The Knee-Jerk Presidency

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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The initial smearing and subsequent vindication of Shirley Sherrod is hardly the first time that a quote was taken out of context in order to further a political agenda and it certainly won’t be the last. The sad affair serves as an object lesson to everyone in the media, old and new, of the importance of fully understanding a story before breaking it. Yet, while a heretofore virtually unknown official in the USDA will emerge from this fiasco with her head held high and her reputation intact, one can’t say as much when it comes to the Obama administration. The shabby treatment that the White House subjected this good lady to was embarrassing to say the least, from a knee-jerk dismissal through a presidential apology that fell entirely flat.

According to Fox, after she received an apology from the president himself, Sherrod said that she’s still not convinced that Obama fully supports her. Moreover, she expressed a desire to teach him some life lessons, adding that the president is “…not someone who has experienced some of the things I’ve experienced in life.” As more and more Americans are starting to realize, Barack Obama hasn’t experienced most of the things that the people he is supposed to be leading have experienced. The president is the product of a sheltered academic world that morphed into the fantasyland of liberal politics without any pause to discover what the average Joe and Josephine do for a living or how they think. His secluded, narcissistic life explains the two characteristics of Barack Obama and his administration that made their discreditable reaction to the Sherrod affair so inevitable: the president’s schizophrenic attitude about race and the administration’s refusal to put away their campaign planner and get down to the dirty and often thankless job of governing a nation.

It’s ironic that this so-called “post racial” president has done more to inflame the dying embers of racism in America than any president since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, not because of the color of the president’s skin – America was ready to, and did, embrace the deep symbolism of electing Barack Obama to the nation’s highest office – but because of the hue of his attitudes and that of those surrounding him. On the one hand, Barack Obama hopes that America can get past whatever vestiges of racism remain in this country. Americans may argue about how significant an issue that is today, but the overwhelming majority of us agree that is a worthy goal.

On the other hand, the president and his advisors continually inject racism into discussions that should have nothing to do with race. The perception, justified or not, is that this administration in continually trying to impose limitations in public discourse that are, de facto if not de jure, “separate but equal,” depending on one’s pigmentation. There’s a set of standards that applies to the Van Jones, Jeremiah Wrights and Henry Gates of the world, and another that applies to everybody else, from Tea Partiers to Fox News. In an ideal world, presumably even in the nirvana that liberals dream about, people would be judged strictly as individuals rather than pre-judged as a member of a particular group. Yet, the Obama White House is obsessed with the group and doesn’t appear to give much thought to the individual.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/therealend therealend

    It's shaping up to look like Fox News and Mr Breitbart are the next in line to be Sherroded (judged before all the facts are known). Again!

    • mommabear

      Being Sherroded includes you also. A timeline was done and Fox News did not break the story until after she had been fired. The first it was mentioned was at the end of the O"Reilly Factor and Glenn Beck didn't mention it until the next day.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/therealend therealend

        Perhaps you misunderstood or I worded that badly. It looks to me that Fox news and Mr Breitbart are going to take the blame for the Sherrod story so the President and NAACP can come out not looking so bad. The facts are still coming out about how Mr Breitbart received the story and the condition of the information he was handed, but the blaming of him and Fox news has already started. Hence, they are being Sherroded (judged before all the facts are known).

        • rob

          This was just another story the so-called "mainstream news media" was getting ready to ignore until they figured they could use it against Fox news and Breitbart and get Obama and the NAACP off the hook.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Underzog Underzog

    Andrew Breitbart says that his website did include the exculpatory information on Mrs. Sherrod. Breitbart's point was the NAACP's estactic reaction of Mrs. Sherrod's initial remarks of "sticking it to whitey."

    Breitbart said on the Hannity show that he wanted to get the NAACP's racist reaction not Mrs. Sherrod specifically.

  • Robbins Mitchell

    With her "head held high"????…when she goes on Larry King and calls Andrew Breitbart and Fox News and everybody else in sight "racist"….when she says that Breitbart's websites should be shut down?….who are you trying to kid,Rich?…the woman is a clown,an ignoramus and still obviously carries her brains around in her skin….initially I felt some sympathy for her….but when she talks about suing AB,it's clear to me she is not someone to be taken seriously

  • Al Barrs

    Knee jerk is the least of Obama’s shortcomings. This incident is just another example of his total lack of leadership and decision making ability and demonstrated the intelligence levels of the people he has chosen to surround himself with.

