Thursday, February 2, 2006

“Whoops” May Not Cut It

While Cindy Sheehan may have gotten all the press and gotten the righties all wet over her rather public ejection from the House gallery Tuesday night, it looks like the shit is going to hit the fan because of this.

Two T-shirts — one black, the other heather gray — spotted in the House gallery the night of the president’s State of the Union speech caused a major ruckus on Capitol Hill.

It spilled into yesterday and came complete with impassioned political speeches, strident questions about rights being trampled, threats of lawsuits and a hat-in-hand apology from the U.S. Capitol Police chief.

The black shirt with white letters was worn by celebrated war protester Cindy Sheehan; the white letters read: “2,245 Dead. How Many More?” Beverly Young, the wife of a Republican congressman, sported a heather gray top with red, white and blue letters saying, “Support the Troops.”

The wearers were hustled out of the House gallery by Capitol police who said the shirts amounted to protesting.

Late yesterday, after C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) had taken to the floor with an impassioned speech and his wife’s T-shirt held aloft, Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer showed up at his office to apologize.

Gainer said he also would ask that charges against Sheehan — she was arrested; Beverly Young left before it came to that — be dropped. “It was,” he said, “a good-faith mistake by officers operating under poor direction.”

After a night of fingerprinting and booking and lockup, Sheehan departed the city. But Young had not, and her response as she enjoyed hugs from supporters yesterday after the apology was to call Gainer “an idiot.” Witnesses said her words for him were much saltier the night before.

Whoever suggested to Cindy Sheehan that she leave town and keep quiet made a good call. And it will be fun to see how the anti-Cindy forces work their way around this one.

Bryan at Why Now? has a link to a profile of the Youngs. Interesting couple.