April 4, 2006

McKinney reframes the issue.

Expose the Left has the video of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Cynthia McKinney. (Via Instapundit.) I'm surprised she did an interview at all, since she faces criminal prosecution for her interaction with the Capitol Police the other day. Even with two lawyers, she risked making statements that could be contradicted by a security video and by testimony from multiple witnesses.

Her goal, however, was to merge her legal problem with the larger issue of racial profiling. Expose the Left and other bloggers may ridicule her for this, but they are not her audience. She was, in fact, somewhat successful in reframing the issue, in my opinion (and I'm sure her target audience is much more willing to accept the reframing than I am).

Her main point was that the Capitol Police are supposed to recognize everyone's face. The identifying pin cannot be enough to justify waving members of Congress past security, because it could be faked. Now, it's quite clear to me that she should have stopped when asked and certainly not hit anyone, but I can understand her being irritable about the subject of not being recognized. There is the well-known problem of white people thinking it is hard to tell black persons apart, and she's entitled to be touchy about that. She says there have been incidents in the past where she has been taken as the assistant to someone much younger than her when that younger person was white and male. I'm not black, but I am female, and I know a little something of the kind of experiences she's had.

Blitzer put up an old and a new photo of her in which the only thing that is different is her hair, and it is very different. But security personnel need to recognize faces, she says, and her face is very recognizable. That's true. There are few black female members of Congress: how hard can it be to learn their faces? Maybe they are hassling her because they don't like her, she suggests.

She's also sensitive about her hair, and hair is a traditionally sensitive topic too. They need to know my face, not just judge me by my hair, she says. I note that the old hairstyle was pulled back and restrained, while the new one is fluffy and natural. Did the new hairstyle alarm the police? If so, does that suggest that they are more easily alarmed by black people? I think it is likely that the police looked at the hair so much they didn't look at the face and missed their chance to recognize her, but in McKinney's reframing, the attention to hair is fraught with racial meaning.

Before you reject her presentation and go into some reflexive nattering about "the race card," you ought to try to think about how her arguments resonate with the people who vote for her. I think she accomplished what she set out to do when she decided to do the interview.

IN THE COMMENTS: Lots of discussion, but the most useful point, I think, is that the special treatment of members of Congress should end. The pin really isn't enough, since it can be faked. And now we know the pin isn't reinforced by much of a recognition element. And if the police have a special problem recognizing women (because of hairstyle changes) or recognizing black persons, that is all the more reason to change the security protocol. If you can't give all the members the same VIP treatment, stop giving them VIP treatment.

82 comments:

JSF said...

I have interned on the Hill; I have friends who work on the House side. Since she was skipping the metal detectors (and cutting in front of the public line, of course the Capitol Police might wonder. Evewry Congressperson, Senators and Represetatives, are given a pin to wear to distinguish them from the crowd. If she chose not to wear it, then the Capitol Police might wonder, who is cutting around the Metal detectors (there was a shooting in 1998 where two policemen lost their lives)? If she chose not to wear the pin because it clashed with her dress, that is the worst sin of all. That is politics of the vapid.

al said...

She did reframe the issue. She has turned it from her ignoring the rules and being called on it to her being hassled because she's black. It will probably resonate well with those who vote for her.

Unless some new information comes out I beleve that Mckinney is at fault here. If she had any character she would admit she screwed up, make nice with the capitol police, and stop playing the race card.

And why do our elected officials get to bypass the metal detectors?

Internet Ronin said...

I think she already accomplished what she set out to do when she avoided the line and caused the disturbance and that any further action (such as criminal charges) only serves to promote her and her cause.

Maxine Weiss said...

No, Ann. NO NO NO NO NO.

Men are stopped all the time. You don't hear about it because they don't make a screaming scene over it.

She's got a cushy job with a lifetime pension and a free public forum. I'm supposed to sympathize with how difficult her life is.

Less ego, and more gratitude.

Peace, Maxine

bearbee said...

Security guard should be fired for racial profiling...

Icepick said...

There is the well-known problem of white people thinking it is hard to tell black persons apart, and she's entitled to be touchy about that.

I had always heard this, and I had wondered if it was true. (I am white, BTW.) It never really seemed to be a problem for me, especially since if anything blacks have more variation in their facial features than whites.

During graduate school I was a TA teaching College Algebra and Calculus, and I realized there was some truth to this. No, I didn't have any trouble distinguishing my black students from one another. It was a certain subset of the white students who were impossible to tell apart. The white frat boys and sorority girls were damn near clones of one another! It was incredible how much they looked alike. (Non-Greek whites were easy to tell apart by their hair-dye, piercings and tattoos.)

So, I now believe that some people have trouble distinguishing people of certain ethnicities. It's just in my case it's the ethnicity I belong to. Does anyone else have this problem, or is it just one more example of my freakishness?

Icepick said...