    We have to vote out all DemocRats on November 2nd so funding can be cut off for his outlandish plans and then impeach him ASAP!!!

    Thanks you Breitbart for exposing the NAACP's attack on innocent citizens! This racist political crap crying wolf is child like and stupid. Stupid is a stupid does!

    Al

  • Al Barrs

    Divide and conquer is the Obama strategy but in the words of the immortal Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, "We will overcome"!

  • Jack Selvia

    This editorial is literary equivalent of an "Obama monkey doll."

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/therealend therealend

      Okay, I'll take the bait. What are you really trying to say and why?

      • kafir4life

        I think he's saying that the article is racist against our Halfrican-American President…..And unlike him, I refuse to ignore half of his family.

        But a Bush monkey doll…..well, hey. Obama's color is a natural deflector of criticism. If you substitute "Obama" for "Bush" from any leftie attack, and reissue it, you're a racist…..straight up.

  • Elliot

    I am uncertain of the "good lady" facet of this story.

  • Proud Infidel

    Er,"good lady?" Have you heard the whacked out woman's latest comments? Breibart was right all along!

  • MrUniteUs

    To be clear it was Vilsack not the President who made the snap decision.
    But Vilsack was not alone. Millions of Americans believe the Brietbarts decption.
    Breitbart probably thought the White farmer was dead. He even questionned
    the identity of the Spooners, after they credited Sherrod with saving the family farm.

    Oh well meanwhile China is graduating 400,000 engineers a year,
    while we discuss skin pigment.

    • coyote3

      Brietbart may or may not have "intended" to deceive, but he clearly did show the the exculpatory part of the video. That is not the issue, the reaction of the NAACLP people was more telling. Moreover, the president was aware of the discharge. Breitbart was not the one who discharged this twist. The president is Vilsack's principal, and the principal is responsible for the acts of the agent, if the acts of the agent are even within the power reasonably contemplated by the agent.

    • rob

      This is why countries like China aren't big big fans of "diversity" for themselves

  • MaryJo

    Information is coming out that Shirley and her husband received money from the PigFarm(sp) initiative and that we are looking for another gift to people who now claim to have been hurt. The number of pig farmers has grown since any time real money is involved the hurt is more intense. So more investigation is needed. Shirley is not the simple bureaucrat she may have appeared to be. Also her manner of telling the story is suspect. Maybe a "let me tell you why I have changed my attitude" would have been a good intro.

  • Elliot

    It is better to remain silent and thought a racist then to speak up and remove all doubt. This has moved quickly and already the glow has worn off of Saint Shirley.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chezwick_Mac Chezwick_Mac

    Ms Sharrod said twice on the video that she sent the white farmer to "see one of his own kind". Is this SOP at Agriculture? Surely it would be a firing offense if a white bureaucrat had said something similar about a black client. Why then, this "vindication" of Ms Sharrod?

  • USMCSniper

    "The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

    Author Unknown

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/polipath polipath

      Our "confederacy of fools" is the product of Antonio Gramsci who conceived the startegy of "the long march through the institutions" of our capitalist/theistic republic. That subversion took about 60 years and encompasses our educational system, the communications industries and the national infrastructure in general. It will take at least that long to undo it all if it's even possible now.

    • Bobbi

      Here! Here! or is it Hear! Hear! Either way, way to get to the heart of the matter. If we the People expect to govern ourselves we had better start paying close attention and educating ourselves. We are in this mess because so few of us understand what our founding principles mean, why our founders set things up the way they did, and what effects policy actually has on the people. I am continually dismayed at the numbers of people who think Congress is a state office, who fail to understand separation of powers or who excuse their representative for not reading or understanding the laws he/she votes into existence.

  • http://www.learnpianoinyourhome.com LearnPianoInYourHome

    These are all interesting things to think about!

    Piano Lessons Beginners

  • George

    This is really making lemonade out of lemons. I know that the hope was the woman was a racist and Obama would protect her (or at least circumstance would allow that claim), but sense it turns out the entire thing was a lie, you still make the incident Obama's fault somehow….way to go.

    I know this kind of "journalist exposed as political hack" story probably hits a little to close to home for FPM, since race baiting has become it's mainstay, but it's the perfect story to show that Obama is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't in this bizaro world.

