Send in the Clowns

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I have lost all respect for the Obama administration.

Last September, when President Obama buckled to pressure brought by the mentally deranged FOX News personality Glenn Beck to fire his green jobs “czar” Van Jones over his past background in radical activism, I was slack-jawed.

Jones never denied his past activism with the radical left. In the ’90s, he was involved with a group called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which sympathized with Maoist-inspired peasant movements throughout the world and protested police brutality. However, Jones left radical politics and deciding to work within the system, rather than try to overthrow it.

But none of this mattered to the president. What resonated in the halls of the Obama White House was the crazy cable talkers over at FOX News.

Fast forward ten months to the ugly case of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod.

The story began Monday, when Andrew Breitbart, a far right loon, and co-founder of the Obama-loathing Drudge Report, posted a 2 ½-minute video of Sherrod addressing a local NAACP meeting in Georgia back in 1986. In those 150 seconds of video, Sherrod discussed her dealings with a white farmer and says she was reluctant to give him the “full force of what I could do.”

That touched off a firestorm in conservative-media outlets, especially at FOX, which forced the Obama administration to push Van Jones to resign last September. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly demanded, “Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately,” but the NAACP weighed in too, calling Sherrod’s statements “shameful.”

However, a more complete and accurate picture emerged Tuesday when the NAACP released the entire 45-minute video of Ms. Sherrod’s 1986 speech. In it, Sherrod tells the story of her father’s death in 1965, saying he was killed by white men who never were charged. She says she made a commitment to stay in the South the night of her father’s death, despite the dreams she had of leaving her rural town. Sherrod said the encounter with the white farmer taught her that poor people of all races need help, which she was resolved to give.

“When I made that commitment I was making that commitment to black people and to black people only,” she said. “But you know God will show you things and he’ll put things in your path so that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people.”

But for Shirley Sherrod, it was too late. The Obama administration had made up its mind to get down on its knees and service the talkingheads at FOX News. They forced Shirley Sherrod to resign from the USDA without allowing her to explain her version of an event that took place 24 years ago and was intentionally taken out of context by an ultra-rightwing blogger named Andrew Breitbart.

People who know Ms. Sherrod quickly came to her defense. including the wife of the white farmer discussed in the speech. “We probably wouldn’t have (our farm) today if it hadn’t been for her leading us in the right direction,” said Eloise Spooner of Iron City, Ga. “I wish she could get her job back because she was good to us, I tell you.”

By Wednesday, the Obama White House was engaged in full clean-up mode, issuing an extraordinary public apology to Ms. Sherrod and offered to reinstate her at the USDA. But Sherrod is unsure if she wants her job back and said she’s weighing legal action against Andrew Breitbart.

What troubles me about the Shirley Sherrod saga is the Obama administration threw a perfectly decent, African American woman under the bus without knowing all the facts because they were terrified of a few loudmouths in the conservative media. Evidently, President Obama learned nothing from the Van Jones chapter last September. I cannot in good conscience respect a president who runs screaming for the hills from the likes of Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck.

This entry was posted in Conservatives, FOX News, News, President Barack Obama, Radical Rightwingers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Send in the Clowns

  1. R L Pete Housman says:

    One can only scratch one’s head and wonder.
    There are some folks who desirve to be fired…
    Shirley Sherrod is certainly not one of them.

    I only hope that after the blisters from being raked over the coals a President will finally emerge and if not that at least a Party Leader with some street sense….

  2. Big Hank says:

    No one is safe. What Fox and its pinheads are doing is just the latest version of the red- baiting from the 1950’s.

    I thought Obama was wiser, tougher. But he’s just another politician surrounded by timid, Beltway insiders who read every poll and watch the enemy network and do as they’re told.

  3. retahyajyajav says:

    Last year, it was Van Jones.

    This year, it was Shirley Sherrod.

    Next year, Beck, or Breitbart, or Limbaugh, will go after an openly gay or lesbian member of the Obama administration and undoubtedly, the president will go weak in the knees and throw them under the bus too. At this point, the president sickens me more than Beck or Breitbart.

