In his live chat today, Washington Post reporter/Master of the Snarky Arts Dana Milbank lowered himself to answering a conservative complaint that Cindy Sheehan is lamely attempting to achieve a second "do over" meeting with the President. Milbank replied: "No doubt the request for a second meeting is contrived. It's not as if Sheehan really believes she would change the president's mind. But that's just a vehicle that allows her to set up this camp in Crawford."
But this "contrived...vehicle" has been presented by Milbank and other reporters as a grand political problem for President Bush. Not as a publicity stunt, but as the grand reemergence of the Anti-War Movement. The rest of his answer really lays out his liberal view of the matter:
"In a broader sense, none of the particulars about Sheehan matters: not her remarks about Israel and neocons, not her lefty politics, not her divorce and not whether she's entitled to a second presidential audience. What matters is her ability is to serve as an icon, a symbolic rallying point for an antiwar movement. And all she needs to achieve that is the moral claim she already has, being the mother of a kid who was killed in Iraq."
This is not the spin of a reporter. This is the spin of a Move On strategist.
It says that conservatives and supporters of the liberation of Iraq cannot puncture the iconic aura of Cindy with their facts. The Big Picture is she is Mother Peace, the icon of resistance to the War Machine, and the particulars of her wackiness do not matter. It is building up her iconic moral status that matters. And as for the fact that all she needs to achieve iconic status is her "moral claim" of being a Gold Star mother, that's obviously not true. It seems obvious from the press clips that you have to be a Bush-bashing Gold Star mother to ascend to icon status.