The art of politics

mckinney.jpgFormer Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga. — best known for questioning whether the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; her staunch anti-war and pro-human rights stances; her criticism of Israeli policy; and her dust-up with Capitol Police — is in the East Bay this week.

She’ll be the guest of honor at a World Can’t Wait — Drive Out the Bush Regime! reception 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley; the suggested donation of $100 to $200 will be split between World Can’t Wait and McKinney, who carries about $60,000 in campaign debt following her primary election defeat last year. RSVP to sfbayareaworldcantwait@yahoo.com, or (415) 410-4484; ask for the Cynthia McKinney Reception Committee. The event’s honorary co-hosts are Dennis Bernstein, executive producer of KPFA’s Flashpoints; Oakland civil rights attorney Robert Bloom; Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks; Grand Lake Theater owner Allen Michaan; Oakland Black Caucus President Geoffrey Pete; and Retro Poll Executive Director Dr. Marc Sapir.

On Thursday, McKinney will be at the Grand Lake for a screening of the new film “High Crimes” and a panel discussion on impeachment. Bernstein will be there too, as will Project Censored Director Peter Phillips and Larry Everest, author of “Oil, Power, and Empire.” Tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 at the door, or $7 for students, seniors and the disabled; $40 gets you into a 6 p.m. champagne reception with the speakers and filmmaker Jacob Clapsadle. For tickets, go to www.impeachbush-cheney.com or call (510) 845–4154.

campbell.jpgAlso Thursday, Tom Campbell — former U.S. Congressman, R-San Jose; former California Department of Finance director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and current dean of the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business — will join local GOP leaders to discuss the road to 2008.

The Alameda County Republican Party event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chiodo Art Development, 1933 Peralta St. in Oakland. Admission costs $50, or $100 for a VIP meet-and-greet and photo with Tom Campbell. County GOP Chairman and former Oakland City Councilman Dick Spees will take part, as will newly elected state GOP vice chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette. The event also includes a viewing of sculptor Mario Chiodo’s studio “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity,” a monument celebrating the community’s international diversity and creative entrepreneurial spirit; when completed, these 25 featured leaders who changed the world will be the largest bronze sculptures west of the Mississippi.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Oaklander

    It shows how far-out and out-of-touch the Brooks / Pete / Michaan group is (is Aimee Allison unavailable?) that they would host nutcase deposed Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, whose views on 9-11 are a bit more than just suspecting that Bush had ‘foreknowledge’ of the attacks. She travels the country hosting (debunked) conspiracy-theory conferences that are extraordinarily paranoid and, dare I say it, unpatriotic. I can see why some members of the local radical establishment would like to help McKinney pay campaign debts – she lost the primary when her incompetences and narrow ideology finally pissed off enough of her district. Surely Barbara Lee, whose miserable failure to bring home pork will doubtlessly go unnoticed at her State of the Distict speech next week, wants to avoid her soulmate’s fate. Lee would probably have met it already, if the local media’s slavish worship of ideologues didn’t prevent them from reporting on her numerous failures and lack of attention to the district.

  • OaklanderAlso

    All too often people who are ill-informed attempt to put down others on ideological grounds grasping at straws because they don’t really know much about an individual or what they truly stand for so they invoke stereotypes of leftists, caricatures you might say. In this particular example the writer (but evidently not a reader) is unaware that Cynthia McKinney lost the election primarily because of an open election where Republicans can cross over and because the AIPAC lobby funded another candidate and organized to defeat her.

    Anyone can engage in diatribes, even ideologues, but it’s better if they are informed diatribes.

  • Um, Cynthia McKinney DOES travel the country hosting conspiracy-theory seminars about 9-11, and they go much further than what any newspaper would print (the EBX, or maybe one if its sister papers, had an expose on 9-11 conspiracies two months ago). What was ill-informed about the first comment? McKinney lost her seat TWICE, primarily because of her far-out politics that did nothing for her constituents. Sound familiar?

