By Matt Smith
When Muntadar al-Zaidi of Cairo-based al-Baghdadia TV threw his size 10 shoes at President George Bush, San Franciscans were thrilled.
It now appears, however, that it's not just George W. Bush who was knocked down a notch by Zaidi's impressive pitching. His filthy flying apparel may have degraded San Francisco as well.
According to a Washington Post story Zaidi's stunt may have diminished Cindy Sheehan, a San Francisco treasure and one-time queen of all global anti-war protesters.
Zaidi has "eclipsed even Cindy Sheehan in the esteem of the demonstrators," wrote the Post's Dana Milbank.
Apparently unaware of his effect on San Francisco's status, local rabble rouser Medea Benjamin was so pleased with last week's shoe-throwing performance that she made a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. this week to organize a protest where activists tossed shoes into a pile in Zaidi's honor.
"Here's my goodbye kiss, George!" the Washington Post's Dana Milbank quoted Benjamin as saying.
"We are here to say that the reporter al-Zaidi who threw the shoe at George Bush represents the sentiment of millions of people in this country, certainly in Iraq and around the world," the story quoted Benjamin as saying.
After Sheehan, the second most famous anti-war protester in San Francisco had actually been Benjamin, eader of the anti-Hillary-Clinton group Code Pink. During the previous two years, Code Pink had travelled around the country acting on the idea that a protest outside a Hillary Clinton event was the same thing as a protest against the war in Iraq. Clinton, however, is now the secretary of state for Barack Obama, a supposed anti-war hero. So Benjamin's group now finds itself trapped inside a logical black hole. Worse, now that Benjamin has subsumed herself to Zaidi in this weeks' Washington D.C. protest, she may have ruined once and for all San Francisco's reputation as home to the world's cuddliest anti-war dissidents.
Nice going, Benjamin.