Joe Basel and his teabugger friends: The Greatest Hits on YouTube
Long before his arrest in Louisiana, Joe Basel and his cohorts were already traveling the country performing political street theater. Here are a few of the greatest hits found on YouTube:
A Gulag at Washington University
Joe Basel and James O'Keefe help erect a mock Soviet prison camp on the lawn of Washington University in St. Louis. Basel dresses up in a tan jumpsuit, covers his face with -- presumably -- fake blood and protests about war-mongering Capitalists as students meander by. Campus police eventually shut the spectacle down, but not before Basel argues with a few unsuspecting passersby.
Read an article about the gag at the school's newspaper, Student Life, here.
James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles pose as pimp and prostitute and enter the Brooklyn, N.Y., office of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) strapped with a hidden camera. In the video, ACORN employees appear to give the couple clever legal advice on maneuvering the legal obstacles off-the-books income can present. The Leadership Institute, O'Keefe's former employer, hailed the duo's work as a scathing exposure of a corrupt organization. ACORN said the video was edited to fit O'Keefe's political agenda. Last week the Brooklyn District Attorney found no criminality and announced he would not pursue charges against the ACORN workers.
Adopt a Guantanamo detainee
James O'Keefe and Ben Wetmore hit the streets of Boston to sign people up for the "Love Thy Prisoner Campaign," a push to find nice homes and pen pals for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. The last 30 seconds shows footage of people sympathetic to their cause cut to quick and dirty shots of 9/11.
I now pronounce you Ben and James
James O'Keefe and Ben Wetmore go to three state offices in Massachusetts and apply for marriage licenses, admitting to the clerks they are not gay and only in it for the tax breaks. The two make a point of explicitly telling the clerks they have girlfriends. And yes, this is almost the exact plot of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," which was coincidentally released the year before the stunt.
Sonia Sotomayor, the racist?
Looking like he just stepped of his yacht, James O'Keefe and friends go to a Latino neighborhood to try and prove then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor is racist by transposing a few key terms in one of her quotes. A white piece of tagboard the group carries around read, "A wise white male would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman." Sotomayor's words: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." O'Keefe also busts out some impressive moonwalking. Sotomayor wins a seat on the highest court in the land.
Lucky Charms, also racist?
Claiming they're from the Irish Heritage Society, O'Keefe meets with an administrator at Rutgers University to protest the college cafeteria serving "Lucky Charms." O'Keefe and other writers for the Centurion, Rutgers's right-leaning campus newspaper, claim they find the Leprechaun mascot racist toward Irish Americans. The gag was intended as a rib to the hyper-politically correct students on campus.
Get behind the line
We can't really call this a greatest hit, because it doesn't make much sense. According to the Washington Independent, Basel and O'Keefe joined a rally against church funds going toward an anti-gay marriage initiative. Basel and O'keefe stand ominously in front of the line of protestors, seemingly to only piss everyone else off. Mission accomplished. This one seems to have not gone as planned. The footage was filmed around the same time as the Gulag gag, both in St. Louis.
O'Keefe on Hannity
James O'Keefe talked with Sean Hannity on Fox News shortly after his Louisiana arrest. O'Keefe can't get into the details of the case, but says they "never even thought about interfering with phones." O'Keefe says the media owes him a whopping correction for some of the coverage after his arrest, which was promptly dubbed the "Louisiana Watergate."