Without getting into all the sub-arguments about Cindy Sheehan, I think she’s a great example of the opportunism of partisanship. There’s simply no way that establishment liberals would take the same tone if Bill Clinton were president under remotely similar circumstances. It is flatly inconceivable. Sure some of the Huffington Post types might make similar bleatings, but Juan Williams? No way. A lot of smart (and a lot of dumb) people who are striking a self-righteous pose when it comes to Sheehan, would undoubtedly be singing a different tune if a mother, adopted by ideological enemies of the president, were camping out outside of his vacation home (in Martha’s Vineyard or the like) under similar circumstances. Her previously friendly statements about the president would be used to damn her and that would be the end of it. The nightly news wouldn’t make her a hero and the lefty bloggers would write her off as a “Clinton hater,” a Freeper, a Buchananite or some other example of the “paranoid style” in American politics.
Meanwhile, I am sure it’s true that a lot of folks on the right would be taking up a “rightwing” Cindy Sheehan’s cause. But the key difference is that the Washington Post, New York Times and nightly news shows wouldn’t be volunteering as press agents.
Even giving Sheehan every benefit of the doubt, is it so impossible to understand that caving-in to publicity stunts of this sort is something presidents, Republican and Democrat, are naturally reluctant to do?