Nate Silver asks, is there a “Bunker Mentality at 1600 Pennsylvania?”
The White House claims that it had not placed pressure on the USDA to encourage Sherrod’s resignation. You can choose to believe that or not, just as you can choose to whether or not to believe Brietbart was not in possession of the whole video, as he now claims.
What there’s no ambiguity about, however, is that the White House is standing by its decision, which it now credits to Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. My guess is that common sense will prevail and that Sherrod will be invited to re-take her position, probably within 24 hours. But what if the White House doesn’t back down? And if it does, why did it take the White House so long to come to a seemingly obvious course of action that Charles Krauthammer and Glenn Greenwald agree upon?
I don’t think the answers to that question are pretty. It was one thing for the White House to encourage Sherrod’s resignation based on such flimsy evidence, thereby enabling Brietbart and other media-savvy activists who are engaged in trench warfare against it. That’s bad enough. But it’s another thing to refuse to re-hire her. One overarching critique of some of the less successful Presidencies of the recent past is that they suffer from a bunker mentality: they were either too stubborn, or too detached from reality, to acknowledge mistakes and correct errant courses of action. Although the mistakes over Sherrod may not be of the same magnitude as, for instance, the mistakes made in the Vietnam Era, it nevertheless seems that the only reason not to re-hire is that it would involve admitting you’d screwed up in the first place.
There are going to be some tough times ahead for the White House — beginning, in particular, with the midterm elections, which even under best-case assumptions will significantly weaken their majorities. No one decision from among the dozens that a White House has to make each day can be completely representative of the way that it is thinking about politics and governance (although really, there are two decisions here: first, to fire Sherrod, and second, not to re-hire her). But I wonder about the state of mind of a White House that has chosen this course of action and how that bodes for navigating the tough waters that they and the country are facing.
And speaking of a bunker mentality, “NAACP Blames Fox and Breitbart For The NAACP’s Overreaction to Shirley Sherrod Video,” Jeff Dunetz writes at Big Government:
As soon as Ms Sherrod blasted the NAACP for not talking to her before bashing her the NAACP withdrew their statement. That’s when Ben Jealous then called Sherrod to find out her side of the story.
Following their conversation NAACP President Jealous released the following statement
“With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias,” said Jealous. “Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.”
“The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech,” he continued. “They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.”Snookered??? How could they be snookered, Shirley Sherrod spoke at an NAACP event. Mr. Jealous had access to the entire tape but he never bothered to look at it before he blasted Ms Sherrod.Sorry Mr. Jealous, but you can’t be snookered when you hold all of the evidence. And you are still missing a major part of the video its not necessarily about Shirley Sherrod. Watch the video again, listen for the approval of the crowd as she talked disparagingly about the white farmer and how she sent him to one of his own for help. You see, Ms Sherrod’s story doesn’t change the fact that the NAACP audience seemed to have approved of her actions when she talked about not helping the white farmer.
Shirley Sherrod’s story doesn’t change the fact Ben Jealous had access to the entire video and blasted Sherrod without watching it. That is not the fault of Andrew Breitbart, nor is it the fault of Fox News, it is the fault of only one person, Ben Jealous President of the NAACP.
Meanwhile, for some background, Tom Blumer writes at the non-JournoList-approved Washington Examiner, “Shirley Sherrod’s Disappearing Act: Not So Fast.” the Weasel Zippers blog sums it up thusly: “USDA Official Ousted Over Breitbart Tape Won $13 Million in Lawsuit Against the USDA Over Claims of Racism.”
One thing’s for sure, no matter what happens next, this story is likely to become increasingly more vial, err, vile in the coming days.
Update: Don Surber writes, “Listening to the video in light of the Washington Examiner report puts it all together with breath-taking clarity.”
Update: The Rhetorican spots the center-left Mediate Website noting that “It’s been a very bad day” for the far-left NAACP, and features a clip from CNN’s Campbell Brown telling the vice president of the NAACP, “You allowed yourselves to be snookered.”
As the Professor notes, “Didn’t [the NAACP] have the whole tape all along? Did they fire her without even watching it?”