Having provoked Rush Limbaugh to come to the defense of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan last week, I’m now thinking that perhaps I should ask Condoleezza Rice to appoint me her Middle East envoy.
If Mr. Limbaugh and Ms. Sheehan can be brought together, after all, delivering peace to the world’s most bitterly divided region would surely be a cinch.
Last Wednesday, a column I had written was posted on the Web site of the London Guardian.
In it, I criticized Ms. Sheehan for what I considered her ardor for self-promotion, her presumptuous and callous disparagement of other bereaved parents who happened to disagree with her about the war in Iraq and the hubris that finds its latest manifestation in her quest to unseat Nancy Pelosi from the House of Representatives.
The column was headlined “The Epic Narcissism of Cindy Sheehan.” The next day, Ms. Sheehan’s unlikeliest defender stepped forward.
“Look at this headline.… This is from The Guardian, the U.K. Guardian,” Mr. Limbaugh told his listeners. “You know, the people on the left who are getting tired of Cindy Sheehan, the epic narcissism, they created her. I think this is an example, folks … of the cruelty these people can exude.”
Mr. Limbaugh added, by way of summing up: “Cindy Sheehan, when all is said and done, is a sympathetic and pathetic figure.”
Perhaps Mr. Limbaugh’s compassion for Ms. Sheehan is genuine. But that seems a tad unlikely, given his insistence at the height of her 2005 protest that “her story is nothing more than forged documents. There’s nothing about it that’s real.”
(The reference to forged documents was part of a rather strained comparison of Ms. Sheehan with Bill Burkett of Texas Air National Guard and 60 Minutes infamy.)
Mr. Limbaugh might, just possibly, have another agenda here besides a chivalrous desire to stand up for the antiwar movement’s most uncompromising face. After all, at this point Cindy Sheehan’s words and actions ultimately serve to benefit Mr. Limbaugh’s fellow conservatives rather more than mainstream liberals.
“The Democrats are the party of slavery,” Ms. Sheehan wrote on the Daily Kos earlier this month.
Set aside for a moment the curious behavior, ranging from an unseemly Vanity Fair photo shoot on her son’s grave to an absurdly brief “retirement,” by which Ms. Sheehan has gradually depleted the well of sympathy from which she could once draw.