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Sheehan ponders run for office
Sheehan ponders run for office
By Thaddeus DeJesus Tribune-Herald staff writer
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
CRAWFORD – President Cindy Sheehan?
Although the nation's highest elected post is likely out of reach for the so-called “peace mom,” Cindy Sheehan said she won't rule out a run for public office in the future.
“The reason I think I can't run right now is because I'm a one-issue person: It's all about the war,” Sheehan told the Tribune-Herald. “And I don't even want to learn about anything else. I think, right now, we can do more outside of politics than in politics.”
The sit-in Sheehan mounted near President Bush's vacation home is quickly winding down after a nearly month-long presence on the Central Texas prairie that has spawned protests and counter-protests from groups and individuals seeking to advance the cause of war or peace.
Volunteers on Tuesday began dismantling a makeshift military memorial for the war's fallen troops. Today, Sheehan and other activists are expected to board a bus and take their protest to U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's Houston-area district office.
The powerful Republican who represents Sugar Land will not meet with Sheehan, staffers have said.
Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., said she intends to take her anti-war message to members of Congress after her highly visible attempt to get a meeting with Bush failed. Sheehan had sought an audience with the president to discuss bringing an immediate end to the war. Sheehan became a full-time activist after the death of her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, killed in 2004 in an ambush in Baghdad.
Sheehan acknowledged that her political life hinges largely on the duration of the Iraq war. She has said she intends to protest the government's actions and policies until the troops are withdrawn from Iraq.
In the meantime, Sheehan will have to continue building her resume, said Brian Roberts, a professor of American politics and political campaigns at the University of Texas at Austin.
“It's going to take something more than tabloid notoriety to get elected,” he said. “We have no idea what her policies are other than the repatriation of American troops.”
During her vigil near the Bush ranch, Sheehan has proven deft at handling the news media and defusing critical questions about her protest.
Arguably, some of that can be attributed to the help she has received from the public relations firm Fenton Communications, which helped keep Sheehan on track with her anti-war message. With any political figure, connections and money matter greatly.
It was Sheehan's connections within the peace movement that gave her access to funds paying for that PR firm's work, including its staffers on the ground in Crawford and at Fenton's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
TrueMajority, founded by Ben Cohen of the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream namesake, is footing the bill for Fenton Communications. TrueMajority is an organization pressing for a number of causes, including easing global poverty and curbing U.S. militarism.
When Sheehan has taken the stage in front of large groups near the president's ranch, audience members listen intently to her words and take to their feet. Her speeches have routinely skewered the president and sounded eerily like addresses at the last Democratic National Convention.
And as with any good politician at a rally, Sheehan's speeches were frequently interrupted by applause and whistles.
For all her anti-Bush bluster, though, Sheehan says she has reservations about the mainstream Democratic Party, some of whom support the Iraq war.
Sheehan said her political beliefs best match those of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Progressive Democrats have been more vocal in opposition to the Iraq war than the party in general.
“I think we have to have a new party, Camp Caseykins, Caseycrats or something,” she said. “I don't identify with either party at all. I don't identify with them. I think they're different sides of the same coin.”
If Sheehan were to run for public office, it would not be the first time a candidate has channeled grief into a political bid. Others who have pursued that route include:
— State Rep. Suzanna Hupp, R-Lampasas, who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996 after she lobbied for concealed handgun laws. Hupp saw her parents killed in the 1991 massacre at a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen that claimed 23 lives. The incident remains one of the worst mass shootings in the nation's history.
— U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., who ran on a platform that opposed gun violence. McCarthy's husband was among six passengers slain in 1993 by a gunman aboard a Long Island commuter train. McCarthy was elected in November 1996 and is serving her fifth U.S. congressional term.
— Mary Bono and Jean Carnahan went to Congress after their spouses were accidentally killed. Bono, who remains the U.S. representative for California's 45th congressional district, replaced her husband, Sonny Bono, after he died in a skiing accident in 1998.
Carnahan served briefly as a senator from Missouri from 2001-02 to fill the term of her husband, Gov. Mel Carnahan, who was posthumously elected to the U.S. Senate. Less than a month before the 2000 election, Gov. Carnahan was killed in a plane crash. Jean Carnahan lost a special election to fill the remainder of the term.
[QUOTE=bitonti]she admits herself she's a one issue candidate and won't run. Where's the story? [/QUOTE]
The story has moved to LA/MI. Her days of mega-attention, recently numbered, are now over. She could wrap herself in a flammable sari and ignite and few would notice. Or care, frankly, including Joan Baez.