Sheehan v. Pelosi

Anti-War icon Cindy Sheehan said today she’ll challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her Congressional seat in the 2008 elections if Pelosi doesn’t introduce articles of impeachment against Bush in the next two weeks:

Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That’s when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting next week from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.

“Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,” Sheehan told The Associated Press. “We hired them to bring an end to the war. I’m not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn’t be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money.”

No comment from Pelosi. What do you think?

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46 Comments

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46 responses to “Sheehan v. Pelosi

  1. I thought Sheehan was retiring from public life.

    Anyway, Pelosi has disappointed this Californian. I’m for term limits anyway, so I tend to vote for any Independent challenger.

  2. Against it.

    Pelosi is the person who would become president if Chimpy and Shooter are impeached and convicted. She shouldn’t be the driving force.

    An ultimatum for two weeks timed to a Sheehan event is also a bit crass.

    Sheehan is not from San Francisco.

    She wants to run as an independent.

    If she ran a grass roots primary challenge, and actually moved to San Francisco, it’s her right, and I would say full speed ahead.

    This sounds nore like a stunt. Perhaps Sheehan should run from her own district.

  3. I admire Sheehan’s activism, but I don’t know that I want her in office.

    I agree with trifecta that it’s a stunt, but activism is all about the well-played stunt. The campout in Crawford was also a stunt, but a superb and galvanizing one. If this attracts attention and energizes people towards impeachment, then it’s the right kind of stunt.

  4. Holly in cincinnati

    I think it’s a stupid idea and Sheehan should disappear from public life. I do not admire her at all.

  5. I agree with both of the above comments. This is the wrong thing for Sheehan to do. She should keep the commitment she made to her family to spend time with them again.

    I don’t think it’s a stunt, exactly. Obviously, this is jmo, and a lot if it is based on the personal experience of losing a child in a situation where others were at fault for the death. I think that Sheehan is doing this because she just can’t let go. Her heart is a bottomless pit of grief and sorrow and pain because her son is dead, and anger at the people who are responsible for his death. She wants justice. She wants some justice, goddamnit. For herself, for Casey, for her family, for all the families that are going through the same pain. She cannot let it go, until she gets the justice that will relieve at least part of her suffering. The suffering itself is a prod that goads her on to keep on taking action, doing something, to make something positive come out of her son’s death.

    Maybe I’m completely wrong about this. And of course I’ll never know. But I think these things because I felt everything I just described above when my first child died of Tay-Sachs disease at the age of 3 — the reason that she came into this world with this incurable disease to start with being that my husband was tested soon after I discovered I was pregnant to see if he was a carrier for Tay-Sachs (we would have done it before getting pregnant, but we had never heard of Tay-Sachs before until my obstetrician mentioned it). I should have been tested too, but I wasn’t, and my (now ex-) husband was found to be *not* a carrier — because the medical lab made an error.

    For a long time after Abigail was diagnosed, Dave and I went on talk shows, gave interviews to magazines, and anything else we could do to publicize what this laboratory, and the doctor who ran it, had done. We wanted to destroy his career (he made it known that he didn’t feel any responsibility for the error, and that played a big part in our fury).

    My experience with Abigail and Cindy Sheehan’s experience with losing a son to war are obviously not completely analogous. I’m not saying Cindy Sheehan wants revenge in the same way that — being brutally honest — Dave and I did. The Iraq war, clearly, is a much larger, broader issue with far more extensive and far-reaching implications that go beyond one person’s loss. Cindy Sheehan is aware of that, and I totally give her credit for wanting justice for all military families, and for all Iraqis, not just herself.

    But what I empathize with is the core emotions — the pain of knowing your child is dead (or was allowed to be born even though her very early death was 100% certain) because of the callous indifference of others, and the anger and pain that generates.

    I really, really feel for Cindy Sheehan — but I think she needs, not to let it go exactly, but to take some time for herself and her family, to process the grief and the loss, because I think it’s still overwhelming.

  6. Silver Owl

    Pelosi refuses to use the tools available to her to her job she needs to replaced by someone who will.

    That goes for every single person in congress. Obama has the exact same problem. He too refuses to use the all the tools available.

    If you can not do the job get out of the field.

