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Doug Giebel: Ignore Cindy Sheehan

Ignore Cindy Sheehan

by Doug Giebel

"Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day."

-- Home on the Range

So, pardners, the Siege at Crawford seems to have settled in for the long haul, unless gun-totin' Texans show their Gene Autry spirit and ride to rescue the presidential vacation, restoring peace and civility for that once-lonesome neighborhood. We hear that Lone Star residents love their politics rough-and-tumble, but to judge from reports, some are getting mighty fed up with a bunch of anti-war squatters camping, praying and creating an embarrassing hubbub. Goes to show how a few misguided peace lovers can disturb the peace of the prairie, the pedal-pumpin' president, the press and the public.

The Bush Administration's approach to this pesky summer flea-bite is and will be to ignore Cindy Sheehan, a middle-aged woman from (yes) California and the trail boss of a herd of supporters who believe the "war" in Iraq is one big cow-pie of a mistake. We know ignoring Sheehan is administration strategy because The National Review's Byron York spilled the beans on Meet the Press (August 14, 2005), when he said he'd discussed Sheehan with "administration officials," and noted, ". . . they do not want to criticize her. I mean, they said to me in privacy, 'We're going to give her as much room as she needs.' There is no plan for the president to meet with her now because he has met with hundreds and hundreds of families. But they--in private they have not criticized this woman."

There you have it. The Bushvolk are not really thinking about Cindy Sheehan, and, true to The Code of the West, they are not even criticizing her, surely a First for an administration known to vilify its opponents, whether Democrat or Republican. For once motherhood and apple pie have triumphed over vindictiveness and smear. Even more important is the fact that wrangler Sheehan will be given "as much room as she needs," which, before this here dust-up is over could be the entire state of Texas.

All this western hospitality shows how Republican tin-star tacticians have taken literally to heart the liberal George Lakoff's book title, "Don't Think of an Elephant." Which, come to think of it is pretty interesting, seeing as how the Republican symbol is the elephant, and right now the elephant in the Republican living room is a mother whose son was killed in Iraq.

While President Bush and his crew may claim won't disparage Cindy Sheehan and her growing tribe of "Bring Them Home Now" supporters, they've left the heavy lifting to the usual surrogates on the outside. Byron York, during that same Meet the Press discussion, slyly commented, "[Cindy Sheehan] said--she thanked her anti-war bloggers for all their support. She said, 'Thank God for the Internet. Without it, we'd already be a fascist state because one party controls everything, and the mainstream media is the propaganda tool of the government.' Now, this is the kind of rhetoric that you normally associate with fringe elements on the left. And if she does more of that, I think she'll diminish her own credibility."

Calling Sheehan a fringe-element leftist, though, is tenderfoot palaver compared to others who have branded her "clueless . . . a self-righteous ignoramus" (Phil Hendrie) and "a left wing media whore in the form of a grieving mother."(Erick Erickson). Bill O'Reilly groused suggestively that her protest actions "border on treasonous." On The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Republican pundit and advisor Frank Gaffney suggested that the woman could be responsible for the world becoming a fascist caliphate! The detractors praise her sacrifice and then imply she is a fool who is being manipulated. She gets no credit for having the horse sense and true grit to get attention for her cause. So while the White House generously refuses Sheehan the time of day, bronc busters for the administration's Showdown at the Iraqi Corral are not only thinking about Cindy Sheehan, they're gunning for her in spades.

This writer grew up in the cowboy West, and by coincidence, one of his relatives happens to have been Wild Bill Hickock, who was gunned down in poker-playing Deadwood. The lesson learned from cousin Bill: Walk away ahead of the game.

For reasons that may only be plumbed by psychiatrists, this Bush Administration has a sociopathetic streak whereby it can't seem to stop lying, bluffing and throwing the bull. They've turned the White House into the Bunk House. And thereby may be the reason they would prefer to ignore that scoolmarmish Cindy Sheehan. Could be, too, this Bush Gang just don't know when to fold 'em.


Doug Giebel lives in Big Sandy, Montana. He welcomes correspondence at

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