Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why the White House really Rushed to Judgment on Sherrod

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Capitol Hill reporters relentless peppered White House press secretary Robert Gibbs with questions of why the White House rushed to judgment and demanded the resignation of Shirley Sherrod. A clearly flustered Gibbs could only say and repeat that the White House made its horrible decisions on faulty information. Gibbs promised a review to get to the bottom of why and how it happened. The surface reason the White House dumped Sherrod was made on faulty information, a doctored video, and simple ignorance of the true facts. It wouldn’t have taken much of an investigation to find the truth. That wasn’t done. Former Civil Rights Commission Chairperson Mary Frances Berry and others claim that Obama is scared stiff of being ripped by Fox News, Limbaugh, Beck and the conservative smear machine. That’s just as spurious. If Obama sneezes, they’d attack him for polluting the Ozone, so there’s no real fear of them. The decision to can Sherrod had everything to do with politics, and the tight cornered racial parameter of his presidency.

This was set the very first day of his presidential campaign. In his candidate declaration speech in Springfield, Illinois in February 2007, he made only the barest mention of race. The focus was on change, change for everyone. He had little choice. The institution of the presidency, and what it takes to get it, demands that racial typecasting be scrapped. Obama would have had no hope of winning the Democratic presidential nomination, let alone the presidency, if there had been any hint that he embraced the race-tinged politics of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. His campaign would have been marginalized and compartmentalized as merely the politics of racial symbolism. The month after he got in the White House he mildly chided Attorney General Eric Holder for calling Americans cowards for not candidly talking about race.

The term for that is racial overcompensation. He must react, hard and swift, to any appearance of anyone connected with his administration that says or does anything that can be construed as racial favoritism. The doctored Sherrod speech was a near textbook fit of the requirement to punish any real, imagined, or put up racial transgression with firing, reprimand, and a quick distancing from the offending party.
Obama got a bitter taste of the misery that race can cause a president him when in an unscripted moment he spoke his mind and blasted a Cambridge cop for cuffing and manhandling Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates. The loud squeals that he was a bigot, racist and anti police for siding with Gates bounced off the Oval Office walls. A chagrined Obama back pedaled fast and asked all for forgiveness. There would no White House repeat of the Gates fiasco.
Obama has clung tightly to the centrist blueprint Bill Clinton laid out for a Democratic presidential candidate to win elections, and to govern after he won. The blueprint requires that the Democratic presidential candidate tout a strong defense, the war against terrorism, a vague plan for winding down the Iraq War, tepid proposals to control greenhouse emissions, mild tax reform for the middle class, a cautious plan for affordable health care, pro business solutions to joblessness, and make only the most genteel reproach of Wall Street.

The Clinton blueprint also requires a Democratic president to formulate a moderate agenda on civil rights, poverty, failing inner city public schools, the HIV-AIDS crisis, and the racially skewed criminal justice system in written policy statements. And then say little about them or low key their approach to them in the White House. Obama’s silence, extreme low key approach to these policy issues, occasional reminder that he’s the American president, not black president irked the Congressional Black Caucus and at times other civil rights groups.

Obama well knows that the GOP lost an election, but it still packs a punch. It and its tea party shock troops can disrupt, obstruct, and create chaos for his administration, his political agenda, and him personally. And it does it not only because that's the warfare that Republicans wage against Democrats anyway, but because the GOP has masterfully reignited its populist base against Obama. The base is rock solid conservative, lower income white male loyalists, with a heavy mix of hard line Christian fundamentalists. Despite the GOP's and tea party activists wail that racism has nothing to do with the white fury at Obama, the bitter truth is that many white voters do not and will not accept a black president.

If Obama talked candidly about race and tried to spark a dialogue on race as some clamor for him to do it would turn his administration into a referendum on race. This would turn the GOP and tea party counterinsurgency into a red hot fire.
Obama's rush to judgment on Sherrod had nothing to do with fear and only tangentially with a terrible misread of the information about her purported racial statement. It had everything to do with the price of White House governance. The price is a politically constricted, race neutral presidency.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.
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Stop Police Brutality said...

Shane Whitehead, under the profile name Coshane220, a Sergeant with the Boone County, Illinois Sherriff's office posts these comments in the website in reference to a suspect.

"This @$$hole really needs a size 10 right up the @$$, a 45 right to the head.
If this one doesn't qualify as a POS, then nobody does."

Unfortunately policelink tolerates these type of comments as their forums are full of them

Anonymous said...

What does the first comment have anything to do with this article?Yeah, it may be an inappropriate comment for the person to make, but stick to the subject at hand. All of this liberal jibberish is funny.

I do find it intersting though that the provided link doesn't work. It would be intersting to read some of the other comments.

Anonymous said...

I pasted the link into my browser and it worked just fine.

This guy is a cop and made these comments? Wow I hope he never gets named in a brutality suit. These comments might get brought up.

People should really watch what they put on the internet

Anonymous said...

I was able to access it. I read the topic and all I can saw is WOW! Not to the comment that the cop posted, but to the guy that was convicted. I googled his name and the stuff that he did is horrendous. Doing the things that he did to anyone as it is, is bad enough, but to a child...sick, sick, sick! He will be judged by the Almighty for his actions. As for the harsh comment that the cop made...well, my opinion is probably equally as strong. The poor families of these victims need our strenght and prayers, not our criticism.

Anonymous said...

Give it up dude, you can't justify your comments. As a jailer you are saying someone needs something up their ass? And a 45 to their head? Regardless of how true something is, you can't post it in a public forum because you are in a position of authority. Cops have been punished before for stupid things they posted for the world to see on the internet...Now you are part of the club...I wouldnt want to be in your jail with you making those kind of comments. Give it up dude u screwed up. Just my opinion, you posted the last comment in here too defend yourself...Stay in policelink

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

This guy is no cop he is a glorified county jail worker.. He is a POS

Anonymous said...

Wow, this guy must have really did something to tick you off. Oh by the way, I'm not the cop, I'm just somebody that looks at the entire story. I can see how you might think that I would be defending that comment, but you should also see that it appears that you are defending the actions of a convicted serial killer and a child rapist. I hope I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

There is no place in this world for murderers, child rapists or jailers that call for brutality by putting things up someboddy's ass.

Maybe this jailer should look into the case of Abner Louima. He was a Haitian who was assaulted, brutalized and forcibly sodomized with the handle of a bathroom plunger by New York City Police officers in 1997. Two police officers were sentenced to 30 and 15 years.
Say what you want but you can't justify a public official making these kind of remarks on a social network site. I agree that it is unacceptable by the officer to make this statement, regardless of his reasoning. He is an officer and they are usually under a microscope.

I believe Abner Louima would agree.

Just my opinion

Anonymous said...

The cop is in the wrong. I lived in New York City during the Abner Louima incident. It was an ugly time. Police officers are held to a higher standard and should watch what they put on the WWW.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I read some of the articles about the Abner Louima case. In my opinion, those officers actions are horrendous and inexcusable and they are no better than the Kirkland guy from the other comments.

If I could though offer this as a conclusion to this debate;

Opinions for what it's worth, are what they are. We all, being free thinking human beings have them. However what separates most people, is knowing the difference between right and wrong. Having an opinion and discussing it (or yes, even posting it on website)is one thing. But having an opinion and then acting on that opinion is something entirely different. And that my friend is what the difference is between right and wrong.

Anonymous said...

Nice try Shane, lol
Keep up the awesome comments in policelink. (And Here)

Anonymous said...

miss u on PL