    • USMCSniper

      You are either naive or worse. Shirely Sherrod is a racist based on her comments post firing alone about Foxnews being racists and wanting to put black people back with eyes down and that all Republicans are racists who opposed Obama's healthcare. Case closed you nitwit. Some pople are more equal than others and get a pass. I bet the black congressmen Charlie Rangle gets a slap on the wrist in his trial and the Black Caucus goes out for cocktails and dinner at Black Beef house when what he should really get is 5 years in a federal penitentuary for felony income tax invasion and bribery.

      • George

        So you learned what you wanted to learned from this incident regardless of what actually happened or what it meant. Fox News has been cranking up the race baiting…I can't say they want black people with their heads down…but what they do want is all the old white people scared as they can get them. Look at you…they tell a lie….its revealed….you carry on as if it wasn't a lie. Your the perfect cultic toady.

    • coyote3

      Let's take a look and your statement and have you answer some questions. You said, "I know the hope was the woman was racist…." Well, whose hope are you talking about, I mean please provide the name of the person who "hopes" this. You said the entire thing is a lie. What lie are you talking about? Factually, the video provided the exculpatory remarks at the end and they were played. The fact that the administration rushed to judgment without conducting their own investigation is not the fault of any reporter. Actually, if it was a trap, and I am not so sure it was, it was a trap for this admiinistration and they fell for hook, line, catfish and chittlin. It is kind of hard to imagine someone being fired, on the basis of what amounts to a newspaper article without further investigation. There was no one stopping this administration from viewing the whole film, and obtaining a transcrip of the entire thing. They chose not to do so. Indeed, it is they who put themselves in a position where they were damned if they do, and damned if they don't.

  • Peter E. Coleman

    The history of this administrations snap judgment and knee jerk reactions are going to be a great comfort during a real crisis. Right???

    It sure is nice to see the Left get sucker punched at its own game for once but the reaction of the administration exposes serious deficiencies.

    An Administration filled with the 'brightest " staff where nobody thought of listening to the whole speech before passing judgment.???

    Need a sleep aid yet?

  • Abraham83

    More likely Obama’s quick reaction to Sherrod was prompted by the recent revelations of Christian Adams that AG Holder would not prosecute black racist misdeeds against whites (i.e. "European Americans"). He was out to show his bona fides in that direction, only to quickly backtrack to cover his black base which is just as racist as Ms. Sherrod.

    He conveniently dropped all blame on his USDA appointee although all indications were that it was his decision to fire Sherrod in the first place. It was a convenient two-step that allowed him to show an equitable face against “racism”, while at the same time protecting a racially biased Sherrod and assuaging the indignation of his black supporters who fully agree with Sherrod’s racist statements: witness the huzzahs of agreement from the crowed she spoke to.

    Obama didn’t “shabbily” mistreat this “good lady” to his embarrassment. She IS demonstrably a racist and he covered up nicely for not only her racism and his own, but that of a goodly number of his black supporters.

  • tha92106

    So what was Shirley's conclusion?

    That it is better to be a class warrior than a racist!

  • USMCSniper

    WASHINGTON — Representative Charles Rangel's lawyers are trying to determine if a deal can be reached to settle ethics charges against him and avoid a trial that could hurt his Democratic Party just before the November election, party aides said Saturday. A possible settlement could include Rangel admitting to at least some charges in return for a public admonishment or censure rather than expulsion from Congress, aides said.

    Ahhh yesss,,, another black politician will get away with felonies.

  • voter2010

    Why am I not surprised that the race card has been pulled with the 2010 elections on the horizon? This "pity me" tactic is so old and worn that it's hard to understand why intelligent, upstanding Americans can still be falling for it. One way to counter the race card would be for Americans to pull out a myriad of incidences in which blacks have done all the same things to whites that blacks whine about, especially at election time. Decide that you're not going to be DUPED any longer!!!

  • hikerdude

    Just look at her smirky face. She has that look of feigned superiorority on it to cover up her feelings of inferiority. She is a white people hater. She is and always was a racist.
    If you can't see that , try coming a tad more towards the center of reality and focus in on truth.
    As soon as she uttered her first words on that video I sensed she had an attitude to the 6th power. I knew she was going to show it off to her attitudal brothers and sisters of the NAACP. Amen
    American Christian Infidel
    Michael Canzano

  • smallvoice

    She should have been fired. Now or later. Listen to rest of story, the woman is a racist. Why are white men so quick to forgive and forget when they are being treated prejudicially by a black person? Grow a pair and stand up for yourself and others like you when the occasion warrants. My white grandsons are being taught that while there are serious evils in the world being white isn't one of them.