April 7, 2006

Schadenfreude Friday: Representin'

There's been quite a lot of press over the last few days surrounding the trials and tribulations of U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney. Some are even calling it the Great House of Reps Smackdown '06. That someone is, of course, me. Now that a grand jury's involved and some fellow representatives have been subpoenaed, the fun can really begin. In a nutshell, courtesy of CNN:

The Georgia Democrat didn't stop at an officer's request last week, then turned around and hit him after he grabbed her when she passed a security checkpoint, said Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer. "Any time an officer does not know who the person is coming in the building, I direct them to stop that person. And even if you're stopped, you're not supposed to hit a police officer. It's very simple," he said. "Even the high and the haughty should be able to stop and say, 'I'm a congressman,' and then everybody moves on."

For those of you not in-the-know, Gainer was one of the incredibly few competent people in DC government, as the second in command on the police force, before he was hired away by the Capitol Police. The other competent person in government is, apparently, in hiding in an undisclosed location.
Asked Wednesday to describe the incident, McKinney, who has claimed the incident is about racial profiling, said, "Let me first say this has become much ado about a hairdo."

Allow me to introduce a motion on the floor. I formally request that the following question be put to the good lady from Georgia - what the fuck? And let me congratulate Ms. McKinney for playing the race card so deftly.
McKinney has acknowledged she was not wearing the lapel pin given to lawmakers when the officer stopped her. The lawmaker said the identification pin is irrelevant. "It doesn't have a face or a photo ID on it, and quite frankly it can be duplicated," she said. McKinney and her attorneys insist that Capitol Police officers should be trained to recognize all 535 members of Congress on sight. Gainer said race was not an issue and that he has seen officers stop and question white, black and Latino members of Congress. He added that officers are given photos of new members of Congress, but with 30,000 employees in the Capitol complex and more than 9 million visitors a year, officers have "to make sure we know who is coming in the building."

Wait. Is this about race or security? I'm confused. And do you really want police, in one of the most important buildings housing one of the most important bodies, in the most powerful country in the free world to rely on their memories? I don't know about you but I barely recognize myself in the mirror in the mornings. While I realize I'm untrained in the crafty ways of the authorities, there's no way I'm recognizing 535 people.
McKinney has complained before of not being recognized as a member of Congress, both on Capitol Hill and at the White House. In 1998, she demanded and received an apology from the Clinton administration after White House guards stopped her.

Whoa. Whoa. Here's what makes me so angry about this story, other than the fact that this woman's a democrat and I truly wish she'd been from the other side of the aisle. Senators, representatives, even the President of the United States are public servants. They are there because, hopefully, they've decided that they want to make a difference. Sure, I realize that's idealistic as hell and I know someone like myself with such lofty ideals will surely be disappointed over and over again by a process and system that has taken on beauty pageant-like qualities and become nothing more than a popularity contest serving the rich and powerful elite. Instead of worrying about being recognized, Ms. McKinney, why don't you concentrate on doing what you're there to do.
  • Georgia's 4th District's median income is somewhere around $37,000 for individuals and $42,000 for families.
  • Over 10% of the individuals in the district live in poverty. More than 7% of all families live below the poverty line.
  • Statewide, there are approximately 120,000 single-parent families of which 13% fall below the poverty line.
  • Over 70% of the population doesn't have a college degree
  • 40% of the population 16 and older are unemployed.
  • Nearly 140,000 homes are without plumbing, kitchens or telephones.

You really want to be recognized for that? Here's my suggestion. Work your ass off. Do your best to do right by the people you represent. Increase education, standards of living and employment. Give those who've never believed they had a chance the ability to succeed. Then, and only then, will people recognize you for all the right, important reasons.

Posted by Chris at April 7, 2006 7:23 AM

That story is actually hard to believe. I had to go back and re-read parts.

And actually, she doesn't look that instantly recognizable to me.

Posted by: cas at April 7, 2006 7:37 AM

She wants a hat.

If they gave all congressmen/women huge fancy hats with tinsel and feathers and stuff then they would be easily recognisable. Especially if they were required, by law, to wear them at all times when not in their own homes. That would solve it.

I shoulda been a politico.

Posted by: doobyus at April 7, 2006 7:53 AM

The interview that I watched displayed her arrogance and I was sickened by her word and actions.

Posted by: Hazel Hazel at April 7, 2006 7:54 AM

Have you noticed that she bears a striking resemblance to Tempestt Bledsoe? Where's Dr. Huxtable when you need him to keep his kids in line?

Posted by: Mr. Big Dubya at April 7, 2006 8:08 AM

Oh I'll give her a hat alright. It's a big huge on with a sign that says, "HI! I'm a conceited, self serving ASS!!" Grrrr of all the damn nerve!! Hello!! You are there to HELP! Get the f*ck over yourself, be gracious because it is an HONOR to be where you are and walking where you are. Gawd this ticks me off.