And as for the McKinney case, I want to see the video before I really make up my mind about it. I'm inclined to believe she was at fault by being a pompous jerk, but that's my default position for members of Congress and the Senate. But let's see how the officer was conducting himself first. Then we can pass judgement.

Truly said...

I wouldn't be surprised if this was a stunt to get herself back on the front page. There's no such thing as bad publicity, right? McKinney hasn't seen herself in the news lately, and creating a contretemps where she can claim victimhood would be just the ticket. As it has proven to be, it would seem.

jeff_d said...

"There is the well-known problem of white people thinking it is hard to tell black persons apart, and she's entitled to be touchy about that."

Really? I don't think a person is entitled to be touchy about a racial stereotype, namely that some whites apparently can't tell some blacks apart. For one thing, it has no apparent relevance to the incident in question. In addition, it is simple bigotry--ascribing improper motives to one person based upon a stereotype supposedly applicable to a whole class of people.

Whatever the impact of Rep. McKinney's interview with her constituents, her reframing of the issue is dishonest racial pandering. Members of Congress--even Cynthia McKinney--ought to treat Capitol Police (their employees) with some modicum of courtesy regardless of whether perceived grievances against this or that racial group offer a tempting pretext to act like a spoiled child.

tcd said...

What would the charge be if the Capitol Police had not stopped her and she turned out to be not a member of Congress but someone who intended harm? I say the police should get the benefit of the doubt not some self-important, overinflated ego.

Of course the reframing will work for her constituents. They were dumb enough to elect her in the first place.

brylun said...

Of course it resonates with her constituency. But her constituency is different than most other Democrats.

There is a great benefit to the Republicans because it has overwhelmed all other issues (Dem national security plan, Tony Rudy lobbyist plea, etc.) Instead of taking a beating, Republicans are on the offensive. A resolution commending the Capitol Police is being prepared.

To some extent McKinney may be extracting revenge against Pelosi who refused McKinney's request to restore her seniority when McKinney returned to Congress in 2002.

Was OJ guilty?

CB said...

I don't know, professor...based on what I've read about Ms. McKinney the past few days, I've concluded she's a crackpot egomaniac who does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

"There is the well-known problem of white people thinking it is hard to tell black persons apart" I call B.S. on that.

Gerry said...

Bah. There are over 500 members of Congress. It is not feasible for us to expect security personnel to recognize them all.

The procedures are in place, and they should be followed. She doesn't like that, but that's too damned bad.

"There are few black female members of Congress: how hard can it be to learn their faces? Maybe they are hassling her because they don't like her, she suggests."

And maybe they don't like her because she goes out of her way to be a pain in the ass to them.

Amazingly, the other few black members of Congress, including the female ones, don't seem to have the same sort of problems that McKinney does.

She reaps what she has sown.

As for her having somewhat successfully reframed the issue-- yes, she is a very accomplished race-baiter and demagogue. It should not surprise you that she did well what she always does and what she has tremendous experience doing.

FXKLM said...

The difficulty in distinguishing people of a different ethnicity from the observer is well documented. I'm just not sure what McKinney would have us do about it. Should white guards let black people pass even if they can't be positively identified? If blacks are stopped more frequently than whites by Capitol Police, that's unfortunate and unfair, but it's clearly preferable to the alternative.

Gerry said...

And yes, I think she accomplished what she set out to do-- foster racial strife for her own benefit.

Which, to my eyes, makes her one of the most repugnant members of Congress, if not the most.

DRS said...

...Security guard should be fired for racial profiling...

Pulling black people (or anyone based on race) out of the security line to be frisked would be racial profiling. Stopping someone who cuts the line without proper ID is not.

Trying and make this incedent into one of profiling diminishes and trivializes all arguements against the practice.

John Henry said...

This is sort of for JSF but anyone else who knows can answer as well.

I am curious about the pin as ID. Is this just a simple piece of jewelry as seems to be implied by most I have read?

Or, does it contain RFID technology to uniquely identify the wearer as I read somewhere?

If the former, I think it is a pretty poor security tool.

If the latter, it is much better, though these can still have problems.

The real question is why are Congresspeople so special. Perhaps if they had to go through the same processes we peasants have to face each day they would be a little more sensible.

She is a Congresswoman, not a princess.

John Henry

Goesh said...

In all fairness to her, the police and voters, why isn't the security tape being aired??

CatoRenasci said...

Ms. McKinney probably did successfully reframe the issue for her target audience, but that speaks far more to the gullibilty and wilfull ignorance of her target audience than it does to the force of her"arguments."

While I understand the point that it works for her with her target audience, I find it impossible to understand why serious person, or any person with half-a brain, should take the argument seriously or take Ms. McKinney seriously.

The best thing to do viz. a viz. Ms. McKinney is to laugh at her. The only thing the moonbat left, of which she is a charter member, cannnot stand is sustained ridicule.

twwren said...

