Friday, March 31, 2006

Who Cynthia McKinney is

I was shopping for groceries at the Piggly Wiggly in Calhoun, Georgia, where I was working as a sports editor, when I heard the news.

"Did you hear?" the clerk said. "We just started bombing Baghdad."

It was January 1991.

My cousin's husband was a sergeant in the 101st Airborne, and America was at war against Saddam Hussein. I didn't get much sleep that night. Psychologists labeled it "CNN Syndrome," and I had it bad.

So I was kind of grumpy the next day when I went to the offices of the Calhoun Times and heard what Cynthia McKinney had done. She was then a state legislator from Atlanta. I'd never heard of her before, but my jaw dropped when I saw the news of what she'd done under the golden dome in Atlanta:

More than two-thirds of the state House walked out of the chamber in protest today as Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Atlanta) spoke against the U.S. attack on Iraq and declared that President Bush "ought to be ashamed of himself."
Ms. McKinney, speaking from the well on a point of personal privilege just 16 hours after the war began, called the U.S. attack the "most inane use of American will that I have witnessed in a long time."
A dozen legislators immediately rose and left. They were followed by a steady stream of others, leaving less than 50 of the 180 seats occupied in the unusually quiet chamber.
"She's in there talking trash," said Rep. Fred Aiken (R-Smyrna) as he reached the hallway. ..
"George Bush ought to be ashamed of himself," Ms. McKinney said. "I for one am not convinced that this is the most effective and productive use of American resolve and American will. I
will not be led to the slaughterhouse for any one of George Bush's reasons."
After the 15-minute speech, Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) hugged Ms. McKinney in an anteroom. She said she had not expected the walkout but was not surprised.

--Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 17, 1991

My cousin Deborah was at home in Clarksville, Tenn., worried to death; her husband Buck was in Saudi Arabia facing SCUD attacks; I was totally stressed out about the war -- and Cynthia McKinney was taking Saddam's side of the argument.

Now, here's the important thing: I was a Democrat then, and I was against the war, too.

I remember how proud I was of Georgia's two Democratic senators during the debate leading up to the Gulf War in 1991. Sen. Sam Nunn was known as a tough, smart expert on defense issues, but argued that we should give diplomacy more time to work after Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Sen. Wyche Fowler was particularly eloquent in the debate, referring to Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian War and the tragic results of the Athenian expedition to Syracuse.

Georgia is a state with a proud military tradition. It is home to major Army bases like Ft. Benning and Ft. Stewart, and my father worked 37 years at the Lockheed plant in Marietta, building the amazing C-130 transport plane.

So it's not like Georgians are a bunch of pacifists. But in 1991, our senators made solid arguments why the United States should avoid war, if possible, and both voted against the war resolution against Iraq. However, as soon as that resolution was passed, both Nunn and Fowler then voted for a second resolution declaring total support for the military mission. (An interesting contrast between them and today's Democrats: Nunn and Fowler were against the war before they were for it.)

Nunn and Fowler had it exactly right. War is a terrible thing, to be avoided unless necessary, but once the bombs start falling, there is only one way to end the war: Complete U.S. victory.

That's the thing about war: You either win or lose. So if you aren't cheering for a U.S. victory, you're cheering for U.S. defeat. And please don't tell me how patriotic it is to hope that our troops suffer an embarassing defeat that undermines the morale and prestige of the U.S. armed forces. I'm old enough to remember Vietnam (where my uncle Casper served with the 7th Cav) and I don't need any history lessons on the consequences of U.S. defeat.

Given my views in 1991, I was completely enraged at Cynthia McKinney's anti-war rant. What an absurd thing to do! And what an embarassment to patriotic Democrats everywhere. Who gives a crap what a second-term state representative says about U.S. foreign policy? (Like I said, I had never heard of McKinney before that January day in 1991, and I think most Georgians hadn't heard of her, either.) Since when is a state legislature the place to deliver rants against the president of the United States? That she would even think to do such a thing indicated to me that she was mentally unbalanced.

A few years later, I learned that Cynthia McKinney's tendency toward crackpot demagoguery is an inherited trait. Her father, Billy McKinney, was a state representative who strongly backed the racial gerrymandering of Georgia's congressional districts. This ill-advised measure had the convenient effect of carving out the district that first elected his daughter to Congress, but it also helped destroy the Democratic Party in Georgia (and nationally) by carving out several nearly all-white districts that sent Republicans to Congress in 1994.

So Billy McKinney got his daughter at seat in Congress, and the Democratic Party paid the price. Brilliant.

A lawsuit was filed against the Georgia gerrymander -- Cynthia's district stretched from the east side of Atlanta almost to the South Carolina border, and was at some points scarcely a hundred yards wide. In that lawsuit, one of the witnesses for the plaintiffs was Massachusetts Rep. Gary Franks, who in 1990 became the first black Republican elected to Congress in 60 years.

