"This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!" That's what a journalist named Muntadhar al-Zaidi shouted when he hurled his shoes at President Bush's head during a press conference back in 2008.
You don't have to dig very deeply into my archives to discover that I was neither a fan of the Iraq War nor the Bush administration. Admittedly there were times when I went a little overboard in my criticism, but I stand by much of what I wrote (the substance, at least, not so much the style). That said, when al-Zaidi winged his shoes at the president, and having been old enough to remember the assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan, I was appalled by the act and I wasn't shy about expressing my disgust with some of my friends and peers who celebrated the occasion.
Not only was it a violent physical assault against the President of the United States, which, supporter or not, is an attack against the United States itself, but I generally find these sorts of protests to be profoundly ugly and counterproductive. It doesn't matter if it's Code Pink accosting Condoleezza Rice, or if it's a kid hurling a pie at Bill Kristol. Again, I loathe Kristol and I think Rice was an awful Secretary of State, but assailing them in public is the worst, most obnoxious form of activism I can think of.
Lashing out like this sends a very clear message: 1) you've got nothing of substance to say, and 2) you're a child.
Such is the case with the crazy lady who hurled a shoe at Hillary Clinton the other day. Her name is Alison Michelle Ernst and, during the Scrap Recycling Industries convention in Las Vegas, she managed to get into an auditorium where Clinton was speaking. From the aisle, Ernst threw an orange soccer shoe at the former Secretary of State along with a wad of paper containing information about "Operation Cynthia," a Bolivian op aimed at capturing Che Guevara in 1967.
As you might've guessed, it turns out Ernst is a conspiracy theorist of the Alex Jones InfoWars variety. Among other things, we've learned that Ernst is obsessed with the trial of James Holmes, the gunman who mowed down 82 people, killing 12, inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. However, she's not just into the case in a courtroom drama, Nancy Grace way, Ernst insists that Holmes is a victim of the New World Order and that the conspirators behind it had brain-washed Holmes, implanting the idea for the shooting in his head, not unlike the MK/ULTRA mind-control program, a popular conspiracy theorist hobby horse. Indeed, there are numerousarticles at InfoWars on the Holmes/mind-control connection.
On one occasion, Ernst disrupted the Holmes trial with loud outbursts and was obviously removed from the courtroom. Afterwards, she filed a motion that read in part:
"Holmes is an innocent man. James Holmes must be released to me asap [sic]. This is a huge conspiracy involved in with new world and a group of cabal evil worldwide crooks who want to control the world through false flag attacks akin to George Orwell 1984 [sic]."
Yeah, her cheese has definitely fallen off her cracker. She went on to write, "James Holmes [is] entering my mind through subliminal messaging and causing me to be obsessed with him on a daily basis." I'm not sure the Alex Jones crowd has ever gone that far, but there it is.
So it should come as no surprise that there's now a conspiracy theory surrounding Ernst herself. Yep, say hello to the "Shoe Truthers." They believe Ernst was a Clinton plant, coached to throw the shoe and Che Guevara page at the would-be presidential candidate.
But guess what? Not one of the Shoe Truthers is Alex Jones.
"I'm sorry, I'm ill-equipped to comment," Limbaugh said, adding: "Maybe it's because, in my subconscious, I think it was staged, or set up, or whatever. ... I don't know why anybody would be throwing a shoe at Hillary unless -- maybe it's an attempt to make the Benghazi people look like nuts and lunatics and wackos."
It always comes back to Benghazi, doesn't it? By the way, I would advise creating a "Benghazi" keyboard macro because between now and Election Day 2016 it's going to come up -- a lot.
Here's Arthur Louis writing for Bernard Goldberg's website, titled "Hillary and That Shoe: The Real Story":
"Remembering the Bush incident [when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at President George W. Bush], she may have calculated that this would make her seem presidential. This would explain why Ms. Ernst was not pounded to a pulp by Hillary's bodyguards, and why she seems on the verge of getting off scot free. Don’t be too surprised, the next time you visit Phoenix, if you see her sitting at a table in a downtown Hillary for President store front, stuffing and sealing envelopes."
So this guy thinks Hillary Clinton calculated that dodging a shoe during a speaking engagement will make her seem presidential. Uh-huh. Sure, dodging on-stage projectiles is a lot of things (I'm still impressed by Bush 43's cat-like reflexes) but making the target seem presidential isn't one of them. Bush 43 was involved in a laundry list of awkward occasions, I doubt repeating them simply because they happened to a former president would be a priority for the architects of the Clinton 2016 campaign.
"What one clearly sees in this video is that Hillary Clinton makes no effort whatsoever to actually 'dodge' the shoe. Rather, she flinches after it has gone whizzing by her head. A far more accurate headline would’ve been 'Hillary Clinton Luckily Unharmed by Her Slow Reflexes.' Typical liberal media, covering up the truth for their favored candidates. ... Whereas Hillary reacts well after the danger has passed, George W. Bush preemptively sees danger coming and positions himself to avoid it."
Yeah, and Building Seven! What about Building Seven? Incidentally, Jonah "Liberal Fascism" Goldberg linked to the Sonny Bunch post.
While there were far too many on the left who thought the al-Zaidi incident was hilarious, I don't recall anyone who theorized that the Bush White House staged the event in order to achieve whatever. But it only took a day or two for such a theory to work its way into the conservative entertainment complex. And, yes, I fully expect Alex Jones to dive into it at some point, but the fact that Limbaugh, Goldberg and Bunch are talking about it while Jones hasn't said a damn thing yet speaks volumes in terms of how far off the rails the conservative media intends to go with its relapse into flaming Hillary Derangement Syndrome. If this is any indication, it doesn't appear as if the Obama era crazy train will slow down with a potential Clinton presidency. In fact, if these bastards are floating conspiracy theories about a shoe-throwing incident, imagine what they'll do with actual issues and world events.
Oh, by the way, it appears as if Ernst, who threw a shoe at a former First Lady and Secretary of State, was only charged with a misdemeanor and released. What could possibly go wrong? So in response a federal complaint was filed on Monday against Ernst by a Secret Service agent. Good idea.