The highly publicized retirement of Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan as the face of the anti-war movement on Memorial Day has less notorious activists jockeying for pole position.
The job is still open, but Sheehan's replacement has really big shoes to fill. After all, as she has proclaimed, the universe chose her to spark the antiwar movement. The universe doesn't pick just anybody for this critical position.
If the universe placed a "help wanted" advertisement for her replacement, it would read something like this:
Wanted: A mother or father whose son was a God-loving, red-blooded American who willingly gave his life for his country's security and freedomy. Applicant must be willing to shill for a "progressive" presidential candidate, such as Sheehan did for John Kerry in 2004. Candidate must be able to curse like Mephistopheles, coddle the world's dictators, be willing to leave her/his family, recite left-wing lies about the Iraq War with authority, and look good in Code Pink's Pepto Bismol pink T-shirts.
The two top contenders to replace Sheehan are Adam Kokesh, a former Marine sergeant, Iraq veteran and current antiwar rabble-rouser, and Evan Knappenberger, who is also an Iraq war veteran.
Others in the anti-war movement are reticent to hire a new "face" for their movement and infighting among the peaceniks is viral. But Knappenberger has a strong following and is ahead in the straw polls.
"This has been an exciting week in Bellingham. Our community has embraced the leadership of Iraq War Veteran Evan Knappenberger, who landed in Bellingham just six weeks ago. The story of Evan's creative protest of the military's STOP-LOSS policy has been reported by the Associated Press (AP) and has spread across the nation," Whatcom Peace & Justice Center director Marie Marchand wrote this week on Knappenberger's website.
Knappenberger's protest began June 1 when he stood atop scaffolding in front of the Federal building in downtown Bellingham, Wash. Knappenberger's anti-war friends will end his weeklong protest with a closing ceremony today.
"Supporters of the Iraq War may see a victory with Cindy Sheehan's retirement . . .," The Progressive Democrats of America's Web site says. "What they fail to recognize is new heroes will stand up and take action just as she did, and as Evan Knappenberger is doing now."
Knappenberger's protest didn't get the play of Sheehan's. It was not as sexy for the news media as Sheehan parked in a ditch miles from President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch. But it's a start. Besides, the mainstream media are still in mourning over the Peace Mom's retirement and they're busy with Paris Hilton's abbreviated stint in the gray-bar hotel.
Apparently, Knappenberger didn't hook up with George Soros and Code Pink before his dry run as the anti-war's face. This error leaves an opening for Kokesh, a "photogenic Iraq veteran who has become something of an inside-the-beltway provocateur, stirring up trouble around Washington with stunts like roaming Washington in camouflage as if he was on patrol," according to one admirer.
Kokesh no longer serves active duty and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
"Kokesh wore his camouflage uniform, with all insignia removed, on March 19 during a mock "combat patrol" past the White House. Soon after his picture was in The Washington Post, Marine Maj. John Whyte e-mailed him that he may have violated regulations that forbid wearing all or part of a uniform "while engaged in political demonstrations or activities," according to USAToday.com.
Kokesh reacted in a very Sheehan way. He returned an email to Maj. White that was punctuated with profanity. This goes a long way toward his credibility with the left, but he may not be ready to travel the world to meet with dictators and "freedom fighters" that murder our troops.
The Marine Corps held a hearing and changed his "honorable discharge" from the military into a "general discharge." That's too bad. If the Corps had gone a step further and ordered a discharge other than honorable, Kokesh could have been a shoo-in for the job.
Second-tier Sheehan replacements abound. Names include Rosie O'Donnell, who can curse as well as Sheehan. Plus she believes that Sept. 11 was an inside job, so that will give her extra Brownie points. Some have suggested Sheehan's good friend, "Hanoi" Jane Fonda, but she couldn't even stand the cold back East in her coming out party as a true Iraq war protester. The fire ants of Texas would do her in.
The truth is that nobody can replace Sheehan and there may be no need. Sheehan is resting, regrouping and prepping with a new battle plan. But even she faces an uphill battle to replace herself.
The folks who made her a star aren't sitting down to tea with Sheehan these days. Sheehan has derided Moveon.org, which helped her from the start. And Code Pink buddy, Medea Benjamin, sniped at her, telling www.FreeRepublic.com this week that Sheehan shouldn't be crying poormouth.
In her retirement letter, Sheehan said she was broke and had spent every cent she had on protesting. But Benjamin said, "Cindy's got plenty of money." When asked if Sheehan was lying when she said she was broke, Benjamin silently walked away.
The peace movement is DOA as long as there is no peace among its ranks. Not even Peace Mom Sheehan can change that.