Saturday, April 01, 2006

Is McKinney's best defense a good offense?

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) has once again managed to draw negative publicity. In case you missed it, she may have charges brought against her for assaulting a Capitol Police officer.

This is the same Cynthia McKinney who took a voter-mandated hiatus from congress in 2002 when she said that the Bush administration had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and deliberately did nothing to stop them. She managed to regain her seat by default in 2004.

Members of congress are allowed to by-pass security checkpoints when entering Capitol facilities. But when entering a House office building last Wednesday, she was challenged by a police officer who didn't recognize her. When she ignored a request to stop, she was confronted physically by officer Paul McKenna. Rather than flashing her ID and continuing on her way, she whacked McKenna in the chest with her cell phone.

There were a few factors contributing to the incident:
  • Ms. McKinney had just undergone an "extreme makeover" of sorts, and was not immediately recognizable.
  • Members of congress are supposed to wear lapel pins identifying themselves as such, which Ms. McKinney was not wearing.
  • Ms. McKinney is a supremely arrogant ass who believes herself to be above the rules.
Faced with at least a public condemnation for her actions, Ms. McKinney did what comes naturally for her: she played the race card and portrayed herself as the victim during her 35 minute press conference on the subject last night. Ms. McKinney stated, in part:
This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman. I deeply regret that this incident occurred and I am certain that after a full review of the facts, I will be exonerated.
Her attorney, James Myart, was even more to the point:
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, like thousands of average Americans across this country, is, too, a victim of the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials because of how she looks and the color of her skin ... (she was) just a victim of being in Congress while black.
But it seems that wasn't her office's first reaction. In a draft of an unreleased statement from Ms. McKinney's minions, Ms. McKinney claims to having been "bodyblocked" by the officer, and goes on to say:
It is ... a shame that while I conduct the country's business, I have to stop and call the police to tell them that I've changed my hairstyle so that I'm not harassed at work.
So it appears that some time between Wednesday and Friday, her and her staff decided to switch from a defensive, almost contrite stance to an offensive position. And by that I mean offensive both in terms of attacking her critics and offensive to anyone with a shred of decency.

Update: You just know the security checkpoints at capitol facilities are festooned with video cameras, so we'll have to wait and see just what really happened. But I'm not betting on any video being in Ms. McKinney's favor.

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