Stipulate that the capital police have a duty (in their job description) to recognize all members of Congress and that they did not recognize Rep. McKinney. That stipulation does not give her the right to ignore a lawful order and to assault a police officer?
And, where is the evidence of racial profiling? Has this criticism of the Capitol police been alledged before? It seems to me she is saying, "you cannot arrest me under any circumstance because I am black and I am a woman." Two cards played.

And who is the loser? The Democratic party. She has only been effective in reframing the issue form a personal persective.

C. Schweitzer said...

It's embarrasing and politically incorrect to admit it, but I have a harder time distinguishing people of different races. I am an auditory learner and often also have a hard time even with white students that have too similar hair or builds.

It's a particularly embarassing trait as a teacher--since I disproportionately call students of different races by the wrong names and hand them back the wrong papers.

But I agree that trying to memorize 500+ people by site is unreasonable for a normal human being.

TWM said...

The issue is not the failure to recognize her. The issue is that she should have stopped when he asked her to.

Sure, over time the officers should be able to recognize members of Congress, but that is something that can be handled by a complaint to management who would then work the issue through additional training or procedures that enhance this recognition.

And you wear your damn pin.

You don't ignore several warnings to stop and then hit an officer just because you are pissed he didn't recognize you.

Finally, my guess is McKinney never takes the time to get to know these officers. If she did, they would not only recognize her but enjoy seeing her -- engage her in courteous conversations and say hello and goodbye.

Heck, knowing her arrogant personality, I have no doubt she avoids eye contact with them and barely acknowledges their existance except as a bother to her when she enters the building.

No wonder they don't know her by sight. Who wants to?

As an aside, I don't think anyone should be exempt from the security procedures. Even armed plain clothes officers, while avoiding the metal detectors because, well, they are armed and it would go off, have to show some kind of ID.

Is that too much to ask of members of Congress?

Bruce Hayden said...

John Henry

Congress has exempted itself from security getting into its own building. As noted above, the Capital Police work for them, and, thus, Congress can set any rules it wants for its own security.

I do think that she was able to reframe the issue with her constituancy, but not with anyone of pallor. What she is ignoring is that she isn't the only African-American to go through security accessing the Capital. After all, D.C. is heavily Black, and I expect that a number work at clerical, etc., jobs there. So, I expect this isn't a case of not recognizing one of a handful of Black Congresswomen, but rather one of the thousands of Black women who go through security there every day.

This is all conjecture. I have lived in D.C. and environ, and every other federal agency I ever visited there had large African-American contingents, esp. in the clerical, janitorial, etc. staffs. But many of the positions at the Capital are close to patronage jobs, with Congressmen and women hiring their own staffs - so with a largely White Congress, the percentage of Blacks is probably lower than in the rest of the federal buildings in D.C.

I do hope she gets censured.

Ann Althouse said...

There are empirical studies about the difficulties of cross-racial identification. It's real. And the belief that it's real is definitely real and a source of pain that deserves sympathy (whether you think McKinney should be tapping into that sympathy or not).

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not going against the police. As I said here and in an earlier post on the subject, she should have stopped and identified herself. Security is important and you have to put that first during an incident.

This post is a response to Expose the Left's ridiculing of her performance in the interview. I'm saying she was competent and knew what she was doing and handled the interview well for her purposes.

Let's have a little more subtlety in the analysis. To those who just say "She's playing the race card," I say: You're playing the playing the race card card. Is that helping?

Abraham said...

You're playing the playing the race card card. Is that helping?

Yes?

Thorley Winston said...

Bah. There are over 500 members of Congress. It is not feasible for us to expect security personnel to recognize them all.

Agreed and moreover there are thousands of other people who work for the 535 members of Congress as staffers plus tens of thousands of other people who have business at the capitol. I’d wager that more than a few of them are black and female.

It is simply unreasonable to expect members of the Capital Police to recognize every member of Congress by face, particularly when a member of Congress doesn’t wear the one item that is supposed to distinguish her from the other tens of thousands of people going through the building each day.

Freeman Hunt said...

There are empirical studies about the difficulties of cross-racial identification. It's real. And the belief that it's real is definitely real and a source of pain that deserves sympathy (whether you think McKinney should be tapping into that sympathy or not).

Why would this be a source of pain? It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with the psychology of visual identification. (i.e. You are going to be most adept at picking up the visual cues that distinguish people of the race you are mostly around, and many people are mostly around people of their own race.)

We watch hundreds of movies from Hong Kong at our house. Whenever new people come over who haven't seen any of these movies, they often have a very hard time at first and cannot tell the actors apart. This is probably because hair is a major visual cue for some races, and most of the people in the Hong Kong movies we watch have straight, black hair. After a couple movies, the new people become adept at using other visual cues and suddenly none of the actors look anything alike.

I don't think that's racism. Annoying, maybe. But bred of ill will, no.

