fox News special Obama & Friends: The History of Radicalism.
Yes, that Andy Martin. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s okay – no one outside of the small geek club of the city’s most obsessive political junkies ought to know who he is. But to those who do – or those who are about to learn for the first time – you’re reaction cannot be anything other than, What?!
Martin is infamous in Illinois political circles for being, well, infamous. In 2006, Scott Fornek of the Sun-Times wrote one of the all-time great political profiles by playing it straight with Martin in a piece with the headline “Longtime Election Loser Declares State In Crisis: Calls Questions On His Sanity ‘Flattering’ Sign He’s Challenging Society.”
The article is no longer available in full online, so I’ll quote generously from it here.
Andy Martin was telling a long, involved story about a day in Iran in 1979 when he says he rescued a television reporter from being torn apart by an angry mob, saw dozens of Iranians killed in a later counterattack and finally was arrested on suspicion of being a spy. “It was a night of insanity,” Martin said, sipping a tall frothy concoction in a River North coffee shop. Just minutes earlier, the Near North Side resident was relating how he spent most of 2003 scouring holes in Iraq with two dogs - and pinpointed Saddam Hussein’s whereabouts a full two months before U.S. troops. “It was what I would call a typical Andy Martin experience,” he said.
Andy Martin, you are a madman! I wanna party with you, cowboy!
Um, er, wait.
Over the years, Martin has promoted himself as “America’s James Bond,” a modern-day Elliot Ness, “the People’s Attorney General” and the “Ralph Nader of the cornfields.” Selective Service had a different description years ago when it found him unfit for the military because of a “moderately-severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”
At the time, Martin was seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
So what was Martin doing in a Fox special report on Obama?
Appearing as an author explaining that Obama “was in training for a radical overthrow of the government.”
Well, one of them is.
[D]uring a 1980s bankruptcy case over two Connecticut radio stations he owned, Martin filed a motion in which he called a judge ‘a crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”
Not so much fun anymore, eh?
He proposed “a constitutional amendment to seize the property of the Jews” and wrote that he was “able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”
And on a pathetic note, Fornek noted this:
Back in the 1970s, Martin described himself as a millionaire, but after a prolonged bankruptcy in the 1980s over two radio stations he owned in Connecticut, he now says “I’m not worth anything.”
Pressed on how he supports himself and funds his political campaigns, Martin says “my family, my mother. She doesn’t support me, but I look after her interests, and she looks after me.”
His 88-year-old mother is a retired University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor who lives in Florida. Martin brushes off questions about the source of her wealth, saying “she inherited some money, and I inherited some money, you know, years ago.”
Martin is well-known in courthouses nationwide.
Martin has filed hundreds across the country, casting himself as a consumer advocate and anticorruption crusader.
Judges have a different slant on it.
U.S. District Judge Jose A. Cabranes wrote in 1983 that Martin ’s suits and motions are “vexatious, wild, disrespectful and threatening.”
“Nearly everything Martin files is malicious,” the Supreme Court of Florida wrote in 2000.
Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon that “The documents he filed were routinely filled with the most extreme anti-Semitic venom one could find anywhere this side of Mein Kampf. The lawsuits were often based on the theory that a cabal of Jewish judges, lawyers and government officials were conspiring against him, and the Complaints he filed would be filled with artfully-constructed allegations along these lines:
Paragraph 8: On July 12, 1988, the plaintiff-Jew met with aforementioned Jew lawyer to prepare for hearing with the Jew judge.
“That’s a paraphrase from memory, but it’s a quite accurate illustration of what his documents routinely contained. In 1986, he ran for Congress in Illinois under this campaign committee: ‘The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America.’”
A Los Angeles Times media column by James Rainey declared that “Fox News’ faux documentary sets new low” and that Sean Hannity’s Sunday report, Obama and Friends: The History of Radicalism, relied on innuendo and guilt by association to label the Illinois senator a dupe of the shadowy forces of the left.”
If you want to look at “associations,” Sean, you might want to look at your own. In response to criticism of his appearance on Fox, Martin issued a statement that said in part: “
In a strange way, Sean Hannity and I are the only two people in the media willing to stand up and tell the truth about Obama.”