Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I've been trying to remember if there have been any significant historical examples of an elected official refusing to meet with an average citizen. As it so happens, one example from the recent past has some interesting parallels to the Cindy Sheehan story.

In the early months of Hillary Clinton's term as senator, a story "broke" that she had snubbed a group called "The American Gold Star Mothers" that had come to her office in Washington seeking a meeting. The Gold Star Mothers is a group of mothers whose sons and daughters have been killed while serving in the military (note that this is not the same group founded by Cindy Sheehan, which is called "Gold Star Families For Peace"). The story of the alleged snub first appeared on the website Newsmax.com, a sort of quasi-legit underbelly of the Right. Its homepage currently features Michelle Malkin, Bill O'Reilly and Mike Gallagher in its "Pundits" section. You get the idea.

Here's the flavor of that Newsmax story, which appears here (as a sidenote, apparently it is misdated):
Hillary Snubs Gold Star Mothers

America has long known of Bill Clinton's disdain for the U.S. armed forces, going back as far as his comment during his draft-dodging days when he said he "loathed the military." This, of course, was at the time he was participating in protests against the United States military while he was on foreign soil in England.

Hillary Clinton has also never concealed her own similar sentiments. But it may come as something of a shock to New Yorkers to learn that their new junior senator recently dished out her by-now-familiar rude treatment to a group of Gold Star Mothers.

New York chapter president Shirley Jones and member Mary Wheeler, both of upstate New York, told Behan they had been in Washington visiting Senate offices. The only office that refused to meet with the Gold Star Mothers was none other than New York Senator Hillary Clinton. She and her staff simply refused to meet with them.
The usual cast of keyboarding smearsters latched onto and ran with the story, and a massive email campaign mysteriously started that pushed it---emails, by the way, that somehow continue to find their way around the internet in great numbers even now.

There's one little problem: it was all completely untrue.

A summary of what actually happened, along with a sample of the bogus email campaign, appears here. Two Gold Star mothers stopped by Senator Clinton's office without an appointment, and were met by a curt, overworked receptionist who had no idea who they were. Clinton apologized for the incident, and the Gold Star Mothers released the following statement:
With regard to the Newsmax article concerning our organization, the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., deeply regret the misunderstanding about Senator Hillary Clinton. The two mothers who visited Washington did not have an appointment with the Senator and she was not in her office on that day. We would appreciate it if the e-mails and negative comments about Senator Clinton would cease.
Four years later, the rabble-rousing Right still holds this issue dear. Mike Gallagher wrote the following at Newsmax today as part of this longer report on his weekend bus trip to Crawford:
When we got to the protest area outside the president's ranch, we stood alongside the road and sang patriotic songs, waved our flags, and said supportive things about the troops and their commander in chief.

Together, let's keep fighting the good fight. Good will triumph over evil. And we'll continue to win the hearts and minds of Americans who love this country, honor its troops, and support our commander in chief.
Isn't it heartening to know that some of the chattering spinmeisters on the Right take the issue of politicians snubbing mothers of dead troops as seriously as ever?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Yes, Michelle Malkin is listed prominently on the Newsmax site as a "pundit." In light of her position on Sheehan, I wonder what she would say about this.

8/16/2005 1:25 AM  
Anonymous ulphilas said...

I am sure happy about the return of decency and respect to the White House.

8/16/2005 1:27 AM  
Anonymous garth said...

umm...the late '90's obstructionism of the Newt Gingrich House and Senate GOP is what led us to Bush the Younger, who ignored terrorism to whip up support for his military/industrial complex payoff, the missile shield, which apparently was held up by faeries and powered by magic. did you forget the millions, and millions, and millions of dollars and man-hours spent on investigating Clinton, writing about Clinton, blaming Clinton, and obsessing about Clinton's penis? Did you forget the endless right-wing attacks and accusations of "wagging the dog"? What about Newt saying "Clinton did exactly the right thing" in regards to Tomahawk strikes in Sudan on terrorist training camps? and a few years later yammering about how it was useless and ineffective? (sort of like a House member I'm thinking of...)

