Monday, July 26, 2010

Shirley Sherrod and the circular firing squad

The fallout of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco continued on the Sunday morning political talk shows with all sides firing salvos and almost everyone getting everything wrong. They not only stood in a circle and fired, almost all of them ended up aiming in the wrong direction and shooting themselves in the foot. Which is what seems to happen often on the subject of race in the age of Obama. Lenny Bruce would have had a field day.

And even before the media and political firing began, one can make the case that Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Tom Vilsack made up their own circular firing squad when they fired Sherrod.

The main bone of contention that was voiced by Democrats and African American scholars and media commentators over the Sherrod fiasco was that Obama is easily intimidated by the extreme right on race.


This is the myopic view, a result of tunnel vision which was the root of the Sherrod fiasco in the first place.

The fact is, Obama is easily intimidated by the right on everything. Not just race. Everything. And the reason is because Obama is a 100% political animal. Every decision he has ever made on anything has been based on whats best for himself politically. Or, as we are finding out, what he thinks is best for himself politically at the moment.

What happened with Shirley Sherrod is Obama and who he is as a politician in microcasm. When the White House threw Sherrod under the bus she joined the public option on health care, a gutted financial reform bill that didnt reform the things that needed reforming the most, the Gulf spill in the first 30 days, a stimulus package that many economists said was only half of what it should have been at the beginning, and a host of other Obama capitulations and political miscalculations to the right over just about everything.

But more is being made about this because it is about the media's second favorite subject after sex -- race. Which is something the news media really doesn't want to confront in any kind of honest way because if they did they would have to look at themselves and would not like what they see.

Like Chuck Todd, MSNBC's "senior" political editor who looked foolish the other day when he called Obama "the country's most eloquent speaker on the subject of race". This is simply the kind of journalistic absurdity we have seen since Obama declared his candidacy. It's a completely dishonest remark that Todd made because he thinks it shows him on the right side of race. Instead it shows him to be on the wrong side of the truth because what he said is absurdly untrue. Obama is in fact one of the emptiest speakers we have ever heard, there never being anything substantive or real behind anything he says. That goes for everything from health care to Afghanistan, the economy and he we saw with his foot in mouth problem with the Professor Gates controversy.

Obama has always played race to his own advantage. And while he threw Sherrod under the bus without hesitation on race, he also did the same to his own white mother and grandmother ( as harsh as that sounds its completely true and I'm not the first to say it -- former Mayor Ed Koch made a similar observation after Obama made his flimsy speech on race when his lying about what he knew about Jeremiah Wright fell apart) . So it's not as if there is any favoritism on Obama's part regarding race. There clearly isnt. It's never about race for Obama, only his own politics.

On his census form which he knew would be made public, he essentially denied the existence of his white mother and the white grandmother who was intrumental in bringing him up by stating his race as "black" instead of mixed race which is what he is.

Obama's census form is telling when it comes to race because it is, at its most basic, simply dishonest, and dishonest for the reason Obama is always dishonest -- pure politics.

Obama's choice of "black" on his census form was his way of throwing a bone both to African Americans and liberal whites who made his election a cause celebre for only one reason -- his race. Everyone calls him "the first black president" and that is simply untrue. He is the first mixed race president and one would think that would be enough of a breakthrough to make the point. But its not enough for the journalists who threw truth under the bus a hundred times a day in the service of race, by calling him the "first black president". Obama identifying himself as mixed race wouldn't make the political point his supporters wanted to make and Obama knows it, so he has been quite willing to play along by signifying himself as all black.

Though there is a better way to make the point, like simply saying we now have a president who 40 years ago couldn't get served at a lunch counter or be allowed to use a public restroom in many parts of the country. That makes the point well enough without having to lie about Obama's racial make up.

Newt Gingrich also made a fool of himself over the Sherrod firing saying it was an example of Obama's incompetence. The problem is that Gingrich calling Obama incompetent is the pot calling the kettle black ( no pun intended). George W. Bush still and always will remain the most inept incompetent and disastrous leader in the history of Western civilization, with the possible exception of Nero. And along with Bush's catastrophic incompetence you have the Republican congress who went along with him, the two causing more damage to the United States in 8 years than any foreign enemy could do in 240.

Howard Dean didn't score any points either by accusing Fox of being "absolutely racist" when it came to the Sherrod video. Not true. Fox has proved they are willing to be dishonest about almost everything and anything. Race had nothing to do with it. It's clear that the Sherrod video was just one more thing they wanted to use to bash Obama, this time using race to hoist Obama on his own petard. They actually succeeded but not in the way they planned and only because of Obama's inadvertant knee jerk compliance.

We are now finding out that president Obama, leader of the free world, was afraid of Glenn Beck. No wonder Obama " didn't want to meddle" when it came to Ahamdinejad and the Iran uprising. We know that the decision to fire Sherrod, a decision agreed to in the White House ( as specifcally told to Sherrod at the time) was made when the White House learned that the Sherrod video was going to be aired that afternoon on Glenn Beck. Now that's leadership.

Princeton Professor Cornell West had the most cogent statement when he said of Obama with regards to Sherrod:

"What you have is, you have a P.R. operation where the White House is reluctant to want to intervene in issues of race" . Then he added, "I would say to my dear brother Barack Obama, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

The truth is for those who care to admit it, that Obama doesn't stand for anything ( see the demise of real healthcare reform, tepid financial reform, and a Groucho Marx "Hello I must be going" Afghanistan policy), he does fall for anything, ( Hitler signs and swastikas), and unfortunately exactly the same thing can be said about everyone, especially those in the press, who ignored all of Obama's very apparent and real character flaws, ( and still do) and let themselves be bamboozled into pushing for his nomination and guaranteeing his election, all for only one reason -- race.

And that is the only teachable moment about race worth learning. That and maybe a lot of people finally learning what Martin Luther King really meant when he said he dreamed of a day when people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

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