Monday, August 08, 2005

Cindy Sheehan situation about to reach a tipping point?

It sure looks as though we're about to see some fireworks in Crawford Texas over Cindy Sheehan and her ongoing protest outside Bush's ranch. Sheehan's son was killed in Iraq last year and she has since become a dedicated anti-war protestor. Sheehan tried to approach Bush's ranch on Saturday but was turned back by police and security. She has since setup camp outside of the ranch and vowed to stay until Bush himself talks to her or he leaves the ranch in a few weeks. Yesterday the administration tried to placate her by sending out Deputy Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin. Sheehan met with them but still says that she's not leaving until Bush speaks directly to her.

The New York Times had an interetsing article on the political problem that Sheehan is posing for Bush. She is a woman who lost her son in war which makes her very sympathetic in the eyes of the public and press, that precludes the White House from deploying their usual smear machine (though I did catch a few minutes of Drudge trying to smear her last night on the radio). Also the general public, as evidenced by recent polls, is sympathetic to her position. From the Times article,

Her success in drawing so much attention to her message - and leaving the White House in a face-off with an opponent who had to be treated very gently even as she aggressively attacked the president and his policies - seemed to stem from the confluence of several forces.

The deaths last week of 20 Marines from a single battalion has focused public attention on the unremitting pace of casualties in Iraq, providing her an opening to deliver her message that no more lives should be given to the war. At the same time, polls that show falling approval for Mr. Bush's handling of the war have left him open to challenge in a way that he was not when the nation appeared to be more strongly behind him.

It did not hurt her cause that she staged her protest, which she said was more or less spontaneous, at the doorstep of the White House press corps, which spends each August in Crawford with little to do, minimal access to Mr. Bush and his aides, and an eagerness for any new story.

So the problem is building and is about to get worse this Thursday and Friday,

It is not clear how the White House will handle Ms. Sheehan. Mr. Bush usually comes and goes from the ranch by helicopter, but he might have to drive by her on Friday, when he is scheduled to attend a Republican fund-raiser at a ranch just down the road from where Ms. Sheehan is camped out. She will no doubt get another wave of publicity on Thursday, when Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice join Mr. Bush at the ranch to discuss the war.

Just this afternoon it appears that the White House has decided to avoid this potentially embarrassing situation, from DailyKos

Cindy Sheehan phoned me from Texas a few minutes ago to say that she's been informed that beginning Thursday, she and her companions will be considered a threat to national security and will be arrested. Coincidentally, Thursday is the day that Rice and Rumsfeld visit the ranch, and Friday is a fundraiser event for the haves and the have mores. Cindy said that she and others plan to be arrested.

It appears that the story is still developing but should be an interesting one to keep an eye on throughout this week


At 1:21 AM, Blogger job opportunitya said...

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At 10:09 PM, Blogger murphyeile said...

I was so sorry when I read your broken hearted message about the DEMS. You have done more than your share and as a life long dem myself I was disappointed that they backed down from keeping a withdrawing date in the bill BUT after thinking about it the moron of a president would have vetoed it so at least they got finacial backing for the troops AND W set a withdrawal date himself which he criticised them so for doing. If General Petraeus says in September it's not working with the benchmatks W set the troops will come home. You personally have given enough and are admired by millions around the world. God Bless you Cindy and recover your health and enjoy your family and we'll stay on W's tail
Eileen Murphy
201 21st Street
HB CA 92648


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