  4. Harry says:

    Obama is beginning to resemble an organ grinder’s monkey who snatches coins for the reward of a few peanuts.

  5. Prairiedog says:

    The entire mess is just an embarrassment and shows how easily this president and his team can be moved off message.

    My opinion is, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is the one who should resign. He’s a liability and is the locus of the controversy. As a former senator, he has been inside the beehive of Washington politics long enough to be able to recognize a smear.

    He says he “acted in haste in firing Shirley Sherrod.” I agree. Now, step aside.

  6. VicoDANIEL says:

    Whatever fantasies liberals and a few cons had that a black president meant we had entered an era of post-racial politics are just that: a fantasy.

    Months before the Van Jones/Glenn Beck mess last September, President Obama stepped into the middle of a race controversy when he said the cops who arrested Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates, because they thought he on charges he was breaking into his own home, had “acted stupidly.”

    Then there was the Obama Justice Department dismissing voter intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party, prompting criticism from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who said the black president was unwilling to prosecute fellow blacks for civil rights violations.

    But Obama needs to stop fearing the rightwing noise machine. Ride above the fray and ignore them. If he doesn’t learn to do this, there won’t be a second Obama term.

    vicodaniel1987@yahoo.com

  7. DMason says:

    When it comes to Obama, the Sherrod scandal is just one more brick on the pile for me. I started to sour on him when it became clear his administration had no template for gay rights. Obama keeps passing the buck on DADT and DOMA. He says, “send me a bill to sign.” That’s not good enough. He’s afraid to use his influence to force a repeal bill on Democratic members of the Congress. If in November, the Dems lose the House or senate, he can blame the outcome of the election for failing the gay community.

  8. Aunt Peg says:

    Shame on the administration for throwing this woman under the bus.

    I feel so sorry for her.

  9. What this Administration did Monday was inexcusable, but Chris, if you abandon this president, if your indifference is pervasive this election year and in 2012, than guess what: the mentally deranged personalities on Fox will win.

    That’s what concerns me about Obama’s imperfections and disappointments. He’s trying to please the middle and the right, who want nothing to do with him; and he’s turning off his base that he needs to govern, to move Overton’s Window in the direction of public interest.

    Being critical of the President is part of our job as progressives, but allowing our disappointments keep up from doing the hard door to door work that wins elections will only make matters worse.

  10. Randy Arroyo says:

    Obama is surrounded some bad people. I am certain that once Rahm Emanuel is gone (the end of 2010), Obama will be a better president. He’s not a bad man but, he needs to start showing some backbone and he can do this by not asking “how high?” each time Fox News tells him to jump.

  11. Kate Novotny says:

    The control Fox News has on this administration is truly stunning.

    I remember when Bill Clinton sat down with Chris Wallace. Clinton didn’t take any of Wallace’s efforts to twist or distort the facts. His infamous finger was firmly lodged in Wallace’s face. Neither did Hillary Clinton. In fact, she just laughed at Wallace and shut him down.

  12. Obama and his team thought firing Sherrod was an easy win. Talk about a gross lack of judgment. They should have known better, probably did, but thought that firing this lovely, principled woman would end it and everyone would move on. Now that’s sick.

  13. Like I said over at the Huffington Post, I don’t think Michelle Obama wouldn’t have let Glenn Beck or Andrew Breitbart dictate personnel changes to the administration.

    Sadly, Mr. Obama did. Once, with Van Jones and now, with Shirley Sherrod.

    As an gay man, if I worked for this administration, I would be very worried I could be the next target of the FOX smear machine and if past is prologue, the president and his team would throw me under the bus too.

  14. Jolly Roger says:

    I will have myself at the polls in November, and I’ll be there in 2012 as well. It is my fervent hope that someone from the President’s left will mount a challenge. To quote a Butthead, if that happens, I’m there, dude.

  15. Eric Equality Kuntz says:

    Obama said the troops would be redeployed out of Iraq starting next month and Afghanistan next July.

