New Orleans What’s a guy to do? Can’t make people happy for sure! My conservative comrades in the blogosphere are dividing sharply on the positions I have taken on James O’Keefe III and he and his rightwing dunderkind and their telephone bungle up at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. I have pretty much come down on the side that argues the guy is a self-aggrandizing hustler (not a pimp) who believes that all means justify any ends that put him in the center of the camera and story. I’ve also sided with several of the august Senators, including Republicans from Nebraska and elsewhere in the heartland who have said his credibility is shot and maybe, heaven forbid, we should even take a look at what he had the chippie did on the ACORN sting.
O’Keefe’s employer, Andrew Brietbart and www.biggoverment.com had one of their fair haired boys, Kyle Olson, write a piece whose headline was “Sorry Wade, James O’Keefe’s Actions Don’t Excuse ACORN.” Olson probably feels he has the right to do a “Wade” shout out, because he and I are old comrades. He had been on Glenn Beck helping promote my book, Citizen Wealth, claiming he had an exclusive “interview” with me at the Octavia Book Store book signing. Dressed in short pants, he and a buddy claimed that they were health care bloggers from Michigan, and wanted to get some video from me for their blog about health care reform. The highlights of the “interview,” which consisted of Fox viewers watching me talk while signing Citizen Wealth last summer were there question about whether SEIU was working for healthcare reform and my “admission” that yes, by gum, they were (no, duh?!?) and them asking about ACORN and Health Care for America Now (HCAN), where I said I didn’t work for ACORN and asked Marie Hurt, the Louisiana director their question, and she answered in the background. Olson and O’Keefe come from the same “school” of “journalism,” Olson is just better looking. The rest of his piece was a rehash of whatever few remaining charges are still outstanding against ACORN back to the 2008 election and the highly documented partisan charges by the Republicans against the organization at that time.
On the other hand I got an email yesterday from Michael Gaynor, a conservative blogger often all over ACORN as the devil incarnate, who took me to task for being too soft on O’Keefe. Gaynor is a lawyer, so he may take these lawbreaking high jinks more seriously as a member of the bar, but he thought my description of O’Keefe’s lame quasi-apology as “weak tea” was WAY TOO KIND. A call from the Michael Volpe, who writes the Provocateur blog, wondered why I even cared about O’Keefe, and wondered if I was losing my focus. I was able to reassure him that I was mainly exercised over bad, pretend “organizing” which was nothing more than a mask for self-promotion no matter the costs and consequences.
I’m not even mentioning the folks who have written about O’Keefe and his bungling buddies who are not conservatives. Whoa! Some of the suggestions about what is likely for this callow youth in our nation’s prisons were way too gross for me. I’m sure that if O’Keefe ends up in the calaboose that he’ll figure out how to implant a camera somewhere and make prison reform his very personal issue sometime in the future. We’ll welcome his help on that often overlooked issue where most firsthand reports are not filmed and not heard.