Gaius Arbo said...

Did she reframe it? Probably. Was that smart? No.

The Democratic party leadership just shot itself in the foot. They should have come out firmly against her behavior from the start. Now they have sent a picture out to the center that people who are not competent to discipline one of their own, who behaves like a complete boor, want to run the country. Not going to sit well at all.

nunzio said...

Why don't we test the guard who stopped her and see how the guard scores on the cross-racial-identification test? Let's also give McKinney a psychological exam b/c she's deranged.

I don't think she should be criminally prosecuted for this misdemeanor. But the House members should remove her from its body.

Delay can hold the door for her on their way out.

And Harry Belafonte can write a song about her.

And the NAACP can put her in its literature and raise money for the great injustice beset upon her and compare her to Rosa Parks.

Eveyone will be happy then, except for McKinney, I guess.

Mike said...

"There are empirical studies about the difficulties of cross-racial identification."

So what? I have problems recognizing faces. All faces, regardless of race. I often don't recognize someone until they speak. I have no idea why this is, but I have struggled with it my whole life. And, also being a teacher, it doubly embarrasing. Is it appropriate for someone I didn't recognize to haul off and whack me?

Cynthia McKinney's attitude problem is well known, as are her race-baiting tactics. She is deserving of no consideration whatsoever in this latest incident. Tolerance, indeed!

Ann Althouse said...

I agree that this story's prominence is hurting the Democrats. Here's a story on that.

CB said...

I'll take your word on it and cede the point of cross-racial identification. I think it's tangential here, though.

"I'm saying she was competent and knew what she was doing and handled the interview well for her purposes." That is exactly what's so frustrating about the whole thing. I believe that her purpose is to gain favor among black voters by painting her opponents as racists. The way that democrats have bamboozled (I use the term deliberately) black voters drives me crazy, because it accomplishes nothing, and is to the detriment of blacks. The democrats depend on black turnout to win elections. They can get this turnout in two ways: by helping blacks, or by convincing them that republicans are racists. The latter is much easier, so they choose it. So the democrats do nothing for blacks, and they get their votes and money.

Dave said...

"There is the well-known problem of white people thinking it is hard to tell black persons apart, and she's entitled to be touchy about that."

Huh?

JSF said...

John Henry,

The pin is just a regular pin (circular with an inlay of Member of Congress and within the final circle, a color of the Congress [i.e. 104th had red circles]and an Eagle within the color. They have been wearing them since the attacks on Congress and Truman in the 50's. As an earlier poster wrote, the House has more control over the Capitol Police then the Senate, so McKinney expected the rules changes for her alone.

CB said...

In the spirit of bipartisanship, I should add that I think politically-motivated Christians are to the Republicans what Blacks are to the Democrats. They need their votes & money, so they paint Democrats as "against faith." But once the votes are cast, they have other priorities.

FXKLM said...

I don't think it's appropriate to judge a politician's actions by whether they are politically effective. She's raising an issue that is completely unrelated to the issue of whether she did anything wrong for the purpose of distracting people from the real issue. Even if everything she says is accurate, the officer still did the right thing by stopping her and she still did the wrong thing by assaulting him. Her redirection tactic might be smart and effective, but it's still not right.

me said...

She lost her cool. When she calmed down, she should have said she was sorry, and I doubt the Capitol Police would have pursued this.

The more she blames others, the more likely it will be pursued. She probably broke the law. Like I told my son who was in a bar fight, don't call the cops when you are drinking underage.

Gerry said...

"I agree that this story's prominence is hurting the Democrats"

I also agree. You would think that, as a Republican, I would be happy.

However, it is nothing more than a silver lining in a dark cloud. The intentional stoking of racial suspicions, fears, and pains is bad for America, even if in this particular instance McKinney's demagoguery is actually good for Republicans.

Henry said...

When Patrick Kennedy shoved an airport security guard back in 2001, he ended up apologizing in person and eventually paid an undisclosed sum in response to her law suit. At the time he looked like a huge jerk, but I think the incident has been pretty much forgotten.

I don't blame McKinney for making a mistake and maybe she's justifiably annoyed for some reason or another, but really, how is hitting a police officer ever a good idea?

Maxine Weiss said...

Whoa, wait a minute....hold up:

Everyone looks alike, (no matter the race)... these days. Plastic surgeons are giving everyone the same face....White, Black, whatever. Men all have those same boring pointy-spiky hairdos. Women go the same hairdressers who only know how to do one look.

None of the races has variety, or individuality in their features. We've morphed into one single look for all.

And especially in Washington D.C. ...where conformity rules, and everyone dresses alike. Forget Blacks looking alike. I think there's a lot more variety and individuality in the Black race. It's Whites who wrote the book on same-ness and look-a-like clones.

Peace, Maxine

HD_Wanderer said...

"They should recognize her face".