*sigh* Stupid people suck.

Posted by: Lauren at April 7, 2006 8:15 AM

This secuity officer is supposed to know all the members by sight? Seriously? The secuity where I work always checks IDs every day, every time- and I don't work anywhere near special. If someone had been allowed to skirt security and it turned out that they only looked like a congressperson, guess who would have been fired. This woman needs a your-not-all-that smack and for that matter how come congresspeople don't have to go through security? Aren't they some of the bigger crooks we've got?

Posted by: Nic at April 7, 2006 8:15 AM

You would think that if she wants everyone to know that she's a member of Congress so badly that she'd be wearing that pin everywhere. Not to mention that she should have learned her lesson when she was stopped before for failing to wear it. I don't care who you are, you don't strike an officer, especially one that is there to protect you! I agree and I, too, must commend her for so daftly pulling the race card - well done madam, well done.

Posted by: Beth in StL at April 7, 2006 8:48 AM

I too wish she were from the other side of the aisle but maybe the two Homeland Security guys busted for pedophilia will help balance the scale. Fine upstanding citizens.

Posted by: ann adams at April 7, 2006 9:09 AM

Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Constitution wrote an editorial making the same points. What is it with elected people? Do they get to Washington and drink some purple kool-aid?

Posted by: Anne Glamore at April 7, 2006 9:31 AM

Was she friends with Zsa Zsa Gabor? Didn't she learn anything from that cop vs. well known person debacle? Sheesh!

Have a great weekend, Cactus Family!

Posted by: Shash at April 7, 2006 9:41 AM

Very good points. Apparently she believes it's too much to give the police her name when they ask. I don't care what freaking race you are, I find it equally retarded to hit a policeman under those circumstances.

To me she seems extremely unintelligent and only interested in the perks of being a politician. How did she ever get elected?? Don't answer, I really don't want to know.

Nice weekend


Posted by: AdventureDad at April 7, 2006 9:58 AM

Dude, W is totally right, I saw a thing about it on the news and I totally thought Tempestt Bledsoe went OFF on that dude from VH1 Celebrity Fat Club! I was all ready to bust that out, and dude totally beat me to it. Damn. Have to wake up earlier next time.

p.s. Rudy is hot. (now)

Posted by: andy at April 7, 2006 10:21 AM

This story really bewildered me. How hard would it have been to just follow the officer's instructions? I would think she would WANT the police stopping anyone they didn't recognize!

Posted by: Chris at April 7, 2006 10:33 AM

Hmmm--she sounds like an egomaniac diva who is just bitter because no one knows who she is :)

"Great House of Reps Smackdown '06"...I love it!

Posted by: Liz at April 7, 2006 10:35 AM

Disgusting behavior. I saw her first press conference right after it happened. My mind was racing with the disbelief that her own "people" (aides, assistants, advisors) actually let her step in front of a camera and say those things. All I kept imagining was a four inch long piece of duct tape zipping across her mouth...just to save her this embarrassment that I knew was going to come should she be allowed to "blah, blah, blah".

Now I'm all about her revealing who she really is: a ungrateful bitch to the constituents that elected her thinking that she would represent her district honorably--"for the people". Sorry, Georgia, this is "for her" and "about her".

"Dahling, let the Georgians eat cake."

Posted by: kristen at April 7, 2006 10:37 AM


Maybe they should go back to wearing powdered wigs.

Posted by: Gwen at April 7, 2006 10:40 AM

She is arrogant. And even back in the stone ages of 1989 when security at the Capitol was pretty loose you had to show a badge to get in through most doors, go through a metal detector and let them go through your bags. I had an internship for my Senator when I was in high school and I always had to show ID.

Now it may be she's pissed off because people like Trent Lott never have to show ID or something, but like you said, hey why not work your ass off for your consitutents. It will help them and raise your profile.

Posted by: bad penguin at April 7, 2006 10:42 AM

Wow, that's the first I'd heard of it. Just makes me proud to be an American, where anybody can grow up to realize their dream of being a pompous asshat.

And... "She said she would vote for a resolution expressing support for the efforts of Capitol Police." Right, because that makes it OK to smack a cop?

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at April 7, 2006 10:55 AM

Testify, my brother!

Posted by: wordgirl at April 7, 2006 11:42 AM

That story makes me want to punch somebody.

Look out, kids!

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at April 7, 2006 11:49 AM

From the last paragraph...
Increase...unemployment. Huh? Good morning, Mr. Cactus.

