Adult Children

28 Jan 2010 02:10 pm
Posted by: Donna

TPM reports that 25 year old felony suspect and fake pimp James O’Keefe has been remanded to his parents’ house. That the lefty blogosphere finds this a source of snark and amusement kind of misses something that is quite appalling if you really think about it. Which is that treating O’Keefe, a grown man, as a child reinforces the idea that what he and his pals did at Senator Landrieu’s office was a “youthful prank” and not a serious crime.

When I was O’Keefe’s age I’d been in the Navy for 6 years. As a 25 year old senior petty officer I was regarded as mature, if not ancient, by the seaman apprentices in their late teens in my department. Had I committed a felony of any kind I would have been court-martialed, served time in the brig, and been discharged from the service under some type of other than honorable conditions. So you can understand why I have little patience with the notion that a 25 year old is not a fully grown adult who is fully culpable for his own actions. Yet this is the trope the right wing has grabbed onto to explain O’Keefe’s actions. “Aw, he’s yoooung.” Well hell, the Underwear Bomber is two years younger. Let’s transfer him to juvie.

Generally speaking, there has been an ongoing, and to me disturbing, trend in society of extending childhood well beyond the age of legal maturity and it is certainly not confined to Republican households. Many young adults these days are not only dependent on their parents financially, but are depending on them for everything – from doing their laundry to filling out college and job applications until well into their 20s. An exploration of why that is would be a topic for another post, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Magistrate Judge Louis Moore turned out to have a coddled twentysomething child or two living at home with him.

That said, I submit that Republican politicians and operatives needn’t bother growing up at all and most of them never do. What’s the point of developing maturity and a sense of responsibility when you’ll never be held accountable for anything you do? I’m not just talking about getting away with or getting a slap on the wrist for crimes. Nor is it just the ability to characterize transgressions committed at age 40 as a “youthful indiscretion” with a straight face. As maddening as those things are, the real damage is wrought when the powerful institutions of the government and the MSM reward Republicans’ childish and destructive behavior by treating them as legitimate actors who produce things of value. This, in turn, leads to undeserved legitimacy in the mind of the public.

Case in point is O’Keefe. Hat tip to reader Elizabeth, who pointed me to this outstanding Huffington Post article by John Atlas and Peter Dreier. The writers detail how O’Keefe bamboozled the news media and Congress with a blatantly dishonest hatchet job on ACORN. Did you know, for instance, that O’Keefe never wore the outlandish ’70s era pimp costume inside any of the ACORN offices? O’Keefe was being hailed as a hero by wingnuts and treated as an “investigative journalist” by the MSM. He is neither. He’s a rabid ideologue with no compunction about embellishing, distorting facts, and outright lying to advance his imbecilic and psychotic worldview. He had yet to be held accountable for his actions until his arrest 3 days ago and it remains to be seen if he will face any real consequences.

Another case in point is Democrats, up to and including President Obama, attempting to soothe developmentally stunted 67 year old men like Jon Kyl with “bipartisanship”” and “spending freezes”. And not only because these overgrown toddlers will continue their tantrums unabated, but because those pacifiers are at best, useless, and at worst, freakin’ bad ideas that shouldn’t be given any serious consideration. As Amanda Marcotte so succinctly put it:

I nearly fell off the bed in anger last night when Obama dusted off that hoary right wing pandering trope about how since you tighten your belt in hard times, the federal government should. I guess Obama didn’t get the memo about how every time you repeat a trope, you lend it authority and credence, because that was an awful thing to do.

I agree with Amanda here. I groaned when I heard him say it and it was a low point in an otherwise good speech. Amanda gives a good explanation as to why freezing government spending in a recession with high unemployment is a horrible, and mean-spirited, notion. But that’s the idea that got all the traction in the MSM. I just heard Sen. Judd Gregg tell Contessa Brewer of MSNBC that the government doesn’t create jobs. Um, what? My Navy paychecks said U.S. Treasury on them. Obama and Democrats in Congress ought to be more worried about much more than the “tone” of the discourse in Washington. They need to think about how far they’re willing to go to placate coddled man-children at the expense of good policy and the needs of struggling Americans.