Outside the courtroom, as the Bay State Banner later reported, Franks was greeted by "black protesters waved placards accusing him of being an 'Uncle Tom,' and Bill McKinney, father of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, challenged him to a fight."

Let's review, then, what we know about the McKinneys:
Am I the only one who sees a pattern here?

Of course, Nancy Pelosi rallies to McKinney's support:

Nancy Pelosi of California called the incident "a mistake, an unfortunate lack of recognition of a member of Congress.' She added that the police officer was not at fault. 'I would not make a big deal of this,' she said.
OK, fine. Not a big deal. But then McKinney herself issued a press release and called a press conference, and she herself injected race into the dispute:

Sadly, there are only 14 black women Members of Congress. And surely our faces are distinguishable. But why my face is continually unrecognizable can only be answered by these offending police officers.
All the liberal pundits sit around and wonder why the Democrats can't win elections anymore. Zell Miller tried to tell them, but they wouldn't listen. Instead, the Democrats chose as their presidential candidate a phony snob like John Kerry and elevated to positions of national prominence crackpots like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi. And they rally to the defense of a dingbat like Cynthia McKinney, who has done more than Newt Gingrich to elect Republicans in Georgia.

Anyway, when McKinney made headlines by (allegedly) assaulting a Capitol Police officer, my mind naturally went back to that January day in 1991 when I first heard of her. She was an irresponsible demagogue then, and she's only gotten worse.

So to all the bloggers and pundits who are jumping on McKinney now, I proudly say, "I was loathing her before you guys ever heard of her!"


DONKEY CONS: About the book


3/31: "Jihad Cindy" does it again

Anybody who lives or works in D.C. knows how intense security is since 9/11. There are concrete barricades and security checkpoints everywhere, and metal detectors -- my God, the metal detectors! ... So Cynthia McKinney, who should know the drill by now, certainly has no excuse for not stopping when the police officer asked her to stop. Her ridiculous charges of racism are ... an attempt to claim that members of Congress should be exempted from the security hassles we mere mortals have to endure.
2/17: Latest rant from "Jihad Cindy"

She's worried about Haiti, she's worried about Tupac Shakur, she's worried about the Palestinians, she's signing petitions for Mumia and Tookie, she's blamed Bush for 9/11 and took campaign contributions from radical Muslims, she gets 3/4 of her campaign contributions from out-of-state donors -- hey, Cynthia, have you ever thought of worrying about people in Georgia for a change?

Peach Pundit has been all over the McKinney incident (here, here, and especially here), and Erick reports via handheld: "She is on my flight to ATL. Hope I don't get hit." Don't worry, Erick. Unless you're traveling in first class, you'll never see her.

Flapsblog: McKinney blames officer for "inappropriate touching."

The incomparable Ace explains it from McKinney's point of view.

Blue Star ponders "her seemingly limitless delusions of self-importance."

Violence Worker says, Censure McKinney: "I work on an Air Force Base. ... Even the Wing commander ... must show his ID and you KNOW the guards know who he is. ... [McKinney] should be hauled up before the ethics committee and censured at a minimum. The woman is a disgrace!"

Wonkette (who wasn't as funny as Hitchens at the "Free the Plamegate 2" comedy benefit my wife and I attended last year) uses the occasion to crack a joke at Cynthia McKinney's Tupac Memorial Bill, and wonders if the (alleged) cop-basher is constitutionally protected.

Marie asks: "Is Cynthia McKinney insane?" (We report; you decide.)

Rob Huddleston, noting that McKinney's meltdown was predicted here 6 weeks ago, says, "Heh. ... You gotta love it when the irrational Left becomes that predictable." And he also shares the same views I mentioned about security in D.C.: "Having worked on The Hill Post-9/11/2001, I am convinced that [Capitol Police] have one of the most difficult jobs in all of D.C. They basically guard tourist attractions that must be open to all ... which - by the way - also double as prime terrorist targets."

Daddy's Roses speaks for lots of the folks down home: "I am a Georgian who is tired of being embarrassed by Cynthia McKinney. Why do they ALWAYS have to put the initials GA after her name on the TV screen?" Right: She's from Atlanta, which isn't the same thing as being from Georgia.

Shout out to AtlMalcontent, who says: "Keep in mind that McKinney has been in Washington since 1992 ... so if the cops were out to get her .. response time is lacking. ... My guess is that many minorities work for the Capitol Police. I can also safely assume that they're underpaid and overly familiar with diva-like behavior, from male and female politicians alike." Hey, pal, you should have seen the posse that used to follow Dick Gephardt around the Capitol ....

This morning, just to make sure, I checked DONKEY CONS (the index of congressional names runs two full pages) and there was Rep. McKinney on pages 122-123, seeking mercy for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal -- it's a mutual admiration, by the way. Come to think of it, that Capitol Hill police officer is lucky that McKinney wasn't wielding anything more dangerous than a cellphone.

And with a hat tip to California Conservative, we present LindaSOG's brilliant idea: