“Sorry, Shirley Sherrod!”
That seem to be the going meme in conservative circles since, oh, about yesterday. The Obama administration apparently thought they ought to apply the lesson of the Van Jones incident and “throw [X] under the bus before Glenn Beck plasters it on cable for 6 weeks” but they were wrong…now they (esp. their Secretary of Agriculture, who is incidentally a big ‘biofuels’ guy–but no matter) are looking like the idiots for firing Sherrod*, who it turns out saw the light on racial discrimination about 20 years ago.
I’m not sure that Andrew Breitbart really foresaw this going down this way–all indications are that he didn’t–but it’s looking like this may be one of his more brilliant moves after all, both for his business and his, let’s just say, anti-incumbent movement. The story has done a complete one-eighty, from “another reverse-racist official in the Obama administration!” to “Obama & co. have fired someone completely baselessly and inappropriately.”
As Hannity put it in his interview with Breitbart:
Now Sherrod claims she was taken out of context and had some harsh words for the Obama White House today saying her resignation was forced and came only after several harassing phone calls from an administration official.
But Tom Vilsack, secretary of Agriculture, is not backing down. He released another statement today saying, quote, “There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA and we strongly condemn any active discrimination against any person.”
Now in addition we are getting word from a White House official that President Obama was briefed on the circumstances behind Sherrod’s removal and that he fully supports Secretary Vilsack’s decision.
This quickly became a lose-lose for the Obama administration. Or did it? Are they really that touchy about reverse-racial discrimination, especially now, after the whole Eric & the Ebony Kittens debacle? Is there indeed something uncouth going on in the Ag. Dept. that they don’t want getting out, and firing Sherrod* somehow seemed like the way to deflect? Are they finally removing some of the high-cost, low-productivity riffraff in the useless reaches of the bureaucracy?
Or is this just a case of some low-level 20-something in the White House who’s sworn in blood oath to hate Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin ’til the end of time (with the scars to prove it!) that got a little too jumpy at the first sign of this incident, picked up the phone and “pressured” Sherrod into resigning?
I’m guessing Vilsack’s actions (don’t count on the most transparent press secretary in the history of all history to provide any meaningful insight) will tell a whole lot in the coming days. We’ll see.
*Sorry. Make that “accepting Sherrod’s resignation.”