Not the Retiring Kind

Cindy Sheehan on Capitol Hill: Taking the battle to her erstwhile friends.
Cindy Sheehan on Capitol Hill: Taking the battle to her erstwhile friends. (By Alex Wong -- Getty Images)
By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

As a retiree, Cindy Sheehan was the Michael Jordan of the peace movement.

"I am going to take whatever I have left and go home," she announced in her May 29 "resignation letter" as antiwar activist. "Good-bye America."

The retirement -- and Sheehan's attempt to "be normal," as she put it -- lasted exactly 34 days. On July 2, she un-retired after hearing that President Bush had commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence. And yesterday, bullhorn in hand, she led a march of demonstrators from Arlington National Cemetery to the Capitol, where she ended the day by getting arrested.

Today, she plans to announce that she will run against Nancy Pelosi in next year's congressional election because the House speaker won't pursue impeaching Bush. Then there's Sheehan's trip to Syria and Iraq next month.

"I had to get back into it," she said yesterday, wearing an "Impeach Bush" T-shirt and clutching the familiar white cross with the plastic rose on it that she uses to symbolize the death in Iraq of her soldier-son, Casey.

What -- you thought she was going to play shuffleboard?

Sheehan's return to the workforce has come with occupational hazards. The left-wing Daily Kos Web site banned her postings because of her challenge to Pelosi. Britain's Guardian newspaper, which has a large antiwar following, ran an article titled "The epic narcissism of Cindy Sheehan."

Sheehan, in her no-longer-operative resignation statement, said her troubles began "when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party." Actually, her troubles have more to do with the hug and the promise of help she received from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, to whom she described Bush as a "terrorist."

But there can be no doubt that Sheehan has a voracious appetite when it comes to eating her own.

"If Nancy Pelosi doesn't do her constitutionally mandated job by midnight tonight, tomorrow I will announce that I am going to run against her," Sheehan announced outside the cemetery's gates yesterday. "I will beat her in California."

Sheehan then waded into constitutional law, and the little- known mandatory impeachment clause. "Impeachment is not a fringe movement -- it is mandated in our Constitution," she asserted. "Nancy Pelosi had no authority to take it off the table. If she takes impeachment off the table, what else will she take off the table -- the First Amendment?"

Probably won't be necessary. Pelosi routinely gets more than 80 percent of the vote in her San Francisco district. "How many do we have here actually from the district I'll be running in?" Sheehan asked the crowd of not quite 300.


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