I keep thinking that I've seen the worst from right-wing lunatics - but then they continue to outdo themselves. This is just astonishing! And these are the people riding high in the polls, set to "take back America" from our last year and a half of relative sanity? What has happened to my country?
PZ Myers describes this pretty well:
Their latest embarrassment is yet another piece of work from James O'Keefe, the young mastermind who dressed up as a pimp and dishonestly edited a videotape to make ACORN look like it supported prostitution, and then also bungled a break-in to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's Louisiana office, and is now continuing his career as a professional idiot and thug with a flopped attempt to catch a CNN reporter using her sexual wiles to bamboozle him.
It's unbelievably stupid. The reporter gave no indication of flirting for information, but O'Keefe apparently assumed that any blonde reporter was a bimbo. He invited her to come to his boat for an interview, and then stocked it with all the paraphernalia a misogynist might imagine a woman would find irresistible: porn mags, dildos, handcuffs, mirrors on the ceiling, that sort of thing, and hidden cameras. The plan was to have Abbie Boudreau show up, wave a dildo seductively at her, and when she succumbed to his charms to get top secret Republican operative information from him, catch it all on tape.
It's just astonishing. Where did O'Keefe get his ideas about how to seduce a woman, from men's wank magazines?
(Just to be clear, that fake videotape wasn't "bungled." It was deliberately faked, and it accomplished its purpose, the destruction of ACORN. To these people, the truth is not important. What's important is the political impact. That fake ACORN video has made O'Keefe a hero to the right-wing. Fox "News" certainly played the "scandal" for all it was worth, as did Republicans in Congress. And it worked. ACORN was driven out of existence. And now, afterward, how many Americans know, or even care, that it was all a lie?)
Anyway, that last line above brings up one of the most astonishing things about this whole episode. Abbie Boudreau is a very beautiful woman. I'm sure she's also a very capable reporter, but let's face it - television is a visual medium and women who work on camera tend to be drop-dead gorgeous. Boudreau is no exception, and she's probably had men hitting on her since she was 13.
James O'Keefe, on the other hand, seems to have gotten all his knowledge about women from Penthouse magazine. Think I'm exaggerating? Check out this list of props on O'Keefe's love boat - or "pleasure palace," as they hilariously called it - where he planned to seduce Boudreau:
1. condom jar
a. Alicia keys
b. 80s romance songs, things that are typically James
c. avoid Marvin Gaye as too cliche
5. ceiling mirror
6. posters and paintings of naked women
7. playboys and pornographic magazines
9. Viagra and stamina pills
10. fuzzy handcuffs
Honestly, can you imagine anything dumber than this? (If so, these right-wing loonies will probably do that next time.)
Note that O'Keefe planned to tip off Fox "News" about this. Well, of course. Fox doesn't care about the truth, only about the potential political impact. They helped O'Keefe push his fake ACORN video, and they defended him in that bungled telephone bug attempt. Fox isn't a news network (would any news network donate $1 million to any political party?). It's the propaganda arm of the Republican Party. And like the Republican Party, it has no shame.
Apparently, this whole issue began because of a CNN documentary, "Right on the Edge," set to air tonight and tomorrow night. I don't have cable, so I won't be watching. But Boudreau has written a great blog post about this O'Keefe business. I highly recommend it. Here's the beginning:
I've been a reporter for nine years. My first official day on the job was on 9-11. I was the bureau chief in Dubuque, Iowa, working as a one-man band. I shot my own video, set up my own live shots, and edited my own stories. I would bring home the police scanner to make sure the nights were quiet in this modest town along the grand Mississippi River. Only one time, in my year and two months working there, did that scanner wake me up. (It would be the first murder story I covered. I remember being one of the first reporters to show up. The police were hosing down the blood off the sidewalk, and the bloody water washed over my shoes. It's something you don't forget.) Those days were long, and physical. I would go home and count the bruises on my legs and arms. There was nothing glamorous about this life. But that's what I liked about it. I was a reporter – and I was proud of that.
As a woman in the news industry you have to be tough. I have always had to work harder than my male counterparts to be taken seriously and to be treated with respect. As a woman in the news industry you have to ignore all of the silly talk from your managers about the clothes you should wear on-air or what color your hair should be. I have had my share of conversations like that, and to be honest, it stings. I'm left wondering, "When will my work stand on its own? Why does this always have to be part of the conversation?"
But O'Keefe - and the right-wing in general - see only appearance. You hear them proudly proclaiming how pretty right-wing women are, as if that's the only thing that matters. Here's how Ann Coulter puts it:
My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.
I don't know where Ann Coulter has been, since I haven't seen a hippie in decades. And none of them I knew in the 1960's looked anything like that (except for some of the men, I guess). But that's beside the point, anyway. Hey, I'm a straight man and I appreciate a pretty girl as much as anyone. That's just biology. But I don't think that a woman's appearance is the most important thing about her.
The idea that Republican women are prettier than Democratic women is just ridiculous. But more importantly, why do Republicans seem to think that's so critically important? Even Republican women seem to judge other women entirely by their appearance. Do they have nothing else to brag about? At least, you don't hear this kind of thing from Democratic leaders.
Women are human beings, with minds and skills and personalities. Much as I appreciate a pretty face and a sexy body, that's not really a woman. That's just the exterior of a woman. It's not always unimportant, certainly not. But often it is. And it's never the whole thing.
Well, I'm getting off the subject (and onto a subject that can only get me in trouble). Let me just sum up with another excerpt from Boudreau's blog post:
All of this is so disappointing. I never wanted to become a part of the story – especially under such strange circumstances.
I have worked so hard to have people pay attention to my work, and to be a respected journalist. I don't want to be judged based on anything other than my work. But apparently, I represent all of the things this group hates about the mainstream media. They feel because of the way I look that I do not matter, and that my reporting is a joke. They don't know anything about my work ethic – my history – my dedication and commitment – and my love for reporting. They just saw my blonde hair. And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette.
I'm glad to see she's kept her sense of humor.