    Whether Sheehan is a valid replacement I don’t know. I don’t much about how she stands with other freedoms and issues in America.

    I do know that those that refuse to use impeachment because of fear are not qualified to hold their jobs.

  7. LS

    I agree with trifecta — Pelosi cannot be the one to call for impeachment, because she is the one who stands to “benefit” most directly from it. (scare quotes because at this point in time, you’d have to be insane to actually want that job and the headaches that come with it…) It must come from elsewhere, preferably lower down in the hierarchy of publically-recognizable people — that is, it shouldn’t be any of the Big Names, because it will be made out to be a political game.

    Ideally, you want the push to come from someone who’s got enough name recognition to have people go, “Oh yeah, that guy” when his (or her) name comes up on the news, and has a reputation for fairness. Even more ideally, you want it to be bi-partisan.

  8. It has been widely predicted here in the Bay Area that someone from the far left would mount a challenge to Pelosi. Pelosi as Speaker has to lead from the middle, not the fringe, of the Democratic pack. That was bound to piss off the vocal Progressive community here.

    The only surprise is that Sheehan is stepping forward to make the attempt. I really hope that Sheehan rethinks her stance. If recent elections are an accurate guide, she’ll lose (the Green / Progressive candidate has lost to the Democrat in the last 2 mayoral elections in SF), and she’ll make herself look even worse in the process of losing.

    @Kathy — I am so sorry to hear your story. Tay-Sachs is a well known problem within the Jewish community, so we take testing for granted, but I also know that in the general population that’s not the case.

  9. I just wanted to clarify the start of my comment above, where I say, “I agree with both of the above comments.” When I wrote and posted that, there were only two comments there — Fritz’s and Trifecta’s. Those are the two comments I agreed with. Now that I read the others, I agree with all but one of them (you can probably guess which one that is), but Fritz’s and Trifecta’s are the ones to which I was specifically referring in my comment.

  10. Cindy Sheehan’s current district is the same as mine, and the representative is totally excellent: Barbara Lee.

    I don’t think Cindy Sheehan could beat Nancy Pelosi in her San Francisco district, and if she is going to carpetbag maybe there would be a better target.

  11. Hmmm. This situation is something of a cognitive hydra’s next for me.

    On the one hand, I see that the Dems are (I hope) making certain choices with the ’08 election in mind. On the other hand, I’m not sure that I agree that “it can’t come from Pelosi”.

    For me, holding to one’s convictions, acting ethically, and taking responsible action is something I want in all my congressional representatives — even if this makes them vulnerable to cries from the Right of “political circus!” (Hell, they’re going to cry that, anyway.)

    When I search my gut, I think that a move for impeachment should come from anyone who truly believes that Bush and Cheney have violated their oaths of office. I daresay that is nearly every democrat, and many republicans, currently in office.

    Any legislator who believes the law has been broken has a legal obligation to act to uphold the constitution, IMHFO. It’s their job. Add to this the responsibility for leadership that falls on Pelosi’s shoulders, and I think it is doubly true that she has an obligation to act. No matter how that action might be perceived. I’m pretty sick of the wimpatude I’m seeing in the Democratic “leadership” right now.

    That said, I wouldn’t support a vote for Sheehan, for a variety of reasons. I know nothing about her qualifications or stances, and frankly, she looks and sounds burnt-out to me — fried to a crispy crisp, in fact.

  12. Oh fer fuck’s sake — try to write something high-falutin’ like “Hydra’s Nest” and make a typo. :*)

  13. Pingback: University Update - Nancy Pelosi - Sheehan v. Pelosi

  14. By the way, Kathy. I was briefly diagnosed with Tay-Sachs when I was three. It turned out to be Gaucher’s. Also very common in the Jewish community. Why they thought it was Tay-Sachs at first is somewhat of a mystery, the eye doctor saw spots that should not exist in Gaucher’s, so there may be some neuronopathy in my case but if so it is minor enough that I have lived 36 years so far.

  15. pokerbutt

    Well, I generally consider Sheehan an idiot, so I don’t take much of a view of this at all. Really, she should run in a district that doesn’t have a progressive/liberal representing it if she really wants to help. As has already been mentioned, Pelosi cannot really put out articles of impeachment as she’s the one who is next in line.

