It was one of those stories that put a smile on my face. "Peace Mom" and attention addict Cindy Sheehan threatened to run against Nancy Pelosi in 2008 unless she started impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney by July 23rd. Then, within a day of that threat being made public, Sheehan announced she would be running as an Independent for Pelosi's House seat.
And in the Midwest, a pundit chuckled quietly to himself.
The prospect of seeing the Speaker of the House get sent back to her house in San Francisco aside, Sheehan actually daring to run against Pelosi showcases a major problem within the left these days. The fringe players are no longer content with holding their noses; they want people who will actually put their pathetic and insane notions into practice. The fringe players don't see that as a problem, but the moderate and conservative Democrats do, and if they bolt, the party loses votes and money, both of which are going to be very important if the Democrats want to retain control of at least one house of Congress after the 2008 elections.
With Pelosi and Sheehan fighting over the votes of Democrats who aren't scared away by either of the aforementioned women, this opens the door for the Republicans in one of two ways. First, a Republican might be able to pick up Pelosi's seat if Sheehan draws enough votes away from Madame Speaker. The other way is on a national level. Even if Republicans fail to pick up Pelosi's seat, if other fringe liberals run against Democrats, it may split the Democrat vote enough that other seats may fall. And considering Democrats don't have that big a cushion keeping them as a majority in the House and keeping up the illusion of a majority in the Senate, it doesn't take a lot of seats to swing the balance of power to the Republicans.
In short, the Republicans' best political operative may just be Cindy Sheehan. And as long as they keep their mouths shut the era of Pelosi may be over before we know it.