Posted by: Heather at April 7, 2006 12:34 PM

Once when I was up at the Capitol (I work 2 blocks away), one of the men I was with was telling me how the people that work there (as he used to) are expected to know who the congresspeople are and address them as "Good morning, Senator so-and so" etc. and pretty much treat them like they're Jesus back from the dead. Gah.

Reminds me of when Oprah wasn't allowed into that fancy store after it had closed last year...I thought, "It's CLOSED. COME. BACK. LATER."

Just because you're rich and powerful doesn't mean you don't have to follow the fucking rules!

Posted by: Liberal Banana at April 7, 2006 12:35 PM

has she met zsa zsa gabor? they'd get along GREAT!

Posted by: jodi at April 7, 2006 12:43 PM

You um..hit the ppoints well.. this has really stuck in my craw all week.. I have been almost apoplectic every time it has been on the news. I hope they just drop it - because all it is giong to do is just get her more attention if they prosecute. Although - if they do - I hope the punishment is a fine in the form of a donation to the memorial funds for the Capitol Police Officers who were killed in the line of duty at the Capitol protecting people like her. They were Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson. Anyway - that's all I got!! You said what needed to be said!

Posted by: Sue at April 7, 2006 12:58 PM

once again, you're the man

on the button

every time.

yesterday slurpees, today politics, tomorrow the world.

Posted by: the speckledpup at April 7, 2006 1:14 PM


Don't mean to shout, but these days I'm constantly reminded of one of my old Poli Sci professor's favorite quotes: "People get the government they deserve."

Posted by: Jason at April 7, 2006 1:15 PM

the part that surprises me is that the people in these govt. buildings are required to wear some sort of ID tag. Even you & I have to do that at our jobs.

Race....security....same thing these days, no?

Posted by: kalisah at April 7, 2006 1:27 PM

uhh...AREN'T required to wear ID tags, I mean

Posted by: kalisah at April 7, 2006 1:31 PM

You know, I never knew who she was either until this all happened. What a loon. You know what they say: come at all directions when you're losing your argument. And she did. I feel a Gary Condit moment coming on here (i.e. no re-election is imminent).

Posted by: Michelle at April 7, 2006 2:55 PM

I don't care who you are, if security asks you to stop, you don't hit them. I work in a building that has high level security. The Austrailian consulet is 4 floors below me, and our security guys have to stop everyone without the specific key given to us by the building. Beside the fact that the woman is a shit head for making it a race issue, she is bascially telling the guy that he shouldn't have been doing his job. One of our security guys does remember me, only because I make a point of talking to him. And cause he teased me when I was huge and pregnant. He once told me the people walking past him were mostly the smae to him, it was hard to distinguish one from another. What he does not have a problem seing is that stupid key card. So, he's doing his job.

Posted by: Melissa at April 7, 2006 3:09 PM

Dude, I actually LIKE it when people at my work don't recognize me. It's best to fly under the radar. But she? Wants to be recognized.

Hello lady....get over yourself!

Posted by: Isabel at April 7, 2006 4:42 PM

I taught my children that hitting was "bad". If they hit other kids at school they got sent home. If I hit people or policemen on the street, I get sent to jail.

She got an apology?
Even Zsa Zsa had to do hard time.

I'm bewildered by the audacity of our public servants.

Posted by: chantel at April 7, 2006 4:54 PM

I agree 100%!

Posted by: The Misanthrope at April 8, 2006 12:50 AM

As a resident of the 'great' state of Georgia, I can tell you that McKinney is a legend because of her asshat behavior. Down here, we're all shaking our heads and rolling our eyes at her... which we do frequently.

Posted by: Stacy at April 8, 2006 9:50 AM

We were just talking about this last night with another couple... So wierd that you mentioned this... But yes, I agree with ya.

Posted by: Lisa B at April 8, 2006 1:11 PM

Just goes to prove anyone can be an ass.

"Nearly 140,000 homes are without plumbing, kitchens or telephones." This is Georgia, Russia, right? Not Georgia, USA?

Posted by: Deb at April 9, 2006 7:29 AM

I don't know what her problem is, everyone knows all Congresspeople look alike. Shady and dishonest.

Posted by: Contary at April 9, 2006 9:47 AM

I kind of (okay totally) think she looks recognizable. This is not to say that she shouldn't have been wearing her badge.

But, if I am understanding what happened correctly (and Lord only knows if I am) she was breezing through and was grabbed (no other way for me to say this but I'm not implying she was assaulted) from behind and turned around and clocked him one.

I think if someone did the same to me - I'd hit them too. Now, having said that if you breathe on the police wrong they charge you with assault, so we'll see how that all goes down.

And even if she is (and she is) slightly irrational, I don't think that it's fair to place the entire state of Georgia on her back, as if those figures represent her failure as a representative.

/Babble :)

Posted by: C at April 10, 2006 1:29 PM