Peace activist Cindy Sheehan’s plan to challenge Representative Nancy Pelosi for her Congressional seat in November 2008 has elicited cries of praise and dismay across the progressive political spectrum. In July, when Sheehan announced her candidacy, The Nation‘s Washington correspondent John Nichols saw some value in her candidacy and praised her efforts to hold Pelosi’s feet to the fire.
More recently, Nation columnist Katha Pollitt urged Sheehan not to run and continues the conversation here. On the pages of The Nation magazine, columnist Gary Younge argued that the best strategy to advance the interests of the peace movement was political, not electoral. And in a recent poll on this website, Nation readers weighed in, supporting a Sheehan candidacy by a margin of three to one.
In the following editorial dialogue, Sheehan responds to Pollitt’s critique, and Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel explains the magazine’s position on George W. Bush, the war and campaign politics.
SAD FOR THE NATION
Dear Katrina and all,
The Nation had me on the cover of its magazine in March 2005 as one of the new faces of the antiwar movement. At the end of 2005, John Nichols of The Nation named me “Progressive of the Year” and has since said that I am a true “Jeffersonian Democrat.” The Nation also invited me to its foundation dinner in NYC at the end of 2005, presumably to exploit my popularity to sell tickets.
The Nation‘s editorial staff and other staff also invited me to talk with them about not supporting “pro-war” Democrats in any elections anymore, and the editors wrote an editorial stating that. Tom Hayden was also instrumental in formulating that policy.
Now they are supporting a “pro-war” Speaker of the House, who says she is against the occupation with her mouth but gives George more money to wage the war with her actions. They support a Speaker who has made a mockery of the Constitution as much as BushCo has.
The Nation just joins a long line of orgs, entities and persons who supported me while I challenged Bush and the Rethugs, but now that I recognize that it is the two-party system that is inherently corrupt and ruining our nation and the world, they are not just abandoning me but trying to undermine me and my candidacy. I believe in doing this, The Nation is also supporting the status quo of continuing war, death and the destruction of our middle class and way of life here in America.