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Rude and bratty heckler says she’s not a rude and bratty heckler

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It makes me cringe — almost with a sense of embarrassment — when a political activist with whom I agree on certain points acts like a childish fool.

Such was the case the other day when Medea Benjamin (above), co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink — repeatedly interrupted a major policy speech by President Obama at National Defense University in Washington.

Obama handled Benjamin’s rudeness gracefully (see HERE), but she won’t even admit to having heckled the president.

HERE‘s what she told Carol Costello of CNN:

“First, I want to take objection with the term ‘heckler,’” Benjamin began, “because I actually had an invitation to get in.” She did not specify how she got access to the event, but apparently she was able to attend as a member of the “press.” Benjamin also insisted that she “waited until the end of the speech” to begin shouting “You can close Guantanamo today,” when in reality her outburst came at the beginning of Obama’s section on that topic.

“You clearly interrupted the president, though” Costello told Benjamin. “That would be called heckling.” When the protester pushed back on that description, Costello added, “it seems the president was changing his tone on Gitmo and on drones, so you were kind of getting what you wanted anyway, so why go into this speech and heckle him when he’s kind of talking in a way that you should welcome?”

Benjamin maintained that her actions were justified because she wasn’t hearing the policy prescriptions in the speech about the drone program and Guantanamo Bay that she and her group had wanted the president to announce. She brushed off Costello’s assertion that she was perhaps “hurting her own cause” and seemed “rude” and “a little crazy” by pointing to the “fabulous response” she has received.

Oh, now I get it! If you don’t like what a public speaker is saying, you have every right to interrupt his speech. And if your interruptions meet with a “fabulous response” from other people like you…well, then, you’ve done no wrong.

This episode reminds me that all of us political types, lefties and righties alike, are sometimes uncomfortable with certain people who claim to be on our side of the ideological fence.

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10 Comments

  1. Robert

    She’s an activist. That’s what activist do. She’s got more guts and strength in her little finger than the majority of the Democratic Party base. And shame on you Patrick for chiding her.

    I like many here grew up during the 60s, I saw what real vs armchair activism looked like in force. I watched the civil rights movement and then the response from the Gay community when AIDS was devastating that community. I’ve seen how activist get their message across and get things done. Not even the OWS protesters had the follow through that the Black community, the Gay community and now, Medea Benjamin has shown us. And by the way, I can recall Code Pink dropping banners at meetings where Bush and other Necocon’s were speaking. Were you saying she was a fool then?

    I’ve met her. She’s impressive and very articulate. We need more people like her. That’s the only way change is going to happen.

    When I saw the direction the Bush administration was taking us and became known for my local activism, my biggest detractors were from the very side I thought I was representing. When I tried to gather people for standing on corners and other peaceful events, only one person joined me. This is why I dropped my affiliation with the Democratic Party, because most have no backbone or stand up for anything other than to express disapproval of people doing exactly what a supposedly outraged voter base should be doing. Hell, even the Republicans and their Tea Party affiliates got more attention for their cause than the Democrats ever even tried. What do the Democrats stand for? For that matter, what does Obama stand for that he doesn’t eventually knuckle under and give in to?

    Obama’s a Neocon, just like his predecessor. But somehow its wrong to call him out for it according to some, if not most of the left.

    The only attention and change posting on boards like this is going to bring about is a change in your FBI file and extra attention if you say the wrong things.

    Let me remind you what the Democratic Party should be standing for. The best part starts out 3:23 minutes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zqOYBabXmA

    Thank you Medea. Courage

  2. Robert

    What, nobody is inspired to comment on this story? Not even Pat to defend himself?

  3. Brian Opsahl

    She was being rude there is no other way to discribe what she did, and when you are rude nobody takes you seriously.

  4. Robert

    Like I said, nary a peep when she was doing the same thing to GWB and the Neocons. In fact, she got lots of praise because she was the only person standing up to the bullies.

    By the way, 450 dead in Iraq over the past month from uprising between religious factions who hate each other. Yup, that surge did the trick. Saddam may have been brutal but he knew how to keep the fanatics in place.

    Now there’s more talk about chemical weapons being used in Syria. This time France is calling it out. I’d say somebody wants to force Obama into another war in ME. And the democrat base will say sure, what can we do about it… and demonize people like Medea who has been right all along. She did what activists do. She did what 10s of thousands of anti-war protesters did during the Viet Nam war. Both were right because both wars were based on lies.

    Like I said, not a peep from the dems and gatekeepers like Patrick when she was doing the same to GWB. Talk about hypocrisy.

    This is how democrats think. “He may be a phony, but he’s our phony”. You’re know better than the republicans and you should be.

  5. Robert

    Maybe I shouldn’t say the only one, but one of the few. I think there was a mom who had a son named Casey who was making some waves. But for the most part, the democrats have been complicit in the lies that are bankrupting our country.

  6. Robert

    One thing I have to say that I find odd about Medea’s presence at this Obama function is, her face is well known to the Secret Service. It has to be. She’s been around for a while. I have to wonder how she got into that function in the first place.

    I heard her interviewed on Amy Goodman’s show after this incident. Amy asked her how did she get into that meeting, noting her face has to be familiar to the intelligence agencies. Medea basically said she couldn’t reveal that.

    As much as I respect Medea for her activism, I’ve said in the past that not all people who pose as activist, truthseekers, et al are what they appear to be. I’d like to think Medea is authentic, but it does make me wonder how she could get so close to the president with a face that has to be as well known as hers is, to the agencies in charge of protecting the president.

    PS – Patrick I asked you about which agencies have patronized your blog. You never responded. I said no response is a response. Let me finish that, no response is a response = affirmative. I still notice your blog and picture are still not on the blog staff page referencing all the blog for the RRS. For someone who boast the biggest viewership of all the RRS blogs, its hard to understand when your own paper won’t even put it on the menu. It’s by no accident your picture isn’t on it or disappears shortly thereafter when you tell them. Why don’t you answer why that is? Make it believable.

    Here’s the link, sans Pat. At least when I posted it.

    http://www.rrstar.com/blogs?view=true

  7. Robert: Two things:

    1. I don’t know what you mean by “which agencies have patronized [my] blog.” What are you talking about? What agencies?

    2. As for the absence of this blog from the roster of RRS blogs, why are you so obsessed about it? It’s ‘s a recurring technical glitch for which I have no explanation. Nor do I much care about it. It has not noticeably affected readership of this blog. The fact remains that Applesauce page-views were more than four times as numerous last month as the next most popular RRS blog.

  8. Robert

    Patrick: One Thing:

    …” why are you so obsessed about it? It’s ‘s a recurring technical glitch for which I have no explanation. “…

    Here’s why, I want visibility. I think your handlers need to fix that recurring technical glitch because it only affects your blog. I’m thinking its because you got some controversial posters on your blog and your handlers want to hide it. So I’m thinking the omission of your blog on the staff link is deliberate.

  9. Robert: You’re entirely wrong. Why would my “handlers” want to “hide” their most popular blog? If they didn’t like this blog, they would just get rid of it.

    Anyway, the inadvertent technical glitch has again been fixed.

  10. Robert

    Thank you Pat.

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