If the officer called her three times and she kept walking, it sounds like she had gone by him before he realized someone had bypassed the metal detector. In that case, did he ever see her face or was he running up behind someone he hadn't seen?

I'll wait to make up my mind until the video is released, but it sounds like she went by security too fast to be identified.

PatCA said...

Gerry,
I agree with you, it's bad for everybody, except by now we are so inured to this race baiting that it makes the "victim" look bad instead. By the time the case is adjudicated the truth won't matter. She accomplished her goal, which seems to have been exciting the lunatic fringe of the race industry. What would the Al Sharptons of the world do without her?

John Lynch said...

Surely the role of maintaining security has to come into play here. The guard are responsible for security. Someone bypassed security. They didn't take the person down with force. They halted the person until they got the identity; a restrained and reasonable approach to their duties.

If they did not recognize the person, and the person did not conform with rules (the pin,) and the person did not halt on request -- how else are they to react and fulfill their duty?

Under any circumstances, hitting the officer while in the reasonable performance of his duty has got to be an offense.

Otherwise, what are those guards doing there? What is the purpose of having security?

Stating that the guard should have recognized one of 525 representatives on sight is a fairly onerous requirement, and an unreasonable standard to hold for all security personnel.

Surely it is OK for the Congress critters to wear some form of ID and for Security - when they recognize - but not necessarily that they recognize - to allow bypass of normal security. Failing to identify a representative of Congress, they should halt them until they are identified. What other rules are possible?

knoxgirl said...

What she's saying makes no sense. She says "to think that the security of congress depends on one's jewelry or hairstyle..." The officer ostensibly did not recognize her and took no chances by stopping her for ID. That makes her more safe, not less.

I agree with Gerry, her whole attempt to justify her ridiculous behavior by claiming racism is bad for the country, I don't care who benefits from it politically.

Pat Patterson said...

She's sensitive about her hair? How about her weight? The surest way to never be considered a colleague is to resemble a beached whale in a brightly colored print dress. Though I have to admit that the new president of Liberia manages to pull it off successfully.

Aspasia M. said...

I didn't intern on the Hill (like jsf) but two years ago I lived across the street in a woman's dormitory when I was in town to do historical research.

At night I spent some time in the Senate building with a friend who worked for a member. We would go to the building and work late at night.

Anyways, most of the Capitol Police were African American. (And the Capitol Police were very nice. More then once people joked with us and were worried about our safety when we left the building.)

Perhaps this isn't relevant, but does anyone know the race of the policeman?

Aspasia M. said...

pat patterson,

That's rude.

LarryK said...

You can't look at this incident in a vacuum - McKinney has a history of making outlandish accusations. Is she reframing this issue effectively for her target audience? Yes, she is pretty good at demagoguery, spreading paranoia and inflaming passions, but that is nothing to be proud of. I saw McKinney give a speech on Madison's capitol square after she was voted out of office (part of "hip hop week," I think) that was sheer lunacy - she blamed outside forces for manipulating the political process and "quelling my voice with votes," a deathless phrase I won't forget. Mentioning details like this isn't playing the "race card card," it's getting to the essence of who McKinney as an individual is and the twisted game she plays.

Simon Kenton said...

Ms Althouse, I don't think it has to do with the race card as much as the race card has to do with an ethos. Hamas. Adam Clayton Powell. Marion Barry. Cynthia McKinney. Ray Nagin. To a lesser extent, Wellington Webb. When you have the client-state mentality, you don't vote as a serious exercise in selecting your governors and you don't expect them to provide competence and efficiency in governing. You vote as a way to say "Fuck you" to those you think have a duty to provide the largesse.

David said...

The moral imperative of the Capitol Police is security. McKinney and her ilk would be the first to scream bloody murder if the building they worked in was penetrated by a terrorist who walked around a metal detector unchallenged.

McKinney would say, "Why didn't you stop me when I bypassed the metal detector without my pin? I was trying to send you a subtle message that something was wrong."

This is a total failure on the security front. Everyone who enters these buildings needs to be scanned, no ifs, ands, or buts. The likely scenario is akin to the bank president whose family is held hostage while he goes to work and empties out the vault to save his family.

Political correctness is still running amok. Is it a stretch that Democrats such as these still think terrorism is a police action and not a war? I don't think it is a stretch.

Forget the pins, forget the line-cutting, forget the special privileges. With insane security lapses like this going on, none of us are safe in our own capitol.

McKinney violated the intent and the spirit of the law and should pay the price.

Rick said...