Anyways, the late 90's led to the mess we're in now. The festering neo-con uprising led to our quagmire. Sadly, I bet if Bush just stood up like a man and said "We're in there for the oil, cuz otherwise you people would have to pay 8.50 a gallon and deal with a ravaged economy, so shut up already", most people would ask which button exploded Shi'ites. Seriously. It's sad but true.

So I guess you were only worried about "spin".

8/16/2005 4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one counter the lies told by politicians and the "media" that never get corrected or taken out of rotation at Town Hall?

Is there no truth anymore? Is everything, including science, just an opinion?

Should every uneducated yahoo's opinion be given the same weight as people who actually know something about a subject? And that includes Mr. Intelligent Design President???

What good can possibly come from thinking that everyone is equal in their opinions?

8/16/2005 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i find the obvious extrapolation intent that cindy sheehan is an "evil doer" far too typical of the spin nowdays.

the leaders (so called) of this nation have bathed in their own filth of fear for so long that now we apparently are to drink it like "koolaid".

8/16/2005 9:50 AM  
Blogger owenz said...

The most compelling story of the next 3 years will be whether the 40% of Americans constituting "Bush's base" abandons him as the country sinks deeper and deeper into the hellhole we're heading for (90% of self-identifying Republicans think Bush is doing a good job - 90% of Democrats and 80% of independents think he's doing a bad job).

As things worsen, Bush's base faces a stark choice in the next few years: embrace reality and face Bush's failures...or withdraw further into the Cult of Personality and reject reality. With Fox News and the web providing a constant stream of propaganda, withdrawal presents a mighty attractive option, doesn't it?

Bob Woodward is predicting that Dick Cheney will run in 2008. This is surreal, frightening, and encouraging all at once. On one level, it makes no sense, considering all the
problems Cheney creates as a candidate (hugely incompetant, few evangelical connections, lesbian daughter, bad ticker, hated by many Americans, loved by almost no one, etc.). On another level, Cheney makes perfect sense: as Bush's retreat from reality accelerates, the circle of possible successors gets smaller and smaller. Few conventional politicians from outside the circle will be able to harness or maintain the deep contradictions that lie at the center of the Bush empire. Cheney could, since that's all Cheney's got. Few others would have the stomach or ability to pull it off.

As a sane person, I welcome a battle with Cheney in 2008. He seems imminently beatable. Yet this prospect also scares the piss out of me. What if Cheney is running against the dreadful Hillary and terrorists strike before the election? Four years under President Cheney...shudder...

8/16/2005 10:06 AM  
Anonymous kindness said...

I didn't realize that the reason we invaded Iraq was for good to triuph over evil.

Did I miss that in one of Powell's or the presidents speaches as a reason?

PS - who in Iraq is good, who is evil?

8/16/2005 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now why should we be bothered with the truth about senater Clinton, since this administration really is not interested in the truth in any shape or form. Lies are so much better and you have never to own up to them. Today all is just spin, smoke and mirrors, and the faithfull are ready to defend you no matter and follow our great, christian leader (bush) over the cliff waving the shredded constitution and plenty of american flags to show just how patriotic they are and naturally in their teeth the BIBLE to attest to their faith.

8/16/2005 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'triumph over evil'

Ummm, I think you missed it. It started in the President's State of the Union address. Remember the "evil-doers" and he also described it as a "crusade". It is his whole axis of evil thing. Perhaps lingo to appeal to his base.

TCR just an awesome blog. This really hit the nail on the head.

Sadly I've come to expect this garbage from Fox, NYP, Washington Times, but it is happening to frequently elsewhere.

It begs the question, what the heck is really going on.

8/16/2005 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone try to get an answer out of Michelle Malkin about how she responds to THIS??

8/16/2005 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TCR's example is better, but there is also when Terry Shiavo's parents were grieving and they were hailed as having a noble cause when their child died.

Cindy Sheehan's son died as a US Marine in what Bush calls a 'noble cause' and they attack her. Man, she really is the Rosa Parks of our time. You go girl!