  • OaklanderAlso

    As I stated and will state again, Cynthia McKinney lost her seat because AIPAC targetted her not once, but twice in an effort to strike fear into the heart of any other democrats or Repubs who might wish to stake a position on the middle east of fairness, i.e., supporting a two state solution, one for Israel and one for Palestine. McKinney was a brave woman from rural Georgia (where I bet you don’t want to live).
    The AIPAC lobby targetted her and another congressman for defeat for taking this position. The AIPAC lobby wasn’t happy with George Bush Sr., either, and this was a factor in his defeat for his second race for president.
    In addition, Georgia aparently passed a law that allows Republicans to cross register, unlike California, and vote for Democratic candidates in primaries.
    I don’t agree with Cynthia McKinney on the 9/ll conspiracy theories but then I don’t agree with everyone 100%. To the best of my knowledge reporter Josh Richman got it right about what she has been traveling outside the country doing lately.
    I cannot comment on whether she delivered for her district or not. But if you’re intimating Barbara Lee doesn’t, I don’t agree. It’s the Bush administration who cut adequate funding for Homeland Security for our port and distributes it instead to little towns like holeinthewallville, GA instead of where it is needed protecitng a major commercial port, thousands of dollars worth of investment and thousands of jobs.
    Hardly surprising, but then I read today George Bush is sending pallets of money to one Iraqi group who is allied with Al Queda. No surprises there at all either.

  • Josh Richman

    I hate to quibble with someone who just complimented my reporting (thanks!) but I want to address the issue of whether the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was the dominant factor in McKinney’s electoral defeats.

    McKinney lost the 2002 Democrat primary to Denise Majette, an African-American former judge who raised about $1 million more than she did. Majette got 61 percent of her money from out of state, which sounds like a lot until you see that 73 percent of McKinney’s money was from outside Georgia, too. And if you look at Majette’s biggest PAC donations, the largest chunk – more than $300,000 – came from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, followed by lawyers and lobbyists ($165,000) and miscellaneous business ($143,000). Majette beat McKinney 58 percent to 42 percent.

    McKinney won her seat back in 2004, and then lost last year’s Democratic primary to Hank Johnson, an African-American county commissioner, 59 percent to 41 percent. This time, 83 percent of Johnson’s money came from within Georgia while almost 54 percent of McKinney’s came from outside the state. Johnson got $65,002 from the legal sector; $49,565 from the real estate sector; $31,600 from retirees; and only $27,200 clearly identifiable as from the pro-Israel sector.

    There’s no doubt AIPAC wanted to see McKinney – a constant critic of Israeli policy – defeated, but the plain truth of it is that a wide swath of the business community both within and outside of her district wanted her gone, too. In fact, University of San Francisco politics professor Stephen Zunes – himself an outspoken critic of Israeli policy, and someone who professes to be a friend of McKinney’s – said last week that McKinney had told him she doesn’t believe AIPAC was the primary cause of her electoral defeats.

  • OaklanderAlso

    Mr. Richman, I’m sure the truth is more complicated than any of us know. Ms. McKinney’s actions in the altercation with the Washington police officer proved an embarrassment for many. And I read the head of the Fraternal Order of Police is encouraging the officer she allegedly struck to bring a civil lawsuit against Ms. Mckinney. It’s also true that conservatives have mobilized to defeat Ms. McKinney because she introduced impeachment proceedings against President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and Ms. Rice as one of her final acts in Congress. This action alone was probably enough to inflame many. I believe the day will ultimately arrive, maybe a good decade into the future should we all be around to witness it, when many in this country might realize that that was one of the most courageous and committed actions to the preservation of democracy and freedom of Americans in this country that a Congressperson can take. It’s no small action, in the unusual times we are living in, when four generals claim if Bush goes into Iraq they will resign.

  • Heather MacDonald

    I’m pretty sure OaklanderAlso meant Iran in the previous post, for clarity’s sake.

  • have you seen this music video about Cynthia McKinney. Its so great! you should cover it in a story.