These are good times for Jerome Corsi. Already notorious for his factually challenged book-length takedown of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Unfit For Command, the 61-year-old Corsi has another hit on his hands. His new book, Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, has made Corsi a hot commodity again on the right-wing radio circuit, the bane of the Obama campaign and catapulted to the top slot on the New York Times bestseller list. With his newfound notoriety, Corsi has brought his pathographic anti-Obama narrative to hundreds of thousands of readers–and millions on radio and TV–just as he did with Kerry. Corsi has become the court bard of the conservative movement. “The goal is to defeat Obama,” Corsi told the New York Times. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”
Corsi’s success represents the apotheosis of a long, strange trip from the furthest shores of the right into the national spotlight. During George W. Bush’s first term, Corsi was a little-known financial services marketing specialist. In 1995, according to the Boston Globe, he coaxed twenty people into a shadowy investment venture in Poland that ultimately lost them a total of $1.2 million. “It ruined my career in the brokerage business, and it was a sad story for a lot of people,” said Bradley Amundson, one of those enlisted into Corsi’s bungled scheme. The FBI opened an investigation but never filed any charges.
Corsi had dabbled off-and-on the fringes of conservative backlash politics for nearly three decades. In his spare time, which he appeared to have lots of, Corsi busied himself at his computer, firing off opinions on the far-right website Free Republic, marked by their sexual and racial obsessions.
In a comment typical of the dozens he posted under the handle “jrlc,” Corsi wrote, “Anybody ask why HELLary couldn’t keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?” In another, he ranted, “Isn’t the Democratic Party the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA–oh, I forgot, it was just an accident that Clintoon’s [sic] first act in office was to promote ‘gays in the military.’ RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters–it all goes together.”
Then he composed Unfit For Command, suddenly vaulting into best-sellerdom. Surrounded by the media buzz of talk radio and Fox News, Corsi no longer plied the seamy troll-zones of the right-wing blogosphere. Overnight, he had become a conservative folk hero. But as Bush’s popularity waned during his second term, Corsi’s star dimmed. He tried to reignite it by co-authoring a book with “prophecy expert” Michael Evans, Showdown with Nuclear Iran, calling on the United States and Israel to attack Iran “before it’s too late,” and another, Black Gold Stranglehold, claiming to expose the Big Lie that will “enslave” Americans: “the belief that oil is a fossil fuel and a finite resource.” Corsi’s conspiracy theories consolidated his cult status, but he did not revive the brightness of his Swiftboating campaign. As another presidential election approached, however, Corsi followed his well-trod path back to renown.