The McKinney Debacle · 27 August 2003

By Joe Sabia

Racially segregated dormitories and racial quotas are not enough for Cornell anymore. Like a porn addict needing increasingly explicit images to get his next "fix," the University administration has quenched its craving for racial division by appointing Cynthia McKinney -- a disgraced former congresswoman from Georgia -- as a visiting professor under the Andrew Dickson White Professors-at-large Program.

McKinney was widely regarded as one of the most incompetent members of Congress by Democrats and Republicans alike. As a prominent member of the ultra-Leftist Congressional Black Caucus, McKinney often spewed incoherent conspiracy theories about Jews and whites plotting to murder people and prevent her re-election.

The most famous of her baseless claims was that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. According to McKinney, members of the Bush administration conspired to remain silent in the face of Sept. 11 warnings in order to wage a war that would benefit oil companies. In a March 25, 2002 interview with Berkeley radio station KPFA, she claimed:

"We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. ... What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? 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?"

Where did McKinney get her explosive information that President Bush knowingly permitted 3,000 of his fellow countrymen to be slaughtered? Aboard a UFO? Through a coded message received through her tinfoil hat? Or did her Rice Krispies talk back to her that morning?

Senator Zell Miller (D-Ga.) responded to McKinney's ludicrous remarks by issuing a press release:

"At first glance, it would be easy to pass this off as just another loony statement. But at second glance, it is more than that. It is very dangerous and irresponsible."

Similarly, an embarrassed Democratic congressman, Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), sheepishly uttered, "I can't say that [McKinney's claim] would be a widely held view among lawmakers."

When McKinney wasn't blaming the Bush administration for the Sept. 11 attacks she was blaming the Jews. Amid much fanfare, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal offered then-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani $10 million for relief efforts. Along with his offer, Talal expressed his view that American support for Israel was the root cause of the Sept. 11 attacks:

"At times like this one, we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack. I believe the government of the United States of America should reexamine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause."

Giuliani immediately rejected the $10 million, correctly recognizing the "gift" as blood money from anti-Israeli forces. Cynthia McKinney, on the other hand, saw her chance to cash in. She penned a letter to the Saudi prince in which she agreed with him on all his major points:

"Although your offer was not accepted by Mayor Giuliani, I would like to ask you to consider assisting Americans who are in dire need right now. I believe we can guide your generosity to help improve the state of Black America and build better lives ... Let me say that there are a growing number of people in the United States who recognize, like you, that U.S. policy in the Middle East needs serious examination."

When McKinney was assailed for her willingness to take money from a man who blamed Sept. 11 on Israel, she promptly asserted her First Amendment rights. Huh? No one questioned her constitutional right to speak. Critics questioned her sanity. And she had no defense of her mental stability other than to assert that criticism of her position was akin to censorship. (When liberals respond to criticism of their unpopular, treasonous views with non-sequiturs like "Free speech!" you know you've won the argument.) This is the woman that the administration wants to mold young minds at Cornell.

Attacking Jews is apparently a family trait for the McKinneys. Shortly after Cynthia was defeated in a Democratic primary by state judge Denise Majette (58 to 42 percent), her father, state representative Bill McKinney (D), went on local television and blamed the defeat on "Jews -- that's J-E-W-S." Isn't that special? The congresswoman did not repudiate her father's anti-Semitic remarks.

Ed Kilgore, policy director of the Democratic Leadership Council, was pleased with McKinney's defeat in the primary, citing her campaign's shameful financial ties with "a variety of Islamic sources with ties to Hamas, Hezbollah, and even al-Qaeda." McKinney had, indeed, accepted a $2,000 campaign contribution from American Muslim Council founder Abdurahman Alamoudi. At a Washington, D.C. pro-Palestinian rally, Alamoudi proclaimed:

"I have been labeled by the media in New York as being a supporter of Hamas. ...We are all supporters of Hamas. ... I wish they had added that I was also a supporter of Hezbollah."

Even after Alamoudi made this public statement in support of two terrorist organizations, McKinney refused to return his campaign contribution. When McKinney was asked to account for her accepting his financial support, she replied that she "would not racially profile" donors. Awwwww, how sweet.

Cynthia McKinney was a disgrace to the U.S. Congress. The Democratic voters of her Georgia district rightfully tossed her out of office because they were tired of her increasingly overt anti-Semitism, her claims that the president of the United States was a mass murderer, and her consistent support for America's enemies.

So why is Cornell hiring a former congresswoman who is at best incompetent and at worst an appeaser of international terrorism? Clearly, the McKinney hire is a political payoff to the Africana Studies and Research Center (ASRC). Prof. James Turner, Africana studies, invited McKinney to speak at Cornell this summer, recommended her hire, and has sponsored funding for her appointment. Rather than hire an ideologically balanced professor -- or, heaven forbid, a conservative! -- the administration once again caved to radical Leftists who use race to their political advantage.

The anti-American policy positions that made Cynthia McKinney so unpalatable to the American people will make her a perfect fit for Cornell's Leftist faculty. She'll blend in quite nicely with her fellow professors. In fact, she might even tilt Cornell rightward. But after the splash surrounding McKinney's hiring has worn off, where will Cornell go for its next race-baiting fix? Prof. Farrakhan, anyone?

Joe Sabia is a grad student in economics. He can be reached at No Shades of Gray will appear on Tuesdays this semester.


The Cornell Daily Sun
August 26, 2003