I guess the trouble I'm having in wrapping my mind around this James O'Keefe story is trying to figure out what the hell he thought he was going to accomplish for his side with this sociopathic scheme. Right-wingers may be sick, but their tactics frequently work, and that was certainly true of O'Keefe with regard to ACORN -- people believed what the heavily edited videos showed and ACORN was ruined. But why did he think he'd win a victory for his team by videotaping himself phonily "seducing" an older female reporter, who clearly would be repulsed by it, and would give him nothing to work with, except that she might literally be a captive on the boat, which takes this into the realm of criminal sexual behavior? What the hell audience did he think would watch this and derive a political point from watching him act like a sexual-predator-in-air-quotes, a harasser Joaquin Phoenix? Who, even among teabaggers, did he think would watch this and think it put him and conservatism in a good light, and CNN and the reporter in a bad light? How far removed from reality is this guy?
Here's some description of the plot from the reporter, Abbie Boudreau, who quotes freely from a document prepared by O'Keefe and his little gang entitled "CNN Caper":
Izzy [Santa, an O'Keefe colleague] told me [O'Keefe] had "strawberries and champagne" waiting for me on the boat, and that he planned to "hit on me" the entire time. She said it would all be captured on hidden cameras that had been set up on the boat and in the back yard. She said the sole purpose of the "punk" was to embarrass me, and to make CNN look bad....
James was supposed to tape the following script before the meeting on the boat.
"... I've decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I'm going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I'm going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she'll get seduced on camera and you'll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath."
... It goes on to explain how James should "adapt" to my mood on the boat.
"As the operation is going on, James will have to adapt and adjust to her mood and her reaction. If she is pulling away, withdraw and pull her back in. If she's unsure, comfort her and reassure her. Vacillate between somewhat serious interview and the come-hither persona as needed in order to confuse her judgment and also keep her on the boat."
CNN has posted the document that outlines the plot. On one level it's just infantile -- here's some imagined dialogue:
But elsewhere it's chilling:
And then there's this truly repulsive part of the planning document:
The guy has just lost it. I've watched angry, mean-spirited right-wingers -- Limbaugh, Murdoch, Rove -- pursue power for years on end without ever losing control like this. O'Keefe just seems different -- he's concluded that the treatment his side receives from the mainstream media is tantamount to being sexually assaulted, and he decided to semi-assault an MSM reporter right back.
(Or maybe he just resents the attractiveness of Boudreau and other reporters, and this is all arising from an acute sense of sexual inadequacy he's convinced himself is political; another squirm-inducing line from his memo is "Using hot blondes to seduce interviewees to get screwed on television, you are faux seducing her in order to screw her on television.")
This has the logic of a sex crime, obviously, but it doesn't have the logic of a rational person's act, even if your definition of "rational person" includes bomb-throwers like Limbaugh and Rove. It just wouldn't work, except as the gratification of O'Keefe's own sick revenge desires. I think it's only a matter of time before this guy does something brutally assaultive, or is prevented from doing so. He's a sick bastard.
UPDATE: The consensus, here and at Balloon Juice (thanks for the link, Doug), seems to be that there's no limit to what O'Keefe could do with any sort of footage that emerged from this plus a little creative editing. I see that, but ... are we to assume that Boudreau wouldn't obtain her own video? And that she and CNN wouldn't rebut this instantly, if not preemptively (i.e., possibly as soon as she got off the boat, concluding it was a bizarre story about a controversial guy that shouldn't wait to be told)? Isn't this a Shirley Sherrod situation in the making, except with no rebuttal delay?
UPDATE: Well, my reading comprehension obviously leaves something to be desired, given the fact that Boudreau met O'Keefe without a camera.