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Another Arrogant Rightwinger Says Bush Should Meet With Cindy

A little advice, Mr. President


The Dallas Morning News

(KRT) - Dear Mr. President:

As a columnist who has written about you since your first run for governor 11 years ago, I offer this advice: Pay attention to the voice of Cindy Sheehan. It isn't just hers.

She may have left Crawford for the moment, but if her message starts to resonate in the American mainstream, the spirit behind her will light a prairie fire that could engulf your presidency.

Yes, there's a flake element to some of what's going on outside your ranch gate. I spent an afternoon last week interviewing folks at Camp Casey and came across plenty of tattoos and stringy hair. Not exactly Main Street, Texas.

But you'd make a mistake to dismiss this bunch as counter-culture faddism. There's something going on that's more than a hobo reunion or a meeting of the Maureen Dowd fan club.

The folks I spoke to reminded me of the sorts I came across when Ross Perot tried to light his own prairie fire more than a decade ago. Some Perotistas seemed like lost souls in need of a leader, but they also shared a passionate belief in their cause - one that other Americans started embracing. Soon, you had Americans from wildly different backgrounds talking to each other about bringing fiscal sanity to the government.

I never will forget playing golf in California in 1992 with a cop from Miami, when a tweedy-looking Carmel sort came walking up with his dog. The cop and Mr. Tweed instantly bonded because they both wanted Mr. Perot. Talk about the embodiment of a mass movement. A beefy Miami cop and a guy who looked like he was living off his investments, both swearing by the same guy.

The rest of that year obviously is fresh on your mind. Perot crossed over from representing a frustrated fringe to mainstream culture. And he stopped your father from gaining a second term.

You've often said you've learned from your father's presidency. Well, I suggest you learn this lesson, too. Beware of a movement that could leap from the underbelly of American politics right into the heart of its public square.

I don't know if Cindy Sheehan has that voice. And, no, I sure wouldn't meet with her again. You've already given her one personal audience; another would only be a circus.

But I would find ways to speak to her and what she represents. You didn't Monday in Salt Lake City, but you could Wednesday in your speech on terrorism. Yes, pull a Clinton and co-opt her.

President Clinton was great at seizing his opponents' language and leaving them without a message. Think welfare reform and how he made it his issue, although it was something Republicans had championed for years.

I don't know the right language. That's why you have speechwriters. But use your plainspoken side, lean over the podium and level with her - and us. We don't need rah-rah; we need details. Tell us exactly what's being done to rebuild Iraq.

Whatever you do, don't let this issue hang out there.

I ran across one woman who said that when she arrived that morning at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from Jersey, she had no idea how she was going to get to Crawford. As she was telling her daughter about this on her cellphone, the guy next to her intervened and said, "Don't worry, I'm going to Camp Casey, too. I'll give you a ride."

As bizarre as this sounded, that woman's story symbolizes others. People are doing anything to get your attention. One guy at Camp Casey had just shown up from Ohio, a Vietnam vet who had a son in Iraq. He also gave a halfway plausible scenario for how we could pull back and remain engaged in the region.

I didn't agree with him, but if there are enough folks like him, Mr. President, you're in trouble. You're not there yet, but if Cindy Sheehan can take this movement to the next level the way Ross Perot did his - or hand it off to someone who can.

I don't know if Iraq is a noble cause, but I do know it's one we can't afford to lose. Pay attention to this movement as much as you are the insurgency in Iraq.



William McKenzie is an editorial columnist for The Dallas Morning News. Readers may write to him at the Dallas Morning News, Communications Center, Dallas, Texas 75265; e-mail:

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And he will not do shit at all. You are a mis-spoken trivialist, Bush is going to be completely marginialized soon by the anti-war movement and we are going to bring the message POUNDING HOME!

The god damn United Nations should be handling this shit, and not the US troops, any longer.

Doug E.

you think GWB will listen to you? he hears only what he wants to hear.....
BTW, i'm one that voted for least he in going in and getting the Americans out....what has GWB done??

you think GWB will listen to you? he hears only what he wants to hear.....
BTW, i'm one that voted for least he in going in and getting the Americans out....what has GWB done??
and if GWB had given Cindy a few minutes, he wouldn't be where he is now!!