Dear Ann:

I live in Cynthia's district and have seen her at a couple of events. She's a world-class jerk, and do you know how big a jerk you have to be in these uncivil days to be world-class? But I appreciate the point you made--that racial (and sexual) profiling still exists; that the victims of those slights are --and have a right to be --offended. You obviously have more insight into that than a midwestern male like me, and that kind of sensitivity is what makes you such a good blogger.
Still, we ALL have to endure a lot of security headaches these days. And I want my elected representatives to endure them too, no matter the inconvenience to them or the cost to us. I want them to get patted down at airports. I want them to wait in line. I want them to go through all of it so that they will get angry at stupid protocols --like denying a boarding pass to a 3-year-old with the wrong name --but I also want them to become alarmed at inadequate, should-be-a-lot-tougher procedures, too. And they need to see those for themselves, because they're still all around us.

Finally, can you blame the capitol cops for being touchy? They face a lot bigger risk than just the risk of being offended.

Fatmouse said...

It's about the hair. It's _all_ about the hair.

Looking at the before and after pictures of McC, she looks like two entirely different people (at the risk of playing fashion police, the only person she should be punching is the stylist who told her that'd be a good look).

And as for the notion that whites have trouble telling members of other races apart, well, that's he genetics of your head fur again, which defines a lot of how we look. While caucasians have wide variations in color and texture, every other ethnicity is nearly homogonous in the natural appearance of their hair.

I'd love some anthropologist to do a study of why blondes, brunettes and redheads came into existence and why black is the default hair color for ~90% of humanity...

reader_iam said...

I watched the Blitzer interview in its entirety when it aired.

I see your point about whom she's trying reach, and that it was likely effective--it's not as if McKinney is a, well, subtle sort. (Witness her history.)

Still, it was disgusting and absolutely pandering and in response to direct questions, she would bring in a whole host of irrelevancies ad nauseum. That might have been OK, except that she was clearly, obviously NOT answering the specific questions (and at one point, even looked a little uncomfortable at the obviousness of that).

It's possible to be "competent" in reaching a specific constituency, while being an incompetent with loon-like qualities elsewhere.

As someone else noted here, McKinney has a history.

Brent said...

Ann,

First, you are correct - she did smartly for the "audience" she was playing to.


Second - McKinney is wrong that faces should be recognized. This is where the argument ends.

1)There are 435 members for pete's sake. Do you recognize all 400 students from each semester, especially if you only see them occasionally - does anyone? If being equal matters, then it doesn't matter if she's black.

2)At a recent trip to Washington DC, I was able to observe my congressman, Ken Calvert (7th term) not be recognized and have to show ID at the same spot. He's white. Seventh term. Case closed.


Lastly, let's talk about why McKinney is ridiculed on ExposetheLeft and other sites. Cynthia McKinney doesn't want to play by the rules. She wants to enjoy all the benefits everyone else does in her position, but when she goes all "cap" on someone's ***, she expects a special dispensation. And Ann you know as well as I, her "audience" STUPIDLY eats it up.


Cynthia McKinney and her "audience" are lowering the social contract.

Ed said...

If I walked into Congress, bypassing the metal detector while not wearing proper identification, refused to stop when requested to do so by a security officer, and then struck an officer who tried to stop me, I would find myself face down on the floor, handcuffed, and with at least one gun pointed at my head; assuming they didn't just shoot me in the head to prevent the triggering of a possible explosive vest.

She's lucky they showed some restraint and didn't shoot her. There's a war on, remember?

Perhaps the solution is to remove the exemption for members of Congress, and make them go through the metal detectors just like everyone else is forced to do.

CatoRenasci said...

Brent said: Lastly, let's talk about why McKinney is ridiculed on ExposetheLeft and other sites.

It's simple, The Hon. Ms. McKinney is ridiculous.

The only bad thing about ridiculing Ms. McKinney is that it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

$CAV3NG3R said...

From Pat Pattersons remark about beached whales to Bruce Haydens "...anyone of pallor.." to Brent's "audience" reference, I'm begining to wonder if we aren't all doing the same thing we are accusing Cynthia of, by assuming her 'target audience' is lapping up the crap she's retching. I know a whole lot of blacks (I'll give the benefit of doubt and say I'm going out on a limb in assuming that's what brents 'audience' refers to)who are not block voters neither are they even democrats, so what's with all the condescending sweeping stereotyping of people and so forth. It's stuff like these that make otherwise rational folk reactionary, thankfully some of us are still rational enough to just ignore such in favour of reason.

That said I never really followed her politics so I don't know who she is but from the facts of the case that are available she was clearly wrong. Also most people I personally know who have been treated in manners that might be considered racist generally have learned to ignore it, simply because the energy required to tease out the subtleties involved is just not worth it and a lot of times there are other possible reasons for it.

As much as I can, I try to refrain from throwing stones,but the pat patterson remark needs a response. Pat if you're american what you did is the equivalent of the charcoal-pot calling the stainless steel kettle noir. I don't know how much you know about africa but not all parts have experienced famine or have undergone a primary food shortage. So before you say that it's because we're hungry that we are not fat I hasten to say that's not the case, and I've a large enough sample size coming from a middle-class-almost-everyone-is-college educated numbering in the low hundreds extended type family. It wasn't until I got here that I realized how obscenely obese people can get in these parts. We just don't indulge the way folks seem to do here, so Pat Ms Johnson is not a typical example and by the way african american=african.

