Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 1, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BURNING QUESTIONS....Question of the day: why does Cynthia McKinney refuse to wear the member's pin that identifies her as a member of congress to Capitol Hill police and allows her to bypass security? Are there any other congress critters who also decline to wear their pins? What does this pin look like, anyway? And how much does it cost to buy a fake one?

Anyone know the answers to any of these questions?

Kevin Drum 1:08 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (90)

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Cynthia McKinney thinks the rules apply to OTHER people.

Posted by: Bark At The Moon on April 1, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK


Did the Republican leadership of the House even give her the pin?

Posted by: Rick B on April 1, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Can we just get rid of the House? It's a damned circus. Better yet, enforce a dress code.

Posted by: BarrettBrown on April 1, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think a far more important question would be WHY does the whole notion of congressional security seem to ride on this little pin? if it's like an EZ Pass, why is it a pin and not a microchip? after all, it seems obvious that a pin could be put on by anybody, or even counterfeited. how big is it? how closely do the "checkpoint" people look at them? and why on earth is there a fuss over a stupid PIN when the Congresswoman is acknowledged to have been wearing her PICTURE ID which is most likely a hell of a lot bigger and more identifiable than a stupid little pin.

whys is it that Cheney can shoot somebody in the face with a gun and walk away scot free, Scalia can tell somebody to get f*&^ed in CHURCH, but the Cap Police are filing charges against Rep McKinney? let's imagine what happens when Tom DeLay or some other powerful white republican congressman (or even Katherine Harris) goes through the checkpoint without his "pin"-my guess is that they get greeted by name and waved on through. I'll bet if DeLay was grabbed by security he'd pull out his gun and shoot the guy.

the double standards being applied here are absolutely appalling.

Posted by: sp on April 1, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Careful--questions like this could get you branded a racist. Better do a quick update reiterating that you hate Bush.

Posted by: y81 on April 1, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Cynthia ain't got no pins. Cynthia don't need no pins. Cynthia don't have to show you any stinking pins.

Posted by: penalcolony on April 1, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

From McKinney's statement:

It is true that at the time I was not wearing my pin. But many Members of Congress aren't wearing their pins today. Just in the last hour at least 8 Members of Congress have been spotted speaking from the well of the House without their pins and even more have been seen on the Hill today not wearing their Congressional pin. How many of them were stopped by Capitol Hill Police?

I realize that McKinney is probably not taking enough responsibility for her role in this incident, but I also think liberals need to recognize and condemn the role that institutional racism played as well.

Posted by: WPB on April 1, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

To which I should probably add . . .

Here in D.C., it's not exactly unusual to hear of a member of Congress acting like they own the planet; I could name many a name, ex-Sen. Bob Packwood being one of the worst. They don't often hit people, though.

Posted by: penalcolony on April 1, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a good url where you can see a lot of reps wearing the pin. A lot of staffers wear similar pins (because they are douche bags) but they aren't the same. I'm sure a fake one is easily available.

Posted by: Drew Miller on April 1, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

The pin is probably about 3/4" around with a gold hue. I doubt it's used to identify a member of Congress (in the sense that driver's license might identify someone accurately) so much as to help the guards more quickly learn who they are.

It's also used as an image/status icon around DC.

Posted by: the good reverend on April 1, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Was it really Cynthia McKinney or some look-a-like sent to kill Tom Delay -- finishing the job that time travelling cyborgs failed to complete in 1998?

If it really was Cynthia McKinney, she should be commended for exposing this weakness in our national security. Any terrorist could have slapped a toupee on, a cheap suit, and masqueraded as one of dozens of non-descript midwestern Republican congressmen.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 1, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

"I am the government.."
Tom Delay

Posted by: apeman on April 1, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Must be Bush's fault. Has to be. We all know Bush hates Black people.

Posted by: MountainDan on April 1, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

God I hope anyone with any sense will not touch upon "institutional racism" when discussing this matter in the media. It's just makes the middle class/independent voters sick when a liberal (and I'm a proud liberal) pulls this rabbit out of their hat when they should be offering no defense of this hothead Congresswoman at all.

