Days after the NAACP clashed with Tea Party members over allegations of racism, a video has surfaced showing an Agriculture Department official, Shirley Sherrod, regaling an NAACP audience with a story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy — video that now has forced the official to resign. Subsequently, it has come out that the clip represented only a small part of the speech Sherrod gave, and that Sherrod was using this as an example of how she has changed, and how she came to help this white farmer…and the administration reversed itself, asking Sherrod to resume her position.
What is going on here? As a friend said, even if Sharrod had harbored or does harbor a dislike for white people, if that dislike didn’t or doesn’t affect her work then who cares? The farmer she helped thinks that he got a fair deal so what is the problem?
I couldn’t agree more…but there is more to this story than simply Sherrod’s remarks. There is a complex interaction going on here, partially having to do with the NAACP attack on the TEA party, and the Republican attempts to demonstrate the inherent racism of the Obama administration.
Dick Morris suggests that Obama has two conflicting goals: He wants to expand his base among whites and heighten enthusiasm of blacks. Good goals, both. But if he uses racial issues to accomplish either objective — as he appears to do in the Sherrod controversy — he alienates one group in order to win the other. Not a good strategy.
If you want my canny insider-oriented political opinion on this, the Republicans fomented this controversy, counting on the inexperience and amateurism of the Obama administration to make a hasty decision that would make them look bad, and the administration fell for it like a high school Senior running for class President, instead of a professional team of highly paid political hucksters. A single phone call to Sherrod asking for clarification would have shown this for what it is, but the White House panicked, as the Republicans thought it would, and then tried to recover, making it even worse.
Look for more of this as November approaches. The Republicans are playing this political gamesmanship to a T, and the Democrats are looking like the petty amateurs they are. It is all geared to increasing the Republican margins in December, and the Democrats don’t have a hand to play in this game