    I also happen to think Pelosi’s doing a fabulous job considering the political realities she has to work within, something that many people overlook or simple don’t even know exist in the first place. And truly, the stuff comingout of the House is impressive. That it gets stymied in the Senate is hardly Pelosi’s fault. (Why is no one muttering at Reid, here?)

    Anyway, I think/hope this is a stunt.

  16. This has the whiff of opportunism to it. And while I fully respect what Ms. Sheehan has done and I love the fact that the mere mention of her name sets the righties into a full-tilt lather, I’m not sure she’s cut out to be more than a candidate, and I don’t really think she’s thought much beyond the election.

    Being a Congressperson is a lot of details, meetings, and mundane crap. A freshman is basically an amoeba in the ecosystem on Capitol Hill and other than all the press attention she’d get for the fifteen minutes, she’d have to dig in and do a lot more than just vote against the war.

    If she’s serious, I’d suggest she look at the career of Rep. Carolyn McCormick from Long Island who ran for Congress to change the gun laws after her husband and son were killed by a whack-job on the LIRR. Ms. McCormick ran and won … and she’s found that there’s a lot more to do than she thought. The good news is that she’s grown in the job, but she’s also learned that there’s more to being a one-issue candidate than the one issue.

    Holly, your idea of a good congressperson would be Jean Schmidt, right?

  17. Betsy

    While Pelosi isn’t doing a perfect job, I do not think that Cindy Sheehan would make a good or effective politician. I think she has, in the past, made a very good activist, and sometimes those two skill sets can coexist in one person, but not that often. I also think that there are three things the Dems should focus on, morally and strategically.

    1. Ending the war in Iraq, in as orderly and responsible a manner as possible (sad, ironic laugh there).
    2. Changing energy policy to immediately and substantively address global warming.
    3. Start working on a new health care plan.

    These three things are DESPERATELY necessary; most Americans want them; and, least importantly, for these reasons, they would help in ’08. I think that impeachment proceedings could backfire, are unlikely to secure a conviction in the Senate, and are less important than those other three. Yes, they would make us all feel vindicated, but at this point, punishing Bush and Cheney is less important to the nation than beginning to fix the evils they’ve wrought. Anyway, my $.02.

  18. I can only imagine how Townhall is feeling about this news. >_

  19. Dr. Loveless

    I agree with trifecta. Leaving aside whether the Dems should pursue impeachment in the first place, the person who is #3 in the Presidential line of succession cannot make a bid to remove the two people ahead of her without it looking like some sort of power grab.

    As for impeachment itself, I’m undecided. Without a supermajority in both houses of Congress, it’s a lost cause unless enough Republicans jump ship. So far, none have. No amount of agitation against the Dems from the left is going to change the math. Meanwhile, nothing else on the progressive agenda — ending the war, restoring the Constitution, addressing climate change, promoting universal health care — can move forward because of Bush’s veto. Which can’t be overridden without some Repubs jumping ship. And so on. And so on.

    Being a Democrat in Congress must feel like cutting the Gordian knot with a plastic knife. I don’t envy any of them.

    I don’t know what to think about Sheehan, either. Running against Pelosi is only going to subject her to further attacks and embarrassment — but I can’t really criticize her for it either. I saw her speak last year, and I had to leave halfway through. The sheer raw, absolute pain in her voice was unbearable. I just hope that one day she finds a way to heal and be at peace.

  20. I think Pelosi would eat her for lunch, no question. And wouldn’t Conyers have the authority on impeachment hearings, as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee?

  21. bluestockingsrs

    I am opposed to term limits, since we already have them, they are called ELECTIONS.

    The thing that term limits should accomplish, but doesn’t, is vary the people serving in public office. One way to do this that actually works — is to remove the money it takes to run for public office with public financing of campaigns.

    Term limits just force us to lose people who are doing a good job in the office in which they serve and takes the electorate’s power away from them, by limiting who they may select to represent them.

    Sheehan wouldn’t win, even in the liberal Bay Area, most folks are pragmatic, even if they are “liberals”. Pelosi has delivered on matters that mean much more to the day to day existence of Californians and most folks know that, even if people not from here, don’t.

