It’s about time, but it finally happened: The left is admitting that it blew it with Cindy Sheehan.

For more weeks than I care to remember, the media punditocracy has been promoting mad-mom Sheehan as the voice of Middle America who would lead and galvanize a mass movement of regular Joes and Janes to oppose the U.S. war in Iraq.

You and I might have regarded Sheehan as a loose-lips nutcase whose mind seemed to become sadly unhinged after she lost her 24-year-old soldier-son, Casey, in Baghdad last year. You and I might have pointed out that she surrounded herself with far-left handlers from and the apologists for the Palestine Liberation Organization, and no other members of the large Sheehan family had joined her cause, the most conspicuous absence being that of her husband (and Casey’s father), Vincent Sheehan, who filed for divorce within days of his wife’s media-celebrated campout near the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. But to the media she was St. Cindy, Mother Sheehan, speaking with “absolute” moral authority, as our brilliant friend Maureen Dowd famously put it.

Now, however, after the big Cindy-thon in Washington last month failed to draw more than a few thousand demonstrators and no Middle Americans, Washington Post contributor Meghan Gibbons has decided to distance herself:

“…Sheehan, with her name-calling of Bush, her finger-pointing at unrelated issues like the administration’s response to the flooding in New Orleans and her preaching on issues on which she’s no expert, such as U.S.-Israeli relations, has fallen into the trap. Her pronouncements distract from her real qualification to speak out in public: being a mother who has lost a son in the war….

“If Sheehan could speak simply as Casey’s mother, she might provoke serious thought in those still on the fence about the war.”

Of course, this being the Washington Post, Gibbon devotes most of her article to denouncing the mothers of the fallen who support the war as mere tools of the Bush administration who are just as bad as Cindy:

“Today’s mothers’ groups, though, are claiming the right to contribute to political discourse above and beyond their sons’ involvement in the Iraq war, while insisting that they are not politicians. {Pro-war moms Tammy]Pruett and [Deborah] Johns claim that they take no political position on the war. But their rhetoric of ‘support the troops and their mission’ is strikingly similar to the White House’s. Pruett, in fact, might not have spoken up at all but for the White House’s urging. Her unusual situation with so many sons in Iraq was a convenient sell for the administration at the height of Sheehan’s protest in Crawford.”

I guess that in the world of Meghan Gibbons, if you support the Iraq war, you’re being used by the White House. The only honest political mother is a left-wing political mother, in her view.

Still, Gibbons’s article is a start. Someone’s saying it at last: Cindy Sheehan was a bust.