Posted by: padcrasher on April 1, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine the uproar if Tom Delay had punched a cop ?!?!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 1, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Those pins sound too small. Better they should be made to wear little berets with propellors on top.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on April 1, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Look, people, McKinney isn't in trouble for not wearing her pin.

She is in trouble because she punched a cop.

Posted by: Moon Over Miami on April 1, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Here is Lapel pin, House of Representatives.

But it is for the Texas House, and it for sale by Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

Posted by: MonkeyBoy on April 1, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

RE Frequency kenneth's post:Mckinney's point, to the degree that she has one, is that someone like Delay wouldn't have been stopped for not wearing his pin. he would have been recognized and deferred to. he wouldn't have been put in that situation because the guards would have made a greater effort to memorize his face.

There is some validity to this. Part of what's insidious about how race works on our perceptions is that we usually know someone is of a particular race at least a split second before we figure out if we recognize them as an individual or not. Since she seems to have had troulbe being recognized before, she could do two different things here, either accept that she has to wear the pin, that she has a greater chance of being misrecognized, or reject that and refuse to wear the pin at all. She seems to have chosen the latter.

While I sympathize, and it is to some degree a matter of "racism"-not as in race hatred, but as in pervasive race-consciousness operating in a system that is supposed to be color blind. On the other hand, she seems to be a total hothead, and there are much more important race related issues to draw attention to than how a member of congress, someone who's effectively joined the privelidged class, is or isn't deferred to.

Posted by: URK on April 1, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

. . . someone like Delay wouldn't have been stopped for not wearing his pin. he would have been recognized and deferred to. he wouldn't have been put in that situation because the guards would have made a greater effort to memorize his face.

Or his rug.

Posted by: kc on April 1, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Memorizing 500+ faces sounds like pretty lousy security unless you have the entrances guarded by idiot savants.

I've had African Americans interpret my poor memory and general lack of communication skills as racism too. The 23 year old intern thing definitely deserved two punches though.

Posted by: B on April 1, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine the uproar if Tom Delay had punched a cop ?!?!

Yes, everyone would have been shocked that Delay didn't just pay him off outta habit.

Posted by: ckelly on April 1, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

FREQUENCY KENNETH: Can you imagine the uproar if Tom Delay had punched a cop ?!?!

Yes, I can. FOX would be in a tizzy over the cop's rudeness and audacity. How dare he lay his hand on such an honorable congressman. He's lucky Delay is so forgiving or, instead of just pushing at the cop with his cell phone, he'd have knocked him cold! And while he'd have insisted the officer be fired, out of compassion and generosity he'd have decided not to press charges. Meanwhile, a full-scale smear campaign would be launched to show what a leftist hothead the cop was.

Posted by: jayarbee on April 1, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

McKinney can't remember to wear her pin, but she expects the guard to remember her new hair style, her clothes, her added age, her added weight?

And who's to say a Congress person can't bring in a weapon for some destructive purpose?

McKinney has an attitude.

Cheers for the guard!

Posted by: dahreese on April 1, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

The way Dewms have piled on McKinney is disgusting. I don't know the whole story yet, but as far as I know most people dumping on her know less than I do. This is definitely a time to wait and figure out what actually happened, rather than to respond from the gut. (As of right now I think that McKinneyis mostly right.)

Posted by: Humble blogger on April 1, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

All the big office buildings here--and I assume, in DC--have security people at the entrance. And they all have routines, which vary by building.

But the best security routine they can provide is: The same guards are there every day.

My office is secure, not because "some security guys " work there, but because Sam, Jim and Tayo work there. They're there every day and they know who works there. About 5 floors are taken up by a Bible college with hundreds of students and by the second month of each semester, they get waved in because Sam, Jim and Tayo know them. They know the FedEx guy and the cleaning staff and the fella who makes deliveries for the deli around the corner. And by extension, they also know who just drifted in off the street. More complex or expensive technology isn't going to work better than this.

