Oh, no! Cynthia McKinney, the radical Democratic congresswoman from Georgia who lost her bid for reelection in the 2002 primary after hinting that George W. Bush knew about the Sept. 11 attacks in advance but let them happen anyway so as to benefit his corporate pals, will be back in the House in January, having won back her seat in November.
Of course, as the Weekly Standard’s Matthew Continetti reports, McKinney herself tells a different story about her defeat after 10 years of representing the heavily African-American southern deKalb County near Atlanta. Continetti writes:
“[S]he says…the ‘hostile corporate media,’ allied with Republicans, ‘repeated falsehoods’ about her, ‘distorted’ her positions, and drove her from ‘my seat.'”
And McKinney’s father, longtime Georgia state legislator Billy McKinney, had yet another explanation for why his daughter suddenly fell from grace. Continetti writes:
“Her father…shared his version with an Atlanta television reporter on August 19, 2002, the night before she lost. The reporter had asked Billy McKinney about his daughter’s use of a years-old, moth-balled endorsement from former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young. Such endorsements were worthless, the elder McKinney replied, because ‘Jews have bought everybody. Jews.’ In case the reporter didn’t understand, he spelled the word: ‘J-E-W-S.’ (A few weeks later, in a runoff against a political neophyte, Billy McKinney became a former Georgia state legislator.)”
“The actual reason why Cynthia McKinney left Congress in 2002 was that, for once, she couldn’t outrun her mouth. She had walked along the cutting edge of progressive politics for years–appearing with Louis Farrakhan, calling globalization a ’cruel hoax,’ advocating for Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe–but then, in a March 25, 2002, interview on KPFA Pacifica radio, she suddenly fell off.
“‘We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11,’ McKinney said that day. “What did this 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? What do they have to hide?’ McKinney thought she knew the answer. ‘What is undeniable,’ she explained, ‘is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11th.’
“It was all downhill from there. On April 12, 2002, a synopsis of the interview appeared in the Washington Post. Democrats began distancing themselves from McKinney. She released a statement admitting she was ‘not aware of any evidence’ proving ‘President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9/11,’ but ‘a complete investigation might reveal that to be the case.’ Then again, it might not. For that matter, McKinney might have had no idea what she was talking about.
“Appearing in print just months after the September 11 attacks, McKinney’s charges couldn’t be excused. Nor could her list of campaign donors, which included both terrorist sympathizers like Abdurahman Alamoudi, the former executive director of the American Muslim Council, and apparent actual terrorists like former college professor Sami Al-Arian. Nor could her October 12, 2001, letter to Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, in which she rebuked New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for returning the prince’s post-9/11 ‘gift’ of $10 million and urged bin Talal to donate the funds to ‘charities outside the mayor’s control,’ especially those that dealt with ‘poor blacks who sleep on the street in the shadows of our nation’s Capitol.’ Giuliani had returned the Saudi’s money because it came with the implicit condition that America ‘address some of the issues that led to such a criminal [9/11] attack,’ among them ‘its policies in the Middle East,’ where ‘our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek.’ To Giuliani, such a statement made excuses for terrorism. This wasn’t a problem for McKinney.”
This time around, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (registration required), old man McKinney was conspicously absent from his daughter’s campaign for the open seat created when its holder, Denise Majette, who defeated McKinney in the 2002 primary, decided to run for Zell Miller’s vacant Senate seat. And McKinney is now claiming that her remarks about 9/11 were vindicated by the recent investigative reports showing that there were lapses in intelligence that might have forewarned of the attacks. Journal-Constitution reporter Bob Kemper writes:
“‘People can’t help thinking about me when they hear about Richard Clarke,’ McKinney told From the Wilderness, an Internet publisher, in April, referring to the former White House intelligence officer who publicly confirmed pre-9/11 intelligence lapses and described a rush to war by the administration.”
Richard Clarke? That Richard Clarke, the thoroughly discredited Clinton-era official whose resignation Bush forced? Nonetheless, as Kemper noted, McKinney has generally confined her intelligence speculations to audiences in Europe, where she has been the toast of the Bush-loathing intelligentsia for the last two years.
Nonetheless, as Continetti points out, McKinney continues to vent her anti-Bush conspiracy theories on her website if not in Georgia:
“What’s striking about McKinney’s website is that, even as it attempts to ‘debunk’ a variety of ‘misinformation’ about her, it also takes great pains to claim vindication for that same misinformation. There is a link, for example, to ‘Exposed: The Carlyle Group,’ a 48-minute documentary that purports to reveal ‘the depth of corruption and deceit within the highest ranks of our government.’ There is a link to an article in the South DeKalb County CrossRoads News entitled ‘Where is Cynthia McKinney During 9/11 Hearings?’ in which the author describes being ‘enraged’ that McKinney was not included in the public hearings of the 9/11 Commission, since she ‘was the only elected official who had the guts’ to ‘bring President Bush’s war profiting scheme to the light.'”
That gal just won’t give up.