Shirley Sherrod is not the issue
by Eric Golub on July 21, 2010 at 7:15 PM
For those wanting up-to-date information on Lindsay Lohan or Jersey Shore, look in the mirror and apologize for being an imbecile contributing to America’s intellectual decline. That concludes today’s pop culture report.
The story of the day is a low level bureaucrat who worked at the agriculture department named Shirley Sherrod.
Ms. Sherrod told a story about how as a black woman she had the power to shabbily treat a white farmer who was desperate to save his farm. The sinister interpretation of her remarks is that she used her power to engage in racism. A more charitable explanation she has offered is that this was a soul searching moment that forced her to confront her racist attitudes, leading her to become a better person.
Ms. Sherrod has stated that she did end up helping the white farmer, and that she tells the story to condemn racism, not advance it.
Personally, I am willing to give her explanation some serious consideration. I do not know what is in her heart, nor do I wish to be guilty of attacking a woman without having all of the facts.
Yet the real issue is that Ms. Sherrod is the least important aspect of this story.
(I do not mean to say she is unimportant. She is a human being. She is just much smaller than the larger picture.)
Conservatives may find her comments to be reverse racism while liberals will make excuses for her, but both sides should switch to the other team on this one. Republicans should hope that her comments were harmless, while Democrats and liberals should hope that her comments were malicious.
Before breaking that down, let’s get to who the real player in this story is. It is not Fox News or Andrew Breitbart. They broke the story, but their roles end there.
The left loves to blame the right for everything and anything, but nobody at Fox News or working for Mr. Breitbart has any power to fire any government employee. Roger Ailes runs Fox News. Andrew Breitbart runs Big Hollywood.
(Full disclosure: I used to write for Big Hollywood.)
Neither of them have any control over government staff.
This story is about President Barack Obama. The left is doing back flips to obfuscate this fact, but he is what matters here.
He is the president. Ms. Sherrod is his employee. He can fire her for any reason without explanation. If she wears a red shirt on blue shirt Wednesday, he can sack her immediately. She is an at will employee. He has every right to fire his employees…again…for any reason.
This is exactly the same as George W. Bush being criticized for firing eight U.S. attorneys. His only mistake was not going on television and saying “I’m the president. I fired them because I can. Deal with it. If you don’t like it, win an election and sit in my chair.”
I don’t have to like Barack Obama’s policies to respect his authority as the boss over his bureaucracy. He hired her. He can fire her.
Some liberals will do what they always do, which is to jump belly first on the live grenade to protect their beloved Obama. They will say he was out of the loop, and that the (Tom) Vilsack did the sack.
For once in his charmed presidential life, Mr. Obama needs to take personal responsibility.
There are only two possibilities. Either the comments were wrong, or they were not wrong.
If the comments were abominable, Mr. Obama should simply say that he fired his employee because he can. Republicans would be going ballistic if he did not fire her, so everyone should back off because he did.
The president cannot be blamed for firing a bad person, and being a racist makes one bad.
To make things even more surreal, the president should then praise Fox News for helping him be aware of an employee that is bad for America, and Fox News could praise him for standing on principle.
If the comments were not wrong, then President Obama shoved another innocent victim under the bus. This makes him a spineless jellyfish.
The left will blame the right to deflect from their own leader’s gutlessness.
When the left tried to have Condoleeza Rice fired, President Bush showed loyalty and leadership when he banged the podium during his defiance.
“Condoleeza Rice is a fabulous person and America is lucky to have her service. Period!”
Mr. Obama is not known for emotion, but being “cool” can be seen as coldness.
Nobody disputes that Barack Obama fired one of his own employees. The issue is if he did so honorably or dishonorably. If Tom Vilsack acted wrongly, Mr. Obama can reverse the decision.
Ms. Sherrod has insisted that she was wronged. If she backs down under pressure, she loses credibility. I would not be willing to shatter my own reputation to protect my political party. Susan McDougal did this with the Clintons, and it makes as little sense now as it did then.
If Ms. Sherrod was smeared, she should not give an inch.
Neither should the right. The right broke the story, but Mr. Obama either acted on principle or on political expediency.
Legally he can fire her either way. Morally we need to know if our president is a soulless block of ice who will hurt anybody else to save his own skin.
The character of Mr. Obama is on the line.
The left can unleash their typical ball of rage at the right, but no amount of breathing fire will change the fact that this story is 100% owned by the left.
Let’s get to the truth.