And it isn't just this one building. The security of every office building (and any doorman apartments) I've been in since 9/11 depends on the same mechanism.

But these aren't major terrorist targets, and their security isn't on the public dime--unlike Congress.

Capitol Hill cops don't know McKinney? Why the hell not? Why do I get a better security system than Congress?

Posted by: Molly, NYC on April 1, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Cynthia McKinney sounds unpleasant. The cops sound like they could make more of an effort to learn who she is, especially if Slate is right and there have been repeat issues.

But THIS is the burning issue for you Kevin?
Or ar you simply trying to slam a dem like the media did with all those artificially balanced Abramoff stories?

Posted by: Newton Minnow on April 1, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

If she CHOOSES not to wear a pin, she faces consequences. Isn't that the standard?

Posted by: Nepentherising on April 1, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

wouldn't problems like this be solved if we simply required congresspeople to go through security like everyone else? what's the big problem there?

Posted by: Don on April 1, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Out of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, 42 are black.(PDF) Less than 10 percent. The 2000 Census estimated the population of the United States to be 14.6 percent black.

Race did play a role here and liberals are the last people who should be denying that.

Posted by: WPB on April 1, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

The pin was irrelevant. If they arrest Cynthia McKinney, they're just ratcheting up the culture war another notch. I'm ready rumble.

Neal Boortz said Cynthia McKinney looked like a "ghetto-slut".

I think Neal Boortz is a nasty pig who broadcasts his obscene, misogynistic, racist bile because lots of so-called Americans share his sentiments.

Cynthia McKinney has my respect and support. I'll take it to the streets against these man-pigs.

The Epic Humiliation of Ben Domenech

Posted by: Balzac on April 1, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

When I went to school it was ok to kick our teachers in the gonads if they only as much as put a hand on our shoulder. It's called reflexive response or something.

Posted by: ogmb on April 1, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Where do you people get off coming down on McKinney on this? She's entitled to the same respect, and the same recognition factor as every other Member of Congress.

Plus, this isn't the first time she's been hassled.

Read below: Guards didn't afford her equal privileges when she had her pin. So she forced them to recognize her for who she is as a person -- and rightly so. She had to take an unbelieveble amount of shit merely for speaking her mind and the truth about Bush and 9-11. And some guard STILL assumed that her whtie aide was really Rep. McKinney.

Because some people never learn, people like Cynthia McKinney have to fight their whole lives just for the equal treatment, the average experience, that you all take for granted your whole lives.

She fights so that you won't have to.

Cops Have History of Mistaking McKinney
By Justin Rood - March 31, 2006, 12:22 PM
Over at TPM, Josh asked for backstory on Cynthia McKinney's (D-GA) PunchGate. After all, lawmakers don't often erupt into violence, even feisty ones like McKinney.

Well, it seems that cops have a hard time recognizing McKinney as a lawmaker. From a 2002 Slate profile of the congresswoman:

In August 1993, during her first term in office, a Capitol Hill police officer tried to prevent her from bypassing a metal detector, as members of Congress are allowed to do. For years afterward, The Hill reports, the Capitol Police pinned a picture of McKinney to an office wall, warning officers to learn her face because she refuses to wear her member's pin. (And because officers are innately suspicious of a black woman with braided hair and gold shoes.) Five years later, she blasted White House security after guards thought her 23-year-old white aide was the congresswoman.

I wouldn't say such treatment warrants violence -- but you gotta admit, most lawmakers probably don't have to deal with stuff like this.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 1, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

She doesn't wear it because her while male counterparts don't have to.

Although, most of them have been there a wee bit longer...

Posted by: Crissa on April 1, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the fine Representative did not wear the pin because of what it represents - Plus, the little tag showing a trough with an overly sated pig gorging does not go with her decor.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 1, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Cynthia is a jerk and a joke but the Capitol Police could have handled the incident more discreetly.

Posted by: Emma Zahn on April 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

She's been there 11 years.

