The Blogometer: Mother, Should I Trust The Government?

It may turn out that 2005 will be the Summer of Sheehan -- no matter which side of the increasingly emotional divide one finds themselves, the fact remains that it is an incredibly compelling and unnerving debate. Both sides see the other as insincere at best and hateful at worst; the Blogometer detects a perceptible uptick in the number of four-letter-words we've come across since the plight of Cindy Sheehan came to attention last week. Over the weekend, one conservative blogger drew sharp attacks from the left blogosphere over comments made; yesterday and today another conservative is coming under considerable fire, and this time some conservatives join in.

And yet there are other stories bubbling up which may have a greater impact on news cycles through the end of the year, to say nothing of future elections. For starters, let's take the '06 midterms -- there's tension on the Dem side of TN SEN, and on the GOP side of NY SEN. Iraqi leaders' decision to extend the deadline for signing a constitution has both sides nervous; most on the right prefer that they not rush, but some on the left argue the U.S. itself is doing the pushing. Closer to home, emergency declarations by 2 Dem govs. in the SW have helped bring the sleeper issue of immigration to greater prominence, and the Washington Post possibly averts a blog swarm by withdrawing its support from a Pentagon-led 9/11 event. Meanwhile, 2 previous swarms -- surrounding the Air America and CIA leak investigations -- have now let up considerably, although there's an intriguing turn in the latter story. All that and more below, plus our latest Blogger Spotlight.
SHEEHAN I: Tactical Dilemma

Sheehan's self-described "radicalized" political beliefs have been the staple of GOP commentary since last week, and now some liberals are wondering if they shouldn't change tactics -- not that there's necessarily agreement on what that shoul be.

WSJ's James Taranto has made a point of listing various controversial statements by Sheehan, which he notes the MSM has not covered. One example comes from a 4/05 speech in Berkeley: "I was raised in a country by a public school system that taught us that America was good, that America was just. America has been killing people ... since we first stepped on this continent, we have been responsible for death and destruction. I passed on that bullshit to my son and my son enlisted. I'm going all over the country telling moms: "This country is not worth dying for." Taranto, on the MSM's motives: "They need something to do; they want bylines -- and 'heartbroken everymom' makes for a much more compelling story than 'extremist hatemonger.'" Conservative Lyflines finds more, such as Sheehan saying "we have had hundreds of our children killed to gain control of the oil fields."

Marie at The Left Coaster offers Sheehan some advice on what to say publicly: "You are front and center of a peace movement, but you are not the peace movement. The poignancy of your simple request to help you deal with the pain of losing your son is what gives you power. ... No need for you to try to connect all the dots on the irrational and massive US war machine for your fellow Americans simply because you have airtime. Just nudge them in the direction of questioning their support for the madness in Iraq is enough."

A Daily Kos diarist argues that the left is "making errors" in framing the Sheehan debate. The author argues for various shifts in rhetoric, such as emphasizing her "sacrifice," the "useless" war, and calling the "Camp Casey" Crawford sit a "vigil." More: "We should call her "Mother Sheehan". We should never call her Cindy; I don't know her. "Mother Sheehan" is her title, and expresses her ceremonial status as a bereaved mother, calling forth over the dead body of her son. She is not a person now, she is a mother, which is not an expression of her individuality, but rather the expression of her eternal character: the mother, the bringer of life who has been wronged by state power." 109 comments follow, with many of them hostile to some suggestions. One commenter says the new moniker "makes her sound like an ancient crone in a nursery rhyme." Another proposes "Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan."
SHEEHAN II: (Don'tcha Know That She's) Not Their Style? (Ev'rything About Her) Drives Them Wild

That Sheehan husband Patrick Sheehan had filed for divorce (dissolution, actually) was first mentioned yesterday; now it is confirmed, as The Smoking Gun has posted the documents online. The breaking of the news itself is the source of some ethical hand-wringing on the right and considerable outrage on the left.

Michelle Malkin was the first high-profile blogger to publicize the Superior Court records discovered by Dang If I Know -- calling it "Like it or not ... news" -- and it is she who draws most of the attention. Right-leaning John Cole points out that Malkin opposed the New York Times' questions about John Roberts' adoption records, and says: "Knock it off, take down that post, and then apologize. ... Even if you think it 'proves' a point. If it proves anything, it proves that losing a son in war f---s up families. Thanks for the deep insight." Liberal DC Media Girl: "That these wingnuts will say anything and stop at nothing to win, while putting on a great show of taking offense when the shoe is on the other foot. ... Open war on the self-hating racist bitch Michelle Malkin. OPEN. WAR."

The Blogometer: 8/16: Mother, Should I Trust The Government?


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