  22. Well, if Holly in C. said one thing. I naturally have to say another, for some odd fuckin’ reason.

    I wish Bush & Cheney were impeached right now. I’d love to have a President Pelosi as I’ve said here repeatedly and recently.

    But above all of that, I’d love to see Pelosi lose her seat to Sheehan AFTER Pelosi is President!

    How ’bout that?

  23. Oh fer fuck’s sake — try to write something high-falutin’ like “Hydra’s Nest” and make a typo. :*)

    Oh hell, PD, get used to it. I do it all the fuckin time. In my best shit too.

  24. ananke

    I’d like to see Sheehan take on any Republican incumbent in a race instead of going after another Democrat. I just don’t like to see Pelosi vilified from the right and the left.

  25. sab

    Impeaching Bush shouldn’t even be thought of until Cheney is impeached. Jeez. Does Cindy Sheehan want a war with Iran?

  26. Cindy Sheehan is becoming to the Left what Ralph Nader is. She is becoming so irrelevant that she is no longer taken seriously by the mainstream public. She is now attacking Democrats the same way Nader did. Sheehan doesn’t stand a chance in hell running against Pelosi with no party or fundraisers. She will lose and gain nothing.

  27. Can you imagine what the Dems will look like if a group of REPUBLICANS impeach Bush? “We saved the GOP! We’re the heroes!”

  28. oddjob

    Pelosi can indeed raise impeachment, but only if she does it by pushing for a Cheney impeachment first. That’s an eminently sensible strategy. If Cheney were to be successfully removed from office Shrub would be obligated to name a replacement. Once that’s done (& assuming he doesn’t do something truly insane like nominate another already impeachable candidate like Rumsfeld or Gonzales), Pelosi will no longer be a beneficiary of the impeachment process.

    And considering Holly firmly endorses war with Iran, which will destroy our army, and also apparently has no problem with our present policy of torture of suspects, I hardly find her opinions in this matter worth paying any attention to. When she repents before her g-d, I’ll start paying attention again. Until then, she has a bigger problem than us, and it’s one of her own making.

  29. oddjob

    Oh, I agree with Deborah as regards the question.

  30. rslux, thank you for your kind words. I just want to correct your implication that I am not Jewish. I am Jewish. But neither my ex-husband nor I were active in the Jewish community at the time of my first pregnancy. I don’t think he had ever heard of Tay-Sachs. I had heard it mentioned once, years earlier, on — of all places — a Marcus Welby episode. But that was years before I became pregnant, and I certainly didn’t remember it as something I should be concerned about — until I *was* pregnant and my obstetrician asked us, “Have you been tested to see if you are Tay-Sachs carriers?”

    Oops.

  31. Why they thought it was Tay-Sachs at first is somewhat of a mystery, the eye doctor saw spots that should not exist in Gaucher’s, so there may be some neuronopathy in my case but if so it is minor enough that I have lived 36 years so far.

    I have definitely heard of Gaucher’s — I basically know more about the family of lipid storage diseases than I ever wanted to know, or wish I’d known.

    I am VERY glad you have lived 36 years so far, and may you live for many more. 🙂

  32. Grendel72

    It’s the people’s call to make. If Democrats won’t do what they were elected to do the people should be expected to do something about it.

  33. yep, a stunt.
    and good for cindi to call out the dems.
    AND if it gets people talking about impeachment, all the better.

  34. Sheehan wouldn’t be in my district whether she ran in Berkeley/Oakland/Alameda or SF, but this is something I think about given my partial dissatisfaction with my own Rep. Henry Waxman. I like Barbara Lee, and she was my rep for my 5 years in Berkeley, but she inexplicably voted in favor of that meretricious Ahmadinejad “genocide” resolution.

    That said, if she was running, I’d probably vote for Sheehan. I couldn’t vote for Pelosi. Lee, I could vote for. Waxman, jury’s still out. Boxer, strong maybe. Feinstein… LOL!

    BTW, I love this:

    I am opposed to term limits, since we already have them, they are called ELECTIONS.

    bluestockingsrs

    Well said. I plan to shamelessly plagiarize it henceforth. 🙂

  35. pilotweed

    Interesting.

