Arianna Huffington is no dummy

Cindy Sheehan.jpgI just checked the Huffington Post and saw a post from Cindy Sheehan, subject of yesterday’s much-discussed Maureen Dowd return column, still riding MEL with the effortless grace and beauty of this girl I really, really like. Sheehan is, of course, the mother of Casey Sheehan, a solider killed in Iraq last year, and she is camped out by Bush’s Crawford ranch demanding a satisfactory answer to what exactly America’s “mission” in Iraq is.

“Cindy Sheehan” is the number-two search on Technorati right now (number one is “Bush Indictment” – yikes!), and now Arianna has given her a forum and claimed her and her mission for the Huffington Post, complete with a huge version of the extremely sad photo above at the top of the blog, a heartfelt introduction in Arianna’s lead-in spot, and a small tag announcing “ONLY IN HUFFPOST!” As MoDo said yesterday, the moral authority of a grieving parent is unassailable, and by giving Sheehan a platform Arianna has shrewdly aligned her blog with that authority.

This is not to imply that her motives are in question; but as far as strategy goes, Arianna’s been making some pretty smart moves and this is one of them. HuffPo only just turned three months old, and it is already very much a player. It could have easily gone the other way and it’s a testament to her team’s strategy and management that it has not.

Cindy Sheehan: This Is George Bush’s Accountability Moment [HuffPo]
Arianna Huffington: Cindy Sheehan Steps Into the Leadership Void [HuffPo]