$CAV3NG3R said...

Correction: The last line should have read "....by the way african-american != african."

MadisonMan said...

Perhaps the solution is to remove the exemption for members of Congress, and make them go through the metal detectors just like everyone else is forced to do.

Of course that is the sensible solution, which is why it'll never be enacted. Especially while Republicans can use the story as cover.

Someone upthread said this was bad for democrats. In reality, it's bad for all Americans, as the focus is on this twitchy little ferret of a Representative rather than directed where it belongs.

Ann Althouse said...

"Someone bypassed security....If they did not recognize the person, and the person did not conform with rules (the pin,) and the person did not halt on request -- how else are they to react and fulfill their duty?... What other rules are possible?"

I think the pin isn't enough, because it can be faked. There has to be some combination of identification pin/badge and recognition. The problem isn't just that McKinney wasn't wearing the pin, it's that members of Congress want VIP treatment. Within the VIP treatment, there needs to be equal treatment. McKinney thinks she's not getting the full VIP treatment because they aren't trying hard enough to remember her face. I agree that she's being haughty, but so are all the other members of Congress. I say downgrade the treatment of all of them.

And I think it actually is damned hard to recognize all the white male members of Congress. They really do look alike. I wish some of them would come up with some new hairstyles. Personally, I'm sick of that hardened hair-helmet they all wear.

Ann Althouse said...

"can you blame the capitol cops for being touchy? They face a lot bigger risk than just the risk of being offended. "

No, I don't blame them at all. I think they did the right thing. I've never said otherwise.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Freeman Hunt said...
There are empirical studies about the difficulties of cross-racial identification. It's real. And the belief that it's real is definitely real and a source of pain that deserves sympathy (whether you think McKinney should be tapping into that sympathy or not).

Why would this be a source of pain?


Yea especially when this nation has never had situations where blacks were misidentified, confused with others, and convicted of crimes, and sex crimes, they did not commit.

PatCA said...

I disagree that somehow procedures should be reviewed and changed and equalized to correct some alleged fault. Leave it to the police and do not give an inch to this demagogue McKinney.

Reggie said...

It doesn't matter why the cop didn't recognize her. The cop was doing his job, even if he made a mistake. There is no excuse for punching the guy. Anybody else would have been hauled before a judge by now.

Book her.

Pat Patterson said...

My comment about Rep. McKinney's hair was in reaction to Ann's comment that "She's also sensitive about her hair,..." I hoped to point out that the fat and obese are not taken seriously and they know it and are much more sensitive to their appearance than a thinner person might be. As to the charcoal-pot, find that on Wikipedia, I was observing that President Johnson-Sirleaf via her attitude and comportment is able to transcend her appearance and dress and I said this without any reference to residents of the rest of Africa. Something Rep. McKinney must know that she will never be able to do.

lindsey said...

I find it astounding that this woman actually punched someone and we're discussing whether she's a victim. I don't believe she'd be garnering as much sympathy if she was male.

Gahrie said...

Personally, I think she blew this incident up on purpose to distract from her malfeasance when she used goverbnment funds illegally to pay for Isaac Hayes' plane ticket.

knoxgirl said...

Of course that is the sensible solution, which is why it'll never be enacted. Especially while Republicans can use the story as cover.

a democrat congressperson PUNCHES A COP yet the republicans are the nefarious ones....

The Cranky Insomniac said...

If you don't wear the pin, you don't get in.

Captain Renault Award Nominee

MadisonMan said...

a democrat congressperson PUNCHES A COP yet the republicans are the nefarious ones.

Hardly. I only say they're enjoying this too much to do anything positive so something like it doesn't recur. Were the parties switched, the same thing would happen.

And meanwhile, more important things are ignored.

Brent said...

$CAV3NG3R,

Thank you for the benefit of the doubt, and your thoughtful post.

By "audience" I meant her constituents, the ones who will vote for her. Thank you for helping me clarify.

Harkonnendog said...

There are TONS of good reasons to hit cops. But if I can't she can't either, dammit.

Maxine Weiss said...

"I'd love some anthropologist to do a study of why blondes, brunettes and redheads came into existence and why black is the default hair color for ~90% of humanity"---Fatmouse

I flunked biology; but, doesn't it have something to do with how dark genes are dominant, and lighter hair/eyes.....is recessive???? Does anyone remember those T-squares where you predict your children's traits? Heady stuff for 10th grade biology!

I guess by that (dominant/recessive) theory, we are all getting darker.

The light skinned races don't have as many children.

Intermarriage. I can't remember an article I'd read saying that the Caucasion race will cease to exist, and we'll all become dark skinned-brunette hybrids.