    But I wonder if she would pull a Patti Weterling. Patti Weterling should have been the most awesome candidate against Michelle Bachmann here in MN. She should have won! Instead she was a lousy candidate who couldn’t get elected if she tried. I am not saying that their lives and experiences are not legitimate, nor are their causes. What I am saying is that maybe they should stick to activism(which is what they do best), and maybe hone their message a little more for those who can get elected. Christ on a shingle, I can’t believe I said that! Fuck. Ignore it all and lets see what happens. SHIT! I can’t believe I said that as well!!!! I need more booze. All I am saying is I want strong candidates who are not afraid of their backsides and are willing to go the distance and I don’t know that Cindy Sheehan can do that. Elections are a dirty business that do not get covered properly by the media.

  36. bluestockingsrs

    Mike, I can’t take credit for that line, I am sure I heard my auntie say it, and I think she got it from the League of Women Voters.

    But I do adore it as well.

  37. Annie Haygood

    I’m just as pissed at the do-nothing worthless Democrats as I am at the Repukes, and I absolutely TOTALLY advocate independent challenges against them. Pelosi is worthless as opposition to Bush, as are about 95% of the Democrats. We need to attack them and force them to oppose Bush or drive them from office.

  38. Edit: I meant Carolyn McCarthy, not McCormick. D’oh.

  39. Sheehan running for office: bad.

    Pelosi pushing for impeachment: good. I agree with the comments above indicating that Cheney should be targeted first.

  40. Great discussion, as per usual.

    Kathy, I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m deeply appreciative of your willingness to share it to add a different component to the conversation.

  41. lou

    As pointed out, things move in the House and get stuck in the Senate. How can you blame Pelosi for that? And the reason it gets stuck in the Senate is because the Dems have a razor thin margin over the Republicans. They need 60 votes to override filibusters and vetoes.

    I think Cindy Sheehan is becoming an embarrassment. As someone else said, she’s making perfect the enemy of the good. I do think the Democrats are too easy to compromise, but I don’t think that kind of activism works.

    PS Mike, why do you dislike Waxman? I mean, he’s been a pit bull against the administration with all the hearings he’s held and subpoenas issued. Half the appalling stuff that’s finally come to light has only come to light, thanks to him.

  42. Can you imagine what the Dems will look like if a group of REPUBLICANS impeach Bush? “We saved the GOP! We’re the heroes!”

    I don’t think we have to worry about that happening. Ever.

  43. Melissa, thank you. If there’s one thing I learned from this experience, it’s that the only meaning I can find in it is the meaning I create myself — and sharing it in contexts where I think it might help others or illuminate a related issue is one way to do that.

  44. Lou, that bit about Waxman is more frustration than pragmatism. I agree, he’s one of the better reps, about as good as they get (short of Kucinich and sometimes Barbara Lee). But he’s a quiet, though dogged, accountant type. I’d like to see him get up and really denounce everyday the people continuing this war. I’d also like him to drop what appears to me to be unlimited and unwarranted support for Israeli policy.

  45. John C.

    While I’m immensely sorry that Ms. Sheehan lost her son in this terrible war, it is clear that her entire political agenda is motivated by her desire to, in her mind, bring meaning to her son’s life. She is blinded to the fact that her son’s life was very meaningful to his country. In her grief, Ms. Sheehan searches for peace down several wrong avenues. She doesn’t have the courage that her son had, and she is, therefore, unfit to serve this country in the Senate.

  46. Matt

    Go Cindy!
    Heaven help a world in which a country can do to Iraq what we’ve done, for the reasons that we’ve done it, and not be help accountable! Pelosi has not only taken a position that protects the war criminals from accountability, but she’s actually escalated the funding for the Bushwar. Shame on her. It is her constitutional duty -wheter she likes it or not- to bring the articles of impeachment to the floor. If she and Conyers and Lofgren are unwilling to have this open debate and present the litany of crimes committed, then they have become complicit in the crimes that they are protecting. One doesn’t have to be a fringe player or radical to see that our President and Vice President have broken international and domestic laws surrounding this war, through their misleadfing and false charges against Iraq, to their torture policies and spying activities. True Democrats and citizens do not play politics with issues of illegal and needless wars. Nor do they hide behind fear tactics and false rhetoric. Pelosi has joined the ranks of Bush and Cheney, and this will be her legacy. Go Shirley Golub and Cindy Sheehan!

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