The Summer of Love

Senator Barbara Boxer said “Impeachment should be on the table” on the Ed Shultz Show, 7/11/07.

I just received an email/press release from Boxer, mostly about the Defense Authorization bill, now before Congress:

In the opening of an unprecedented, two-week debate on the Iraq war, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today spoke out on the Senate floor and challenged those who have made statements against the war to follow it up by voting for real, binding measures to bring our troops home.

(And here I must gloat a bit, I’m not only a Boxer constituent, but I also live in Henry Waxman’s district. I’ve lived in other parts of the country where I mostly cursed or rolled my eyes at the people who represented me, and so I’m extremely aware of how fortunate I am to have people like Boxer and Waxman working for me. I took the advice of the great conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan, who advocated, "vote with your feet" and I have never regretted it).

Highlights of Boxer’s speech are here. No mention of impeachment.

Another powerful woman, Cindy Sheehan is on her Summer of Love ’07: Journey for Humanity, marching from Crawford TX to New York City, by way of John Conyer’s office in the House of Representatives. She’s scheduled to reach Conyer’s office on July 23, to encourage him to take the lead on impeachment.

I have no idea whether Sheehan will be able to channel and focus the groundswell of anger in this country for impeachment, or whether this will be yet another ineffective replay of 1960s demonstration tactics. A majority of the public supports impeachment of Cheney (at least), and so the energy is there, it’s just a matter of whether Sheehan (and others) can acquire and demonstrate the skill to focus it. If you’ll forgive the very crude analogy, it’s a bit like watching neanderthals about to figure out how to use fire, for the first time, wondering if this will be the time that they get it, if they ever do.

As maha wrote in Protesting 102, the question is whether they’re "still caught up in the romance of being Outcasts and Rebels, and Speaking Truth to Power, and are not serious about taking and using power to effect change". A further question for Sheehan is whether she can move beyond her own personal loss, and identify more broadly with the international (and intentional) tragedy that is the Bush Administration.

I happened to catch Fox "News" report on Cindy Sheehan’s challenge to Nancy Pelosi, where Sheehan promised to run against Speaker Pelosi if Pelosi did not get behind impeachment, and pronto. Setting aside whether this is a good idea or not, what was striking about the report was how Fox portrayed the two women. They showed a still photo of Sheehan that looked as if she hadn’t slept in days – she looked terrible, every bit the fringe wacko strawman that the right relishes standing up and knocking down. By contrast, Pelosi looked radiant, while the "newscaster" helpfully explained that Pelosi enjoys 80 % approval in her district – well, she probably did before her refusal to consider impeachment.

This parallels the relentless focus by the conservative media on John Edwards’ hair earlier this summer. They spent weeks distracting us with this trivia instead of reporting on the substance of Edwards’ proposals. To my knowledge, no other Democratic candidate got this kind of treatment from the right. And let’s not forget the other sideshows of Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith. One gets the sense that they must actually hold auditions for these distractions, deliberately seeking them out.

The powers behind the right wing media know they’re likely to lose this time around, and so they are doing everything they can to deep-six anyone on the left who has the potential to rock the boat. Winnowing the field. Our field.

7 thoughts on “The Summer of Love

  1. As maha wrote in Protesting 102, the question is whether they’re “still caught up in the romance of being Outcasts and Rebels, and Speaking Truth to Power, and are not serious about taking and using power to effect change”.
    Hit the nail on the head again! And unfortunately I think the question answers itself. She’s already amply demonstrated her fixation with being the morally pure witness rather than seriously taking and using power to effect change. That’s why so many people who want to see our troops come home and see this whole administration impeached have had it with her.

  2. I am surprised at the animosity directed toward Pelosi from the left. I for one think she’s doing a fantastic job given the constraints she’s got (and certainly I’d like to see Reid display the same amount of backbone, but do I see people going after him the way they do Pelosi? I do not).

    At my most charitable, I think Sheehan is misguided. I think she would do far more good to challenge a Republican candidate and get more Dems on the table. Or challenge a DINO if that seems more doable. At my less charitable I’ve never thought much of Sheehan or her stunts, although I think she’s sincere enough in her anguish over the war, I think she not astute enough to avoid being used by others for their purpose. I was under the impression she’d “retired” from public life, so I have to wonder who put her up to this notion and I suspect the answers won’t look good.

  3. Chances of impeachment are exactly zero son. And I just love the ridiculous idea of a right-wing media. A complete scream!

  4. I’m afraid that the chances of impeachment are indeed zero–if not less. But if I were a member of either chamber, I’d begin and end every speech with “Bush delenda est!”–in a judicial sense, of course.

  5. Chances of impeachment are near zero. Credibility of Cindy Sheehan to lead any large movement is lower than chance of impeachment. And the media isn’t “right-wing”; it is “corporate”, which is often, but not exclusively, right-wing. Right- and left-wing values are much less conflated with naked self-interest than corporate values.
    If I were John Conyers, I’d have a vacation scheduled for the week Cindy is going to be in Washington. And if she really wants the bad guys impeached, you’d raise the chances by staying as far away from Conyers as possible.
    Viva Nancy Pelosi.

  6. Chances of impeachment are exactly zero…

    I’d say it’s unlikely, but never say never…we live in strange times and anything could happen. The last six years are a testimony to that. Things are increasingly up for grabs, for those who know how to grab them.


    Who you callin’ “son”? I turn 52 next month. Not that chronological age is everything – there are kids who are wise beyond their years, and old timers who are stuck in the past.

    And I just love the ridiculous idea of a right-wing media. A complete scream!

    Oh? Ever hear of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News? How about Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham or Glen Beck? How is it that the mainstream media (let alone the right wing media), influenced by the right, completely blew it on the lies leading up to the Iraq War? They failed to do their job and did not challenge the fables this administration was promoting. Thousands of people have died as a result, our country’s reputation is dirt, and we are stuck in a massive quagmire.

    The very existence of this blog and many others is due to the excessive influence of the right on the media. In other words, if the media were doing its job, instead of letting itself be intimidated by the right, there would be no left wing blogosphere.

    Laugh all you want pal, but you’re laughing alone.

  7. I really don’t want to write this, but I feel I must.
    On the 40th anniversary of “The Summer of Love,” how about a “Summer of Hate?”
    I hate prejudice.
    I hate war.
    I hate arrogance.
    I hate imcompetence.
    I hate mysogeny.
    I hate anti-gay legislation.
    I hate Dominionism.
    I hate hatred (sic…)

    Maybe after a “Summer of Hate,’ we could learn to love again…

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