Posted by: WPB on April 1, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's not like she's a newbie. She served for 10 years before being defeated for one term, then re-elected.

For what it's worth, she has a very polite statement expressing her appreciation of the Capitol Police on her House website.

Posted by: biggerbox on April 1, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I've had African Americans interpret my poor memory and general lack of communication skills as racism too. The 23 year old intern thing definitely deserved two punches though.

How about 'Uhh, have we met, congresswoman? I'm sorry to delay you, I'm guard so-and-so, and you're from?'

Tact. But guards don't have that, they have badges instead.

Posted by: Crissa on April 1, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing to read the comments from the lefties. They blame the cop. Typical.

I predict that by the end of the month, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will be demanding the policeman involved be disciplined. And they will demand all cops take sensitivity training. Then, the NAACP will honor McKinney with the "2006 Image Award."

Posted by: Paddy Whack on April 1, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Christ, I hate being a Democrat some days. Every time this stupid bitch opens her mouth my party loses 10,000 more suburban votes at a time when the electoral terrain is better for Democrats than it has been at any time in the last 20 years. Rep. McKinney. Please. Apologize to the cop, put on your goddamned lapel pin, and shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Pat on April 1, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK


"Meanwhile, a full-scale smear campaign would be launched to show what a leftist hothead the cop was."

They'd probably play up his union membership to get the American people hating this selfish bastard trying to get rich off honest taxpayers.

Posted by: I luv usa on April 1, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

If the cop presses charges [maybe the union will demand he does] and this case goes before a D.C. jury, the ugly aspects of Black entitlement to special privileges will be part of the political campaign, whether we like it or not. Remember OJ anybody? Our country does not need more of this, I really wish the Dems would tell her to put a sock in it.

Posted by: minion of rove on April 1, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a brief prcis of her record. She is an outspoken person with a solid progressive voting record. No wonder she is anathema to the Right. There is more than a whiff of racism in this incident. The guard improperly grabbed her and I am sure her responses was a reflex action.
There is no doubt that had this happened to a Republican member, inconceivable as that may be, the guard would have been fired on the spot.

Amazing to read the comments from the lefties. They blame the cop. Typical. Paddy Whack

Right on cue, the moonbat smear artists spout off. Even a right-wing hack like Chris Matthews who says he used to be a guard commented that it was their duty to recognize congresspersons.

Posted by: Mike on April 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Actually HERE is a brief prcis of her record: She is a whacko who has lost more votes for Democrats in her career than she has ever gained. If I were Karl Rove, I would pay her way first class to travel all around the United States talking to audiences about how the cop profiled her and how Bush knew about 9/11 and any other thing that popped into her stupid fucking head.

Posted by: Pat on April 1, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

The problem here, actually, is that they allow any Members to pass without a check or even a greeting. If the eliminate that exception (more like a rule than an exception), then there would be no problem. Every Congressperson should exepect to be stopped unless they had a pass.

I mean, what's the point of security if you offer everybody a way around it?

Posted by: Libby Sosume's evil self on April 1, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Let me add another politically incorrect factoid to the mix. I think the poor guard's recollection or recognition ability was affected more by the fact of McKinney's appearance as a woman than because she's black. Until very recently, I've always considered McKinney to be a very attractive woman. Look at her picture on the wikipedia precis above and then at her picture today. I could see that change causing a guard to mistake her more than the diabolical racial angle being bandied about.

Posted by: minion of rove on April 1, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I just can't take anything the bitch does/says seriously. It was all her fault. Always. No matter the facts, it was all her fault.

The voters got ride of her and then redistricting let the freak back in. Hell and damnation! that is a wretched, wretched female. And the only reason I didn't use the b-word is that I would hate to insult the female dog population.

She gives women a bad name. She gives African Americans a bad name. She gives southerners a bad name. She gives Georgians (at least those that didn't voter for her - the others deserve have that wench represent them) a bad name. She is about 10 steps away from giving humanity a bad name.

Deep breath........ Can you tell how much I absolutely loathe that, that female?