Is it me, or is society getting darker?

Peace, Maxine

Thorley Winston said...

a democrat congressperson PUNCHES A COP yet the republicans are the nefarious ones....

Yes you have to understand, Cynthia McKiney (D-Jupiter) wouldn't have hit a cop if she wasn't really under the influence of the Karl Rove Mind Control Ray.

Jen Bradford said...

I wish Wolf had thought to ask whether McKinney recognized the cop. Had she ever greeted the guy? Everyone knows how to be recognized by the people they encounter in a daily way - be decent! Make eye contact. Learn people's names. If someone says "Hi Bob" you can be damn sure he's going to make more of an effort to learn her name and face.

If she didn't recognize him, should he still be expected to recognize her (since "that's his job")? I say no, since stopping her if he wasn't sure is also his job. Also, if she blew past him in a big hurry, is the cop supposed to recognize her backside as well?

MadisonMan said...

Is it me, or is society getting darker?

That would be Daylight Savings Time.

I think a really interesting News feature on the Police at the Capitol would include the scoop on which Lawmakers and aides were really nice to them, and which were way too Lord of the Manor. You really can judge a person by how they treat people with less power. I wonder if Tammy Baldwin and James Sensenbrenner treat the Capitol guards in similar, polite midwestern manners. How about Sam Brownback and Charles Schumer? Are there regional differences in how lawmakers treat them?

I suspicion that the Police wouldn't comment, however. Commenting would probably be a good way to lose your job.

Freeman Hunt said...

Finn Kristiansen said...
Why would this be a source of pain?

Yea especially when this nation has never had situations where blacks were misidentified, confused with others, and convicted of crimes, and sex crimes, they did not commit.


So, she was so broken up and pained about these incidents that she decided the next person who didn't recognize her was getting popped in the face?

Where is her source of pain?

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

"Hardly. I only say they're enjoying this too much to do anything positive so something like it doesn't recur. Were the parties switched, the same thing would happen."

I'm sorry if this reply is premised on a misreading of your post, but why would it be a positive thing to prevent a recurrence of "this"? What is "this"? As I see it, "this" is the fact that the capitol police consider it their job to ensure the physical safety of Congress and the Capitol Complex. "This," as I see it, is that when a person walks through a checkpoint and fails to respond to verbal requests to stop by the police is physically halted by the police. "This" is not a problem to be correcte, "this" is precisely what ought to happen.

She failed to stop at a posted checkpoint, failed to stop when ordered to halt by the police, and then physically attacked the police. And let's not forget: the cop merely grabbed her. If they had tazered her, I would still say that the capitol police had behaved appropriately. If they had shot her, I would still say the capitol police acted appropriately.

Do you know what a suicide bomber could do if allowed into the Hall of the House because the capitol police were too worried about political correctness to stop them?

Cop 1: "Hey, shouldn't we stop that person?"
Cop 2: "No, I think it's Rep. McKinney"
Cop 1: "Are you sure?"
Cop 2: "Not really, but better safe than sorry. And by 'safe,' I mean, 'safe from getting assaulted by that ghastly woman again if it is her'."
Cop 1: "you're probably right. Hey, what was that loud bang?"
Cop 2: "It could be an explosion that killed 100 representatives, but it's probably just McKinney opening her mouth again."

With all due respect to McKinney, she is a large woman; it isn't hard to imagine that a thin woman who carried enough explosives under a bulky overgarment to bring her up to McKinney's profile could decapitate our government. I for one am proud - thrilled, in fact - that the capitol police are zealously guarding the safety and security of the capitol. The selfishness, stupidity and oversensitivity of one member of the House of Representatives is really a very ancillary concern.

MadisonMan said...

Sorry for the confusion. This referred to Representatives/Senators walking around the checkpoints because they can. And then inevitably being misidentified as a miscreant. That's the this that could be avoided if Republicans wanted it to happen (I say Republicans merely because they're in power now).

I doubt this whole incident would have occurred if Lawmakers had to go through the metal detectors like any other US Citizen. I guess I'm assuming that Lawmakers can just breeze on through. That's what the news reports and the comments here led me to believe.

Steven said...

If the Democratic members of Congress had even the least degree of respect for the Capitol Hill Police that are keeping them safe, they would have already internally caucused and threatened to have her expelled from the House.

Accordingly, the very fact that Congresswoman McKinney has a target audience for anything other than a humble apology is itself offensive, and properly damaging to the Democratic Party.

Steven said...

I doubt this whole incident would have occurred if Lawmakers had to go through the metal detectors like any other US Citizen.

Whereas, given the arrogance, disregard for the rules, and propensity for violence Ms. McKinney showed in this incident, I think it's pretty certain she'd have assaulted someone on the Hill at some point even if there was a general requirement for members of Congress to go through metal detectors. Say, if she set off the detectors and was called back to be wanded.