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Hey, Cindy...

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday January 28, 2006 03:48 PM

An open letter to Cindy Sheehan

January 28, 2006

Dear Cindy Sheehan --

Last year, you almost single-handedly revived the dead American anti-war movement -- a movement killed by its own fatal attraction to the Democratic Party and its lesser (but still plenty evil) warmakers like Kerry, and Clinton, and Pelosi. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

I'm sure you have your own ideas about what to do next, but perhaps you'd be interested to know what one admirer, at least, would like to see you do.

I think you should set your sights on one of these Democratic war criminals and run against him or her. And I don't mean a primary challenge, or just a primary challenge; I mean run on a third-party line, in some state or district where anti-war forces are strong, as a frank and self-proclaimed spoiler.

What would be the point of this exercise?

It's pretty clear to a lot of us that the Democratic Party, at least in its present form, is part of the problem, not part of the solution. But counsel is divided about how that might and should change. Some of us think the Democratic Party is just hopeless and needs to be cleared out of the way. Others think it can be somehow claimed or "reclaimed" by "progressives" -- for lack of a better word.

I don't know which of these views is yours. Personally, I tend to the lost-cause view of the party. Perhaps you wouldn't quite go that far. But I would argue that either way, the conclusion is the same: there can be no quarter for War Democrats. One way or the other, that must become an untenable position.

If you think the Democratic Party can be salvaged as an anti-war party, then the first order of business is to squeeze out the War Democrats by any means necessary. If they can't be defeated in a primary challenge, then they have to be fragged from behind in the general election. (I am speaking metaphorically here, of course.)

Take Hillary Clinton (please!). She faces a couple of anti-war primary challengers, which is a fine thing, as far as it goes. But her war-chest from the Israel lobby, among other sources of lavish funding, is immense, and many Democrats, even many of those who oppose the war and deplore Hillary's support for it, will be so mesmerized by the mirage of "electability" and the sophomoric appeal of strategic voting that they will pull a lever for her even in the primary. If the primary challenges fail, what then? Do we sit back and say, oh well, better luck next time, and watch this monster's triumphal progress back into the Senate and on, quite possibly, to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008?

There is an alternative. We could take the view that we must expel the malefactors, regardless of party label, starting with the easiest, most vulnerable ones -- which means, of course, the War Democrats. We could take a frankly and openly punitive approach to people like Hillary. We could teach them that unless they stand for what we stand for, we will take our votes elsewhere, come what may. They can tell us bloodcurdling tales about the Republican bogeyman until they are Blue in the face, but we can let them know we've seen through that: if they're going to tag along behind the Republicans on the life-and-death issues that matter most to us, what have we to fear from their defeat?

As a movement, we have to show that we have too much self-respect to grovel for crumbs. We will never be taken seriously until we show that there is a price that must be paid for our support -- and a price to be paid for betraying us. "If I can't sell it, gonna keep sittin' on it," runs the old song; "Never catch me givin' it away." We've been givin' it away to the Democrats for way too long.

Now let's get down to brass tacks for a minute. I've been talking about Hillary a lot, and since I live in New York, I can't tell you how much I would love to see you show up here, determined to battle the ogress on a third-party line in November. That would get her attention in a way that her primary challengers probably are not. So if you're disposed to do that, I would be the last person in the world to dissuade you.

But perhaps you're thinking, understandably, that Hillary would be a tough nut to crack. If so, two words: Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi is very vulnerable in her peace-loving San Francisco district, as my blogmate J.S. Paine has explained. If you were to go West, Cindy Sheehan, go West, and challenge Pelosi in the primary and then challenge her again in the general election, it's very likely you could could make an example out of her that would strike fear into the hearts of all her fellow War Democrats. In fact, it's not at all inconceivable that you could end up in her House seat! Think of the hell you could raise there.

This scenario has me in such a paroxysm of delight that I'm going to have to end this letter. I do hope you will consider the idea. Think how happy you would make me -- and many, many others.

Very respectfully yours,

Michael J. Smith

Comments (5)


It looks like you might get your wish, although if you do it won't be Nancy Pelosi that she'd go after; it'd be Dianne Feinstein for failing to join in the filibuster.

Michael J. Smith:

I could live with that too!

Uncle $cam:

I posted this over at dkos, without your name. Just to gage the response. I hope you don't mind. As I am aware of you not being to welcome there by the sleeple. And their knee jerk reaction to your blog and ideals. You can view it here:
Daily CIA, er, I mean Kos under my other pseudonym 'thor'.

Michael J. Smith:

I don't mind reposting at all, but by all means give my name and a link back to the blog here -- only reason to post anything at Kos and such is to encourage any natives who may be restless to get off the reservation.


I'm still sniggering at the thought that Kos titled his tome "Crashing the Gate." Some wag on Pandagon has already dubbed it "Crying at the Gate," which seems more appropos. Funny, I recall that someone else had a book not long ago whose title began with "Crashing the..." something. But it's slipping my mind right now. :D

As for Cindy, I'm sorry that it appears she won't be taking the same tack as Kevin Zeese in MD. He's already been dubbed "another spoiler" by my spouse, so I know he's on the right track... :p

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