It Takes a Village to Smear Cindy Sheehan

The right wing attacks on Cindy Sheehan -- desperate, pathetic, and grasping at straws -- expose much less about their target than about the attackers.

I mean, trying to slime a grieving Gold Star mom because she is inconveniently questioning the reasons her son was sent off to die in Iraq? Why that would be like trashing a much-decorated war hero or outing an undercover CIA agent…

Oh, right…

How much longer can the Bushies get away with mauling the very values they profess to stand for before their supporters start getting wise to the fact that the only value they really value is power?

Think about it, they’ve shown absolutely no compunction about turning the sleaze machine on an undercover agent who’d spent her career working to protect us from weapons of mass destruction, a Silver Star/Purple Heart veteran who volunteered to fight in a war the administration chickenhawks gamed the system to avoid, and now the mother of a dead soldier.

The right wing smear machine whirrs on -- using its media mouthpieces to do this dirtiest of dirty work. First it was the lie that Sheehan had, in the words of Drudge, “dramatically changed her account” of her June 2004 meeting with Bush. Despite the fact that this supposed flip-flop was a total distortion created by taking quotes out of context, the story quickly made its way into the hands of conservative bloggers… and allowed the TV jackal-pack to start tearing away at Sheehan’s flesh. For all the details on how this went down, check out Media Matters blow-by-blow description. The lowlights included Bill O’Reilly and Michelle Malkin tag-teaming up to push the idea that Sheehan’s “story hasn’t checked out”. O’Reilly also claimed Sheehan “is in bed with the radical left”, and, later suggested “this kind of behavior borders on treasonous”… and, for bad measure, tried to slime Sheehan by linking her with “people who hate this government, hate their country”.

Rush Limbaugh played his usual role, parroting the flip-flop party line, saying that Sheehan was “trying to pull a little bit of a swindle” and that “she’d been totally co-opted by…the whole Michael Moore leftist mentality.” Fred Barnes piled on, saying of Sheehan: “She’s a crackpot” (no doubt using the same video-based diagnostic technique pioneered by Bill Frist). And Michelle Malkin went all Patricia Arquette on the case, using her heretofore unpromoted ESP powers to let us know that Sheehan’s dead son Casey wouldn’t approve of “his mother’s crazy accusations”.

Beyond contempt. But I will say this for these sleazeballs: they are nothing if not resilient. After the Cindy as Flip-Flopper story was revealed as a very poorly done hatchet job, a second load of sludge was quickly dumped: the ludicrous statement from the (ahem) “Sheehan Family” condemning Cindy’s “political motivations and publicity tactics” (run under a banner headline proclaiming “Family of Fallen Soldier Pleads: Please Stop, Cindy”).

Where do I start with this piece of manufactured offal? How about the fact that no one put their names on the statement, which was “signed” by “Casey Sheehan’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins”. Don’t these folks have names? The only name attached to the “Sheehan Family” statement (delivered to Drudge via email with permission “to distribute as you wish”) belongs to Cherie Quartarolo who describes herself as Casey’s aunt and godmother. So did I miss something? Since when does godmother outrank mother? What I really want to know is: how does Casey’s second-cousin-twice-removed feel about Cindy’s vigil? How about his ex-brother-in-law’s cleaning lady?

Cindy deals with all this very succinctly in her latest post, but suffice it to say that Casey’s dad and their three other children are all supportive of what Cindy is doing. Hmm… I always thought conservatives were big proponents of the importance of the nuclear family. Does James Dobson know about this attempt to undermine the primacy of a mother?

I guess it takes a village to trash a grieving Gold Star Mom.

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