It is true, President Bush could end ALL of this, right now, if he would just talk to her. Man, he has 5 weeks of vacation. He can't take 1 hour out of 840 hours. What is wrong with this man! He is the President of the United States, not some dictator.

8/16/2005 2:29 PM  
Blogger The Scrutinator said...

You're famous, you know.

8/16/2005 4:44 PM  
Blogger granny said...

We were on the same page there today, I just popped in to see if you had anything to say about any funky monkey business going on in the world of money lately.

I'm paranoid but I share well;)


8/17/2005 1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out "Arguing about Slavery : John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress". Congress wouldn't accept petitions (which the constitution says they have to) that had anything to do with slavery.


8/17/2005 3:07 AM  
Anonymous PenDragon said...

Please explain to me why President Bush has to Re-meet with Ms Sheehan. The last time they met she kissed him. Now she has changed her mind and that is her right. Why does that warrant a Presidential meeting?

How many parents of female interns did Bill Clinton meet with?

This entire issue is ridiculous.

8/17/2005 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crooks and Liars has a few more comparisons.

If it were 'ridiculous', the right wingnuts wouldn't be frothing at the mouth.

They know Cindy is in the right.

Have a little perspective, remember this is a "war" of Bush's choice and our kids, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, are dying; not to mention this is a war based on lies. If it is such a noble cause, why go to such extremes to lie and create propaganda. I personally have faith in the American people to back an issue if it is based on the truth and open debate. One thing Bush and his crew never did was allow anyone else's voice to be heard.

Poor kids shouldn't be the only ones having to fight wingnut wars.

8/17/2005 11:35 PM  
Anonymous PenDragon said...

Dear Anonymous, in case you didn't notice, we had an election in 2004 and Bush won. It was a referendum on the war. The American people were heard, loud and clear.

The Democrats lost even though they tried to disquise their agenda under Kerry's questionable military record.

If there was no legitimate debate and opportunity for everyone's voice to be heard it was because the Democrats didn't want that. They knew that if they pursued the cut and run policy the leftists want, they would have suffered an even worse debacle at the polls than actually occurred. Why do you think the lackys of the Democratic party, the mainstream media that made Abu Gharb a cause celeband investigated Buh's National Guard record for five years only to bring out a false story on the eve of the election, so unfairly torpedoed Howard Dean, dooming the only real vocal opposition candidate they had. They smelled another George McGovern and they were absolutely right. The funny thing about all of this is that Dean doesn't even realize this!

Dean was right-on when he said, early in the campaign, that "You can't beat Bush with Bush-lite." They couldn't and didn't.

Just like the recent special congressional election in Ohio, they pursued a "stealth anti-war compaign." They almost pulled this sham off, another near miss.

The Democrats are going to be a party of near-misses, unless they go out there ant state candidly what they really believe. In that case, they will be the party of landslide losses.

If you have any complaints about voices not being heard, take it up with the opposition Democrats, like Hillary, who are laying low on these unpopular positions because they want to be elected.

Haven't you noticed?

Let me ask you one question: Is this about Cindy Sheehen or Casey? If it is about Casey, a patriot who reenlisted during a time of war, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

What would Casey want?

8/18/2005 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Scott_api said...


"referendum on the war"? I thought it was fear of women being able to marry women that it was a referendum on. Anyway, 52% is not "loud and clear", 52% is "the lesser of 2 evils".

What does this have to do with a woman who wants to talk to the President?

Just what is the Democrats agenda? Setting up massive lobbying shops to write law for the US, leaving no handout untaken, increasing the size and breadth of government? How is this any different than what is going on right now?

8/18/2005 9:23 AM  
Blogger Tayefeth said...

What would Casey want?

I imagine that Casey would want the truth.

8/18/2005 12:01 PM  
Blogger Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

On one level, it makes no sense, considering all the problems Cheney creates as a candidate (hugely incompetant, few evangelical connections, lesbian daughter, bad ticker, hated by many Americans, loved by almost no one, etc.).


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