Posted by: ET on April 1, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK


Being a Democrat is like trying to herd cats.

We've all been dealt a hand to play, each of us different. Did she provoke a confrontation? Was the guard a racist?

It's impossible to tell without being there.

Posted by: Tripp on April 1, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not nearly as important as a Congresswoman, but when I worked at my office building, the security guys knew me by name and face. To the point where they would let me in the locked doors after-hours. It hardly seems like too much to ask to recognize a Congresswoman.

Posted by: Mo on April 1, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

A few months ago, the Capitol Police apologized to Beverly Young, wife of US Rep. C.W. "Bill' Young (R-FL), and to Cindy Sheehan for ejecting them from President Bush's State of the Union address.


Per the AP, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said the "'policy and procedures were too vague,'" and that the "'failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine.'"

The story continues: "For his part, Bill Young said he was not necessarily satisfied. 'My wife was humiliated,' he told reporters. He suggested that 'sensitivity training' may be in order for Capitol Police."

A couple months later, a Capitol Police officer improperly grabs a Democratic member of congress who is legally going about her business and the Republicans decide to have her arrested? Suddenly the failure to adequately train the officers is no longer Chief Gainer's concern. What's wrong with this picture?

I would be willing to bet there is a list, secure in the bowels of the Capitol Police archives, of occasionally tussles between members of congress and capitol police, and in no case was a prosecution pursued. I remember, vaguely, that Tom DeLay shoved a police officer a year or so ago in the halls of the US Capitol -- I'm not completely certain, it may have been another member. These things happen.

Posted by: runic on April 1, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The sad fact is that Rep. McKinney is a complete nobody as a Member. The only think she is known for after more than a decade on the Hill is saying stupid and irresponsible things off the cuff and crap like this, where she acts like a prima donna and gets into an embarassing physical confrontation because some 22-year old Capitol Hill cop processeing 1,a day 000 tourists through the door of the House Office Building doesn't recognize it is her running past the metal detector. In politics, just like in most businesses, the heaviest hitters, the truly big deals, are usually the nicest, most cooperative, and down to earth people. They have the juice and they have nothing to prove. It is the insecure nobodies like Rep. McKinney who walk around with some chip on their shoulder getting into shit like this. If she was an accomplished legislator, believe me, in "power-centric" Washington, everyone -- including the guard -- would know her.

Posted by: Pat on April 1, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Pat - you may be right, she is a 'nobody' in Congress. But so are about 300 of the people elected to Congress. There is no justification for punching a cop.

Posted by: Moon Over Miami on April 1, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't this a Seinfeld episode...

WALKER #1: Hey, where's your ribbon?

KRAMER: Oh, I don't wear the ribbon.

WALKER #2: Oh, you don't wear the ribbon? Aren't you against AIDS?

KRAMER: Yeah, I'm against AIDS. I mean, I'm walking, aren't I? I just don't wear the ribbon.

WALKER #3: Who do you think you are?

WALKER #1: Put the ribbon on!

WALKER #2: Hey, Cedric! Bob! This guy won't wear a ribbon!

BOB: Who? Who does not want to wear the ribbon?

Posted by: josef on April 1, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

When I went to school it was ok to kick our teachers in the shoulder if they only as much as put a hand on our gonads.

Posted by: Joe Victor on April 1, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

When I went to school the Teachers all had wood Paddles with holes drilled in them.

Bend over Grab your Ankles cause it didnt make a sheet wether your parents approved or not.

In Texas that was "Higher Education"

No Articles, No Print, No Big Deal. Just like this Crap about two hotheaded damn fools

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 1, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Amazing to read the comments from the lefties. They blame the cop. Typical."

The police officers job is to know the 535 congress critters. I couldn't do it today, but if they offered me the salary of that policeman, I'd have his job. He can guard warehouses.

Posted by: slanted tom on April 1, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Cynthia McKinney is always identifiable by her right cross, no need for a pin.

Posted by: Matt on April 1, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Considering the mood of the country, would you identify yourself in a crowded public place as a member of Congress if you didn't have to?

