Saturday, August 20, 2005

The summer of Sheehanigans 

Previous notable mentions:

The passion of Cindy Sheehan
Other ways to grieve
Other ways to grieve, part 2
Not the Sheehan bandwagon

Quote of the day, from reader Riggs:
No wonder the lib rags cant report on the falling unemployment rate, the booming economy, the Air Embezzlement scandal... there is a rapidly unhinging woman in Texas living in a ditch.

Now THAT is news.
The question for how long? As Mark Steyn reminded us in the past, the summer of 2000 was "the summer of shark attacks and missing congressional interns", this year, the no-news news season is the summer of Sheehanigans. Will Cindy manage to "galvanize" the anti-war (or anti-liberation) movement before the media will finally tire of her and inevitably move on to other, more serious stories? And what will be her longer-term impact on the domestic politics?

James Lileks:
Even money says Sheehan will be sitting in the Michael Moore seat next to Jimmy Carter at the '08 Democratic convention.
Slightly less even money that she will be the Vice-Presidential candidate. As Lileks writes:
The hard left in America needs to realize a bald, cruel fact: Anyone who sees no moral distinction between Israel and the mullahs of Iran, or sees the U.S. attempt to set up a constitutional republic in Iraq as equivalent to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, suffers from incurable moral cretinism. The more the fervent anti-war base embraces these ideas, the more they ensure that no one will trust the left with national security. Ever.
Or Mark Steyn:
But in the wreckage of Pat and Cindy Sheehan's marriage there is surely a lesson for the Democratic party. As Cindy says, they're both Democrats, but she's 'more liberal' and 'more radicalised'. There are a lot of less liberal and less radicalised Dems out there: they're soft-left-ish on healthcare and the environment and education and so forth; many have doubts about the war, but they love their country, they have family in the military, and they don't believe in dishonouring American soldiers to make a political point. The problem for the Democratic party is that the Cindys are now the loudest voice: Michael Moore, Howard Dean, moveon.org, and Air America, the flailing liberal radio network distracting attention from its own financial scandals by flying down its afternoon host Randi Rhodes to do her show live from Camp Casey. The last time I heard Miss Rhodes she was urging soldiers called up for Iraq to refuse to go i.e., to desert and entertaining theories that 9/11 was Bush's Reichstag fire.

On unwatched Sunday talk shows you can still stumble across the occasional sane responsible Dem. But, in the absence of any serious intellectual attempt to confront their long-term decline, all the energy on the Left is with the fringe. The Democratic party is a coalition of Pat Sheehans and Cindy Sheehans, and the noisier the Cindys get the more estranged the Pats are likely to feel. Sorry about that, but, if Mrs Sheehan can insist her son's corpse be the determining factor in American policy on Iraq, I don't see why her marriage can't be a metaphor for the state of the Democratic party.
Personally, I'm a bit more pessimistic than Lileks and Steyn, in that the relentless negativity of the anti-war left, magnified out of all proportions by the echo chamber of the mainstream media, might eventually succeed in permeating and poisoning the mainstream before the mission in Iraq can be accomplished. Contra to that, Powerline writes that the Democrats are failing to capitalize - the problem, though, is that even water, if dripping long enough, will wear off a stone.


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