Cindy Sheehan’s makeshift protest camp near the president’s ranch in Crawford is a brilliant piece of political theater, and it’s beginning to make people say things they almost surely know they shouldn’t say about a grieving mother, but just can’t quite help themselves. One blogger over at redstate.org used a term relating to prostitution to describe her, and Fred Barnes — one of the nicest men on earth — called her a “kook” on Fox. By allowing her to get their goat in this fashion, Mrs. Sheehan and her friends are getting exactly what they want, which is a cultural confrontation between a mother who lost a son in Iraq and some pundits (like me) who don’t seem to have her moral authority.
The other reason it’s brilliant is that it’s August. August is supposedly a slow news time. Nonsense. August is a fantastic news time, precisely because there’s very little official business going on in the country. You want to make news? It’s best to do it in August, because you can take advantage of the fact that newspapers and television need something interesting to cover.