  1. Comment by Eli_Blake on January 28, 2010 6:15 pm

    It’s the whole idea that Republicans have that ‘laws are for the everybody else.’

    I mean, how else do you explain Brett Mecum-type Republicans?

    Speaking of, I’m sure you’ve heard the latest from your favorite legislator. He vandalized a school in Scottsdale because he just thinks he’s allowed to.

    What utter arrogance!

  2. Comment by Appleblossom on January 28, 2010 9:45 pm

    When it comes to freezing government spending, it ignores economic reality. When two parts of the economy are not spending, you need to have a third part doing something. The right time for lower government spending was in situations like the late 1990s. There was a new product for business to be enthused about and so it caused businesses to grow and the people employed by the businesses were spending their money because they could afford it. (That juice came from government spending but that is besides the point)

    Of course too much of it was borrowed but it was true that there was little need for government spending. That is why Clinton was able to balance the budget to the point of surpluses.

  3. Comment by Eli_Blake on January 29, 2010 4:49 am


    Though we’ve been acclimated to just blindly accept the (mathematically absurd) idea that ‘anything government can do, for profit private enterprise can do more efficiently.’ The fact is, in many cases that’s simply not true.

    Take health care as a case in point. Overhead for medicare is less than half of what private insurers spend on their overhead such as processing of claims (after all, it takes some serious research to look through all the existing medical files and find a reason to deny a claim, and often that research is expensive.) And that’s without even getting to what is held aside as profits. When Government performs a service the process is to get it done well (otherwise people may vote out the people then running the Government.) When private industry performs a service the incentive is to make as much as they can off of it– i.e. spending less but charging more.

    And we won’t even get into the (not often enough stated) fact that health care in the United States (provided mainly through private companies) represents 16% of our GDP while in all those countries that have single payer or some other version of government health care the percentage is substantially lower, in many cases less than 10% of their GDP.

    We need to expunge the whole false Reagan dogma from our minds. There may be cases where private industry can provide something of better quality and lower cost than Government but that certainly is not always the case and should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

  4. Comment by Timmys Cat on January 29, 2010 11:28 am

    Of course my first instinct was to snark, as well as my second, and my…..

    You’re right though. This doesn’t quite add up. A 25 year old “man” with a possible felony trial released to mommy and daddy? Something tells me this is another spoiled Gooper kid who’s never really been held responsible. My whiskers are sensing mommy and daddy are “sombody” with the dollahs.

    Wonder how it would’ve turned if it was a 25 year old Hispanic kid?

  5. Comment by Alan Scott on January 30, 2010 11:51 am


    How about being honest for once ? This is not about O’Keeke being punished for getting caught at Senator Landrieu’s office. This is about punishing him and discrediting him for exposing your buddies at ACORN. From your point of view this latest episode in wonderful, isn’t it ?

  6. Comment by Donna on January 30, 2010 12:03 pm

    Shorter Alan: Blah blah blah…ACORN!!

  7. Comment by Alan Scott on January 30, 2010 2:00 pm


    What I really love about you is your eloquence. Definitely short and sweet.

  8. Comment by Eli_Blake on January 31, 2010 3:01 am


    In other words, the cabal that is out to punish him for the ACORN sting somehow convinced him to commit a felony and illegally try to wiretap a U.S. Senator.

    It was not his choice to do it, but rather they put him under some kind of voodoo mind control so they could make him break the law and then get caught red-handed.

    That’s my understanding of what you said, tell me if that’s incorrect.

  9. Comment by Alan Scott on January 31, 2010 11:46 am

    Eli_Blake ,

    In other words, the cabal that is out to punish him for the ACORN sting somehow convinced him to commit a felony and illegally try to wiretap a U.S. Senator.

    It was not his choice to do it, but rather they put him under some kind of voodoo mind control so they could make him break the law and then get caught red-handed.”

    I apologize for not being clear. I do not say that Mr. O’Keefe is not responsible for his own actions, which I believe you are jumping to conclusions on, since all of the facts have not come out yet.

    I was slamming Donna for her faux outrage. If O’Keefe were unknown and got caught in Senator Landrieau’s office, I do not believe you guys would be ballistic now.

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