"Stringy Hair"? This is an editorialist for the DALLAS MORNING-NEWS?
"Not exactly Main Street Texas"? Those of us from "Main Street USA" and in my case I mean Pennsylvania, Where, by the way, THE UNITED STATES WAS BORN! you red-necked excuse for a journalist, look at facts and evidence. What you are basically admitting is that Cindy Sheehan represents the PEOPLE (a growing majority of PEOPLE) who have examined facts and evidence and are reaching the conclusion that Iraq was instituted on lies and deceit. No amount of corn-pone stereo-typing can dismiss the flow of opinion against your beloved son of a Bush from the lone star state. The man who was going to restore the presidency has taken it to its lowest levels in this once great nation's history. Now his "Christian" brethern in the person of Pat Robertson assist him by calling for the assassination of the duly elected leader of a sovereign nation. What does Bush have to say about that? The Usual - NOTHING! Like you righties liked to say about Clinton, "He's not MY PRESIDENT" Guess what, THANK GOD BUSH IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!

This is all that needs to happen with Iraq, this IS the plan and its been in writing in front of the president's ranch for lets see WEEKS!!!!!


-Reduce troop presence in Iraq immediately, take them out of the Oil foundaries by the Caspian Sea, draw down all troops who no longer want to be there period no questions asked.

-Enable a total reform of the governmental affairs by bringing in the United Nations immediately, to start negotiations between outside groups.

-Use militia trained by the Iraqi and mercenaries to destroy any terrorist factions who still arm themselves and disrupt the life of Iraq and Iran, and enforce United Nation policies.

-Finally bring all the rest of the troops home.

-Take down any permanent bases in the region PERIOD, except for the bases managed by US Military United Nations PEACE officers!!! That's all that needed to be there to begin with.

We're there controlling their goddamn resources and they HATE IT, PERIOD!!!! Get the message, and begin this plan NOW!

Doug E.

does gwb stand for Gutless Wonder Boy? I'm a 53 year old middleclass woman who will be joining Cindy in Washington on 9/24 from, of all places, Kentucky! Hope to see you all there.

Well then, maybe GW should be worried. I'm "mainstream" America,whatever that means. I never had a tatoo, never wore dredlocks (had stringy hair when I camped out for a couple of days, though), and totally support Cindy and all that the people at Camp Casey are doing. Besides, since when did we dismiss the thoughts of people who don't look exactly liike an editor of a big city newspaper? Why are they now considered the "flake element?" I suspect that the people camping out in Crawford are the most thoughtful people in America.
McKenzie is hanging out in Dallas so he's not aware, I guess, that the anti-war movement is running high in the rest of the country. Sen.Becky Lourey was on Minnesota Public Radio two days ago describing her trip to Crawford. She was wonderful and passionate. She talked about her son's death in Iraq and our need to start a dialogue in this country about the war. This is how the Minneapolis Star Trib is describing the face of the anti-war movement: "A new antiwar movement is being born this summer on a Texas roadside. It presents a much different face -- feminine, older, wiser, and filled with grief and righteous indignation. The face is that of mothers who lost sons and daughters in Iraq, first Cindy Sheehan of California, and now more, including Minnesota state Sen. Becky Lourey.The moral authority of the blossoming movement's face is undeniable and, despite concerted conservative efforts to discredit it, unassailable."
Keep up the good work!

The movement has started at long last.I am one of those stringy haired protesters.I am a Vietnam Vet who nows belongs to Veterans For Peace.I hate to brake it to you Mr Mckinzie but we are mostly middle class americans who don't believe G.W.B..You need to look at the Downing Street Memos.He lied this country to a ill concieved war.I say IMPEACH and INDICT!He is a scoundral of the worst kind.Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrals if I am not misstaken.
If Bush is right...Than Jesus is wrong!

This entire article is nothing but a political ploy to buy time."But use your plainspoken side, lean over the podium and level with her - and us".He's got to be kidding. Anyone paying the least bit of attention knows the President's got zero objective facts to back up his case.He's doing the best that can be done from his position now; going around the country rehashing the same old story. But he's been using tautological argumentation since early in his first term.Repeating unfounded assertions over again ad nauseam is not the presentation of proof. Cal Thomas wrote a similar article recently,it's true message was equally cleverly shrouded in implication: the President has something to "level" about (i.e.,explain the objective facts,which proportedly substantiate his case)something he has'nt made clear,has'nt focused on sufficienly,or has'nt gone into sufficient detail about. This new "information" or "clarification" will make us "understand better"; and serve to assuage our anxieties, mute our intensity and most importantly expand our patience.But patience is not a "virtue", it's a strategy for dealing with situations.If it ever did, it no longer finds pertinence here.As I'm sure most visitors here are at least implicitly aware,there is an objective reality that is not subject of human whim. That objective reality leaves the President only one avenue to "leveling" with us: that is to resign, apologize and admit his MONSTROUS WAR CRIMES. A tall task for an average human being,too much to ask of an extraordinarily small one.

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