    Of course, as expected now various military brass say the timeline for Afghanistan is fluid and the troops could very well be in Afghanistan another decade.

    Try selling this bullshit to the voters in 2012.

  16. stradella says:

    The reality is, Barack is like a lot of weak black men I’ve known through the years. Going back to Georgia and Mississippi, I learned as a young woman that men — at least black men, are weak and as a black woman, I needed to stand on my own two feet and not depend on them for money, or food, or housing. What the Obama White House did to Shirley Sherrod wasn’t just wrong — Barack admitted it was wrong, it was sneaky and duplicate. They thought they could hang her from an oak tree out back and rub it in the noses of Glenn Beck and this Breitbart clown.

  17. Walk on Socks says:

    So without knowing all the facts and without giving Shirley Sherrod an opportunity to address the out of context, two minute video clip, the Secretary of Agriculture and the White House, summarily fired the woman and turned a deaf ear to her pleas?

    Like Christopher said, this should be a wake up call to every out, gay and lesbian employee of the Obama administration who could very well be Glenn Beck’s next target, or Andrew Breitbart’s next target, or Rush Limbaugh’s next target. I don’t for a New York minute think this president would support us. To do so would require courage and courage is in short supply in this administration.

    I think Ed Schultz got it right when he said: “The White House just can’t stand up to Fox News, can they?”

    No, Ed. They can’t.

  18. pretti says:

    Don’t expect Barack Obama to be a nigger brute and stand up to the scalawags at FOX News because he’s half white and at his core, he identifies with his white half more than his back half. Listen, I support him and I think he’s done a decent job so far but people please. He is what he is.

  19. Rachel says:

    My fingers are crossed that Shirley Sherrod sues the shit out of Andrew Breitbart, forcing him to close down sickening website and bankrupting his sorry ass. This is the only that will get his attention. Then, she should go after anyone at FOX who reported Breitbart’s video. Beck is a millionaire. Sue him into poverty.

  20. fran says:

    PBS did a good recap- basically stating that in this You Tube era, any hack can post any thing, there is no critical thinking or fact checking going on.
    In this case, it snowballed & was then reversed so quickly. The term that was used was “snookered”… as in lots of people were snookered by this out of context post- clearly unsubstantiated, and knee jerk reactions.

    Hopefully we have learned a lesson– just because you hear it on the news/media does not mean it is true.

    I’ll add that we should also consider that to be the case w BP’s disaster.

    Think about it–
    We have the retired Coast Guard Admiral running the show. Why would he retire, yet still do the job?

    On day one of the cap experiment they posted well pressure numbers, but since then, no postings, only that it is “low” or “unstable”.

    BP is no longer showing clear footage of the site, now split screens of dead end footage.

    Snookered, indeed.

  21. Joe says:

    I agree: The Obama White House is spectacularly spineless. I was dismayed by choosing Rick Warren for the invocation, I am utterly speechless at his performance with BP (he seems to be in the pockets of big oil), but the Sherrod case is beyond anything I could have imagined. This guy just doesn’t know how to lead.

    I left the Dems for the Green Party with the BP disaster. I just can’t vote for Obama again. The Sherrod episode just seems to justify this decision. What a shame: he came in with such high progressive support and evidently he doesn’t care about progressives because he seems to willfully flip us the bird whenever he can.

  22. Matteo says:

    When one of you figure out Obama’s terror when it comes to Fox, please, please, explain it to me because I sure as hell don’t get it.

    I mean, let’s frame this, OK? None of the people who watch Bill-O, or Beck, or Hannity, voted for Obama in 2008 and they sure as hell won’t vote to reelect him in 2012, so what does he have to lose by telling the Fox network to “fuck off?”

  23. Ypsilanti says:

    President Obama and his team have become a tremendous disappointment to me and to many of my friends and family.

    I hope we do better in ’12.

  24. Pingback: Send In The Clowns « KeepWonderful.com

  25. palyaco says:

    President Obama and his team have become a tremendous disappointment to me and to many of my friends and family

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