Josh briefly flagged it back in June, but since then Coleen Rowley's bid for Congress in Minnesota has drawn surprisingly little attention. The former FBI whistleblower
and 2002 Time Person of the Year has emerged as a strident critic of the Iraq war, which she's called a Vietnam-like "quagmire" that has made America less safe. If I'm reading this editorial
correctly, she seems to believe the U.S. should withdraw pronto. And now she's just returned
from a weekend at Cindy Sheehan's Crawford peace camp.
Rowley's opponent, incumbent Republican John Kline, is a real Establishment Man: a former Marine Corps Vietnam vet who carried the nuclear "football" for a time under Carter and Reagan. He's the antithesis, in other words, of an anti-war Sheehan-aligned whistleblower. So this race promises to be an intense culturo-political flashpoint -- particularly when you throw in the recriminations over ignored September 11 warnings that Rowley's sure to invoke. Sooner or later, I expect, Fox News will be obsessing over this one.
A few months ago I might have said that Rowley's aggressively liberal posture would be a problem in a district that George Bush carried with 56 percent of the vote. But in the wake of Paul Hackett's near win in Ohio Red country, and with Bush's approval ratings plunging to new depths
, I'm not so sure anymore.
The caliber of Rowley's political skills remains to be seen. But Republicans like Kline must be in a cold sweat over the war, and over Bush's flailing attempts to shore up public opinion. How Rowley fares in the months ahead could tell us a lot about the Democrats' overall chances in 2006.
This is probably my last post before I sign off later tonight. It's been a blast.