Posted by: buddy66 on April 1, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Two questions:

In regard to the "punch" - Was it a dismissive backhanded slap that resulted in minor knuckle contact or was it an elbow cocked back pugilistic uppercut? The howls from the right seem to indicate the cop is layed up in a hospital drinking his meat through a sippy straw after his bout with skull crackin' McKinney, but having been hit by SEVERAL women over the years I can only remember one that didn't elicit my unrestrained laughter.

In regard to the pin - What exactly is the function of this pin? Surely not security? It looks like a cheap tin campaign button so besides identifying the rubberstamp republicans and the downcast democrats, what's the point of wearing it. PLEASE DON'T TELL ME THIS IS WHAT PASSES FOR SECURITY! I could make those pins given high enough resolution pics to work from.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 1, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Can you imagine the uproar if Tom Delay had punched a cop ?!?!"

Probably a little more than when Cheney shot a lawyer.


OK, so Kevin wants to draw out the race card, I can surely oblidge, with apologies to any Black friends I have left.

African Americans have a genetic tendency to punch cops. As do aging Yippees, ex Weathermen, and dejected libertarians. This gene called "amino acido reflexo pig whammie" was discovered at the University of Cal in Berkely in the late 60s, and kept hidden from the public for years, mainly as an accomodation to affirmative action.

Jerry Rubin, in a libertarian streak, stole the secret genetic code and began passing it around to his friends during sexual foreplay, creating the Yippee generation. The result is history, of course, the libertarian streak was born until the gene mixed with the White Anglo Protestant gene called "amino white bread placebo" and the all the trotskyites tuned into neo-con communists.

Thereupon, Teddy became a fat pig and Nancy Pelosi put us all on government check.

Cheney would have shot lawyers anyway and has nothing to do with this.

Any other issues?

Posted by: Matt on April 1, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Research in neurobiology has shown that when someone is shown a photo of a person of another race, the amygdala is stimulated (the part of the brain associated with aggression and fear).

But when someone who's got lots of experience interacting with people from different races is shown a similar picture, the amygdala is not stimulated at all. Or, when people are presented with evidence that a particular person is an individual(i.e., a person with a fucking life) and not just a generalized member of a particular racial group, the amygdala also does not register stimulation.

Looks like we've got plenty of amygdala stimulation going on in many of the comments upthread.

Posted by: Wonderin on April 1, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

The gist of Cynthia McKinney's argument, if I understand it correctly, is that if she were Tom DeLay the guard would have let her pass.

I don't know about the rest of you, but where I work, it doesn't matter if you've been there three weeks or thirty years, if you don't have your ID badge when you enter the front gate, you don't get in. No exceptions, whether you're the janitor or the plant superintendent.

So if what McKinney says is true, then the real issue isn't her behavior, but the practices of Capitol Hill security. I suspect McKinney's lightning rod personality is being used as an excuse in order so that an investigation into the shoddy practices of the security staff can be avoided.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 1, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

All I know is that there are several other black women in the House, and they seem to be able to navigate the Capitol complex and their busy schedules without getting into a fist fight witht the cops. This is McKinney's FIFTH incident. You be the judge.

Posted by: Pat on April 1, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

And WHY do members get to avoid the metal detector in the first place?

Those of us in the SF Bay Area remember when a "member" (of the Board of Supervisors, i.e. County Commissioners) bypassed the metal detector to bring in a gun and shoot the Mayor and another of the Supervisors.

Whose to say a member won't go crazy & bring in a gun.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 1, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

having been hit by SEVERAL women over the years I can only remember one that didn't elicit my unrestrained laughter.

Are you wearing an ankle bracelet or do you just have a very odd sense of humor?

Posted by: k on April 1, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

If by odd sense of humor you mean is it my own stupidity that keeps getting me hit then the answer is yes. I have this bad habit of saying what is going through my mind at the instant it is going through my mind and seem to be lacking much in the way of filters. As an example, once when I was parked with a girlfriend (many years ago) observing the starlight in her eyes I mentioned that her eyes reminded me of my gerbil. She took it like I just told her she had the eyes of a rodent and hit me when all I meant was that they were large, dark, and very shiny. Hey, I'm not a poet, sue me.

