But what’s galling to me–gut-wrenching, really, like watching old news footage of blacks being beaten and clubbed at lunch counters–is that Breitbart obviously understood the powerful effect his tape would have, posted it anyway, and then assumed the role of ringmaster, expertly conducting the media circus, fanning the flames. It’s hardly the first time. But the moral ugliness of what’s just happened is glaring, and it’s hard for me to see how the media can justify continuing to treat Breitbart as simply a roguish provocateur. He’s something much darker. – The Breitbart Circus, by Joshua Green
Somebody didn’t learn from the Clinton era.
What Rush Limbaugh does on radio, especially on race, is what Andrew Breitbart does in new media.
What Democrats haven’t learned is that it doesn’t matter what offerings you give the right, like Shirley Sherrod’s head on a platter. People like Andrew Breitbart simply see it as weakness. You can’t appease them. You can’t back them off by trying to make them quiet. They’ll keep on coming, regardless of their mistakes.Â They have no shame and no conscience.
Sect. Vilsack is now reconsidering Ms. Sherrod’s sacking, with the NAACP admitting they’d been “snookered.” The question is why Vilsack and the White House aren’t falling over themselves to admit a mistake. It’s a lesson in how to turn a good week into a very bad one. Because the White House political team in trying to get ahead of the story without the facts, also was too ignorant to know about Mr. Breitbart’s history of disseminating his own factoids in his own package.
Once again the White House political team has failed abysmally and given the right a powerful jolt of adrenaline on a story Breitbart concocted, which not even their humiliation for being wrong will quench. You cannot unring a bell.
Wonk the Vote makes a powerful point worth consideration in her diary today, whether you agree with its finer point or not:
The NAACP opened up this can of worms by passing that “resolution” calling the Tea Party racist. IMHO not a good plan. Not well thought out. For one thing, it further alienates disaffected voters who this tactic no longer works on but could still be won back to the Democrats if only they would behave like Democrats and pass a real Democratic agenda. Moreover, it OBVIOUS the right-wing haterade would go on a witchhunt in response to this resolution tactic. I saw it coming 10,000 miles away. This is what the inhabitants of Glenn Beckistan do. It’s their pattern. It’s counterproductive and ineffective to fight them with “boycotts” and “resolutions” that will never actually shut them up. You boycott MSNBC or something, you might actually get an apology once in awhile. You won’t get one from the rightwingers, you’ll get an angry army trying to do tit for tat. So even more importantly if you’re going to persist in doing these boycotts and resolutions, you have to be effing prepared for going into the battle that comes with that territory. You don’t blink at the first sign of backlash and force Shirley Sherrod to resign when Breitbart and Fox tell you she has to go! Especially without even watching the video of Sherrod’s remarks in its entirety, as the NAACP now claims it didn’t in its apology to Sherrod.
What happened in the White House was simple. Sherrod told part of the story by revealing the Administration was afraid it “would be on Glenn Beck.” They canned Sherrod and it was anyway, but then Beck surprised them.
We’re down the rabbit hole when Mr. Beck is more discerning on race than the Obama White House. Vilsack now has permission to “reconsider.” And so it goes.
The whiplash reaction from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was all so predictable. Including the knee jerk reaction of Obama’s political team to a charge of racism from an African American against a white farmer, which absolutely terrified the Obama White House, regardless of whether there was any truth there or not.
The simple, yet unproved charge that an African American at USDA had discriminated against white folk had visions of white voter flight dancing in the Obama political team’s head.
After watching the right-wing for twenty years, especially during the Clinton era, I can attest that you will never get them to back down, even when they’re wrong, but also unfairly wrong and judging someone harshly on the worst of terms. Rush never flinched from calling Bill Clinton a murderer, while Rev. Jerry Falwell, an evangelical minister no less, blasted those lies far and wide, while saying it wasn’t that he was attesting to their truths at all. Of course not, he was just making sure everyone he knew could hear the unproven allegations that were false. During the 2008 election season, Sean Hannity dragged out “The Clinton Chronciles” to revive the Was Vince Foster Murdered meme. It goes on and on. It includes Democrats playing the race card against the Clintons during the primaries, because the Obamaphiles knew they could get away with it. That’s how playing the race card works, even on the unbelievable.
America continues its high wire hair trigger act when it comes to race. Barack Obama’s presidency has done nothing to change it, with the Sherrod firing adding more fuel instead of less to the incendiary atmosphere, which is being egged on by some Tea Party extremists.
The Obama White House should have known better. Unfortunately, because this incident had to do with race, a White House that was going to elevate our conversation on the subject ran scared and got caught up in their own moral cowardice.