The backlash is in full force against Cindy Sheehan, the mother of killed soldier Casey Sheehan looking for face time with our vacationing President. The signs of the backlash are all around: THE AGITATED BASE: A quick visit to Free Republic is usually the best barometer for how much the right-wing base is being whipped into indignation, this time over the idea that a mother might be upset over the death of her son. Every day features at least five posts calling Sheehan a modern-day Jane Fonda, usually in the form of "open letters" to Sheehan from people who haven't gone through anything remotely similar to what she has. THE MEDIA MESSAGE: It's always a good sign when the Drudge Report (I'll let you visit without a link) feels moved to run a top-of-the-page smear on a progressive target, as he's been running against Sheehan this weekend. In right-wing circles, a blaring Drudge headline -- especially in large, red type -- is the unmistakable signal to the conservative flock that they are losing badly in the court of public opinion. A click on the blaring headline reveals new, approved talking points to get everyone "on message." THE TALK SHOW CIRCUIT: With Sheehan grabbing headlines, the weekend talk show circuit had a hard time side-stepping the issue -- although they did their best. As a rule of thumb, the amount of coverage given to any particular issue is roughly in inverse proportion to its importance to the American people. Will the backlash work? The right has to watch it on this one. Sure, they'll make a dent in her popularity and public persona, which will embolden the conservative base and sow doubt among a few in the middle. But Sheehan isn't a high-paid movie star like Jane Fonda, or a Swift Boat-able presidential candidate. She's a grieving mother, whose position on Iraq happens to be that of the majority of the public. Cindy's story is also introducing people to the growing movement of military families and anti-war Iraq veterans which the peace movement has rightfully put front and center in recent months. When you put these constituencies up against the chicken hawks and laptop bombadeers who have been cheering on the war, it's not really a contest. The challenge for peace and progressive forces will be to sustain interest once the cameras leave, and transform the Cindy phenomena into rallying cry that can mobilize ever-greater numbers of the public against the war. Support for an end to the war is broad, but not deep. Making it a deeply-felt issue for millions of people -- deep enough that they will take action -- and offering clear alternatives is the difficult but necessary challenge of the movement. UPDATE: Sheehan responds to the latest mud thrown her way -- attacks on her home life. Keep this up, and the right may be moving in on a McCarthy moment: "Have you no sense of decency?"