I was only attacked by one woman who meant me actual harm and it was a dispute over custody... of pet rats. Don't ask.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 1, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

If it had been Tom Delay who was not recognized, the guard would not have run up and grabbed his arm. He would have just said excuse me sir, do you have id. If he had grabbed me, I would have punched him too.

Posted by: JT on April 2, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Eric, dude, that's just freaky, if I may say so. Who got the rats?

Posted by: shortstop on April 2, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

It's really interesting to read the speculation about the un-named members of the House who don't wear their pins (although, you know, what they wear on the floor doesn't prove what the wore through the door); and it's fascinating to wonder what would have happened to the Hammer.

But, you know...

Cynthia? Wear your damned pin.

That way, when you get hassled, everyone won't point out that, you know, you weren't wearing the pin.

And, if you forget the pin, go through the metal detectors, just like me.

I KNOW it's a bitch.

It's a bitch to try to defend someone going out of their way to be obtuse, too.

Posted by: Lettuce on April 2, 2006 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

It would appear that to a number of commentators that there is nothing more frightening than a black woman who stands up for herself. And that an even greater number are willing to simply nod their heads and pass along the libels of Ms. McKinney's character.

Try checking out this Greg Palast counter to all the vile hyperbole leveled against her


Posted by: Dazir on April 2, 2006 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

Poor judgment on her part, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that she had been targeted by the fascists in Washington for harassment, because of her opposition to the Iraq Occupation.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 2, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

But, you know...

Cynthia? Wear your damned pin.


And plus black people should stop complaining about being pulled over, and just observe the speed limit like everyone else!

Posted by: pseudonymous on April 2, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Flip comment. If it is profiling, how come the other black women in the House seem to be able to do their jobs without REPEATEDLEY getting into altercations with the police? Any ideas?

Posted by: Pat on April 2, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's really important for blacks to behave (and look, and dress) like whites -- as much as possible. They should obey laws more carefully than whites do, drive one mile under the speed limit, and wear their credentials (this is important) where they can be seen on, of course, threads that could have come from Armani or whatever else is popular in Congress now.

This different color, different way-of-speaking, stuff is just not American. Come on, try harder, Cynthia. You've made a good start by having a perfectly decent white name, by the way, not like the ones that start with "La." Just because you think you should be equal to, say, Katherine Harris or Jean Schmidt, both much admired white ladies in Congress, doesn't mean you are.

Posted by: PW on April 2, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

If it had been Tom Delay who was not recognized, the guard would not have run up and grabbed his arm. He would have just said excuse me sir, do you have id. If he had grabbed me, I would have punched him too.

Posted by: JT

She was asked to stop and kept on going that is why the police officer grabbed her arm. She also appears to have a history of this kind of behavior. Punching a police officer is totally wrong unless you are truly being assaulted which is not the case here.

What is funny is that she has resorted to the tired old 'it was because I'm black' excuse. That really diminishes the credibility of other blacks that are truly stopped for just being black.

You are welcome to punch a police officer anytime you want. I can assure you. Your dumb ass will land in jail after the cops get done kicking it.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on April 2, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Cynthia McKinney's quote on KFPA Pacifica radio on March 25, 2002: "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11... Those engaged in unusual stock trades immediately before September 11 knew enough to make millions of dollars from United and American airlines, certain insurance and brokerage firms' stocks. What did the Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?"

Posted by: twwren on April 2, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Surely a video of this incident exists. While I have found McKenney's politics sometimes bad (lot's of antisemetic remarks eminating from her campaign against Deniese Maijette and father, Ga. Rep. Billy McKLenney is often a embarrassment), she has in fact been the target of racist and bigoted attacks; I cannot claim she is improperly "playing the race card".
People seem to be lining up here based on how they feel about lightning-rod McKenney, instead of facts in the case, which are confusingly and contradictarily reported.
And the attacks and anger are more about the politically incorrect McKenney and her entirely sensible mootings over possible Administration's possible complicity in 9/11, and what she symbolizes, rather than an altercation at the Cogressional offices...

