Send In the Clowns Pt. II: Code Pink Strikes Again

Yes, if you thought that the Capitol Hill hearings on the Syria crisis were like a patient uprising inside a psych ward with just Congress in attendance, you can imagine how things got once the Code Pink people showed up.
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code pink

My favorite tweet of the week comes from Dave Weigel of Slate and MSNBC:

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Yes, if you thought that the Capitol Hill hearings on the Syria crisis were like a patient uprising inside a psych ward with just Congress in attendance, you can imagine how things got once the Code Pink people showed up. With their pithy signs and painted hands, Medea Benjamin and her merry band of very unhappy time-travelers from the year 1967 once again made their thoughts on the subject of war -- any war -- known by engaging in a form of protest nobody pays one bit of attention to anymore. They came, they stood, they raised their arms as if overcome by the need for a spontaneous show of awestruck praise to the eternal greatness of their god, who's apparently a big puppet of some kind. Benjamin got escorted out. Standard stuff. Mission accomplished, I guess.

It's almost not worth bothering with Code Pink these days given that even they admit that nobody really gives a crap about them. In an article in the Washington Times, not only does Benjamin confirm the recently minted and somewhat stupefying nexus of the far-left and libertarian right by coming right out and saying, "It seems like this country is so topsy-turvy when you have Code Pink and Rand Paul on the same side of foreign policy issues," she also laments the fact that no one cares about the important work she and her group are trying to do. "We’re smaller. We lost a lot of people who didn’t like us criticizing Obama. But we still got our feistiness," she says.

Uh-huh. It's exactly that "feistiness," as Benjamin sees it -- what's really a reliance on regular outbursts of blind, counterproductive indignation -- that's doomed Code Pink, turning it into precisely the dwindling fringe group Benjamin wishes it weren't. Back in February of this year, when Benjamin's warriors pulled their usual stunts at the confirmation hearings for CIA chief John Brennan -- their complaints being drones and secret kill lists -- I wrote a piece for this site that explained why Code Pink's antics and the whole 60's style of protest isn't taken seriously anymore. The long and short of it is that every show of defiance has not only been done, it's now been co-opted by the establishment, pre-packaged, and mass-marketed. Nothing's truly shocking anymore; it all just kind of blends into one dull roar at the subatomic level. Even something that years ago would've been startling like making noise at a government hearing barely registers and even if it does, it's guaranteed to simply fade into the background within minutes. Benjamin thinks, "We'll give them something they can't ignore!"? The joke's on her -- people can now ignore anything. To make an impact you have to get creative and capture people's imaginations -- and shouting in public isn't the way to do that.

Also, there are so many niche media outlets now that no matter your intentions they can be instantly and effectively distorted and used against you. Here's what I wrote back in February:

"When the Code Pink troops stand up and shout down a confirmation hearing before the guy at the center of it really even has a chance to start speaking — Brennan was just thanking his wife when the hell started being raised — and produce puppets and pink hands in the process they’re not only creating a cacophonous mess, they’re providing endless fodder for the idiots at Fox News, who get to smirk patronizingly and present it as red meat to their audience of bitter old people. It’s left-wing agitators just being left-wing agitators — and what’s more, it barely even gets the point at hand across. Yeah, you made a statement, but who cares if no one can figure out the details of what that statement is besides your not wanting to be “droned, bro?” You made news, but to what end?"

The money quote in all of this, from Benjamin herself, really is the willingness to admit that the far left and right have converged. The thing is this, though: the people on the left are the suckers in the deal, they just don't know it. When push comes to shove, Rand Paul and his libertarian ilk aren't their friends and won't give them an inch on anything other than a quick exploitation of their sense of camaraderie over this one issue. Paul's as paleoconservative as they come and he'll be more than happy to turn around and fuck the left on reproductive rights, voting rights, civil rights and on so many other policy issues that should matter as much to the Code Pink types as the question of whether we bomb another country. He'll be the scorpion that the poor, dumb turtle gives a ride across a river on its back, only to be stung to death once they both reach the other side. Why? Because that's what a scorpion does. And Rand Paul is a fucking scorpion.

Either way, Code Pink continues to be a group of ineffectual fools and little more.