Posted by: Mr. Bill on April 2, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't bet that the pin which the congresswoman declines to wear is a simple little piece of jewelry. Most likely it is a chip, and she probably fears it is a bug. Still, she could wear it long enough to get through security.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on April 2, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

I believe it is possible that the Democratic Party is complicit in the 9/11 attack in retaliation for Bush v. Gore. I would like to know what Democratic Party operatives knew about 9/11 and when they knew it. Of course, I don't have any facts to back this up, but my mooting are entirely sensible given my political orientation, the only relevent consideration.

Posted by: twwren on April 2, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, twwren, that's very politically incorrect of you.

Posted by: Mr. Bill on April 2, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting to see how many posters think it's ok when the bad police behavior is directed at an African-American.

All the bs ad hominum attacks on McKinney are simply feeble attempts to justify the inexcusable.

What we need is real answers to the questions about wearing the pin, recognizing members of Congress, etc.

Posted by: zak822 on April 2, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting to see how many posters think it's ok when the bad police behavior is directed at an African-American.

Posted by: zak822

It is interesting how many people excuse poor conduct by people and wave the race card justify it. Bad police behavior is not the issue by all accounts and Mckinney's only defense is that the cop should have recognized her. No matter how she was wearing her hair or was dressed.

Stopping when asked to by a police officer is proper and courteous behavior and would have only taken a minute out of her precious day. Instead she chose boorish behavior and struck the police officer. Spin it anyway you want but her actions were wrong. She has a history of less than civil behavior and this type of conduct should not surprise anyone

Posted by: Fat White Guy on April 2, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

No offense, but if I lived in DC and someone grabbed my arm with my purse on it from behind, and I wasn't expecting it theres a real possibility I'd punch first and ask questions later. We don't know what was going through her mind because she is not talking. Until the arrest affadavit is released and the officer version is official what people thinks happened is speculation.

Posted by: aline on April 2, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that nobody has mentioned how much more likely it is that security guards would remember McKinney over the non-descript Midwestern Congressmen hypothesized by tbrosz. (Not that I read every single comment -- just the first 30 or so.)

I mean... it's very odd that McKinney wouldn't benefit in these circumstances from her appearance. Wouldn't be much MORE recognizable.

All in all it's just a very odd situation. And more than a little bit of McKinney's making it seems. But odd nonetheless.

Posted by: Birkel on April 2, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

And twwren ably demonstrates why intelligent political dialogue has become impossible...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 2, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

She's my Rep and I'd vote for her again based simply on her voting record (I agree with her votes about 95% of the time), but...

...she's a total nutcase when she's not voting. If news came out that she was hauled away in a straight-jacket, I wouldn't be at all surprised. My district voted her out for a much saner Democratic alternative back in 2002 but the replacement went for a hopeless Senate run in 2004 and Cynthia took the seat back.

Posted by: brianinatlanta on April 3, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

The Capital Police work for Congress, not the Executive Branch. In other words, Cong. McKinney was this cop's boss. So how did she behave with her employee? Like a little tyrant, ignoring the rules that are set up to ensure her safety, and then hitting him for trying to protect her by enforcing those rules. There is no conceivable excuse for her behavior: rude at best, overbearing and arrogant at worst. Didn't her mother ever teach her manners?

Posted by: DBL on April 3, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Steven Kriz:

I was responding to Mr. Bill's comment preceding mine. It's called parody. Mr. Bill got it.

Posted by: twwren on April 3, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

mckenny hit the gaurd.

well well mckenny so you think you got a black pass.think the second time. you put your pants
on the same way the rest of us americans do.
if you can't stand being called on for a silly
let down of your own, then go home.
how many times have you left the pin off to get this show all??????????

Posted by: james gillum on April 4, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK



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