Putting A Face To The Cost Of Dem Cowering

It is heartening that the disgraceful treatment Shirley Sherrod received from the Obama Administration has been universally panned. But I hope the fact that the problem of Dem cowering transcends the injustice done to Sherrod gets wider exposure. The vast majority of working Americans have suffered from this horribly damaging reflex from the Obama Administration and the Dems. At balloon juice, mistermix writes:

For those of us who admired the temperament of the Obama campaign and hoped the combination of intelligence, patience and confidence exhibited during his 2008 win would become part of their style of governing, this stupid, panicky and insecure response indicates that the right wing noise machine has some of the Obama crew rattled.

But this problem is not new, is not limited to the Obama Administration among Dems, and has had a much more deleterious effect on the country than the isolated issue of Ms. Sherrod. From the inadequate stimulus of 2009, to the deficit "concerns" (see the catfood commission) of today (among many other issues), the flinching and cowering of the Obama Administration and the Dems has damaged the country and, ironically, the political fortunes of the Dems. The reflexive hippie punching, the constant refrain of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, the ever present concern of being labeled a gasp, liberal, has led to great suffering in the nation. Simply put, the Dems have not been up to the job. L'Affaire Sherrod has put a face to the cost of this attitude. I hope that the transcendence of this problem is recognized and addressed.

Speaking for me only

< Vilsack Reconsidering Shirley Sherrod Firing; Sherrod May Not Accept Reinstatement | The Discrediting Of Breitbart: Why Was He Ever Taken Seriously? >
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    Good post. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:08:40 AM EST
    I always saw it as a fatal flaw that Obama did not recognize the right wing for what they were. He has surrounded himself with supply side economists which has been horrible for everyone. The problem is that the GOP has no answers so there is going to continue to be suffering until we can get an FDR type Dem in the presidency.

    Yes, and concern for Republican (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:17:04 AM EST
    reaction continues in that, it seems, nothing much would have come of it if liberals alone brought the context of Ms.Sherrod's statement to the fore. It is when wingers like Glenn Beck find an opportunity for mischief to masquerade as justice that the Administration takes notice.

    At some point, you may have to (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:24:56 AM EST
    admit, or accept, that Dems are doing exactly what they want to do, and the Sherrod decision, and the many others they have made - from the not-good-enough stimulus to health-whatever reform, to the Deficit (cat food) Commission, to the Dawn Johnsen nomination, to the extension of awful Bush policies on state secrets and surveillance, to cherry-picking detainee prosecution venues for maximum possibility of conviction, to developing a policy of preventive detention, to watered-down financial regulation - are not emblematic of good intentions being overlaid and interrupted by weakness: this is who they are.

    Being able to see them for who and what they are may be more of an academic exercise than one that will effect any significant change, but there is no chance anything will change if people keep kidding themselves, and a huge possibility that things just continue to get worse.

    The GOP is not now, and never has been, and option for me, so let's get that out of the way: being opposed to the state of Democratic governance does not equate to being supportive of the alternative.

    At this stage, I may not see any viable alternatives, but at least I feel like I am no longer complicit in the fiction that all these Dems need is a spine and everything will be peachy-keen.

    Well, it's got to be hard to accept (4.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 11:52:42 AM EST
    all this for those who voted for all this -- and especially if they did so knowingly, as there certainly was sufficient evidence for concern (i.e., who were the economic advisors in the campaign, who was thrown under the bus in the campaign, etc.)  And it has to be even harder for those who actively supported such behaviors,  especially just for the sake of a win.

    I'm not sure what your point is (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:32:55 AM EST
    I've read Lambert saying the same thing.

    In the context of TARP and financial reform, there may be some logic to your argument, but in THIS context? In the context of trying to improve the economy? No, they are not doing what they want to do. They are acting from fear.


    Oh, come on - are you seriously (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:56:30 AM EST
    going to argue that they didn't do exactly what they wanted on health "reform," that they haven't hidden behind a completely dishonest and disingenuous fear of debt and deficits to give them a reason to start going after entitlements?

    If there is any genuine fear, it is that failing to kow-tow to the corporate sector will shut off the cash flowing into their PACs and campaigns - because one thing is for sure: they are not afraid of us.  


    I am positive I have never argued that (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:52:17 AM EST
    In fact, I am pretty sure that I argued the opposite on the health bill, right here at Talk Left.

    But that does not mean they always argued for what they wanted. I think the stimulus bill is a good example of where they acted out of fear.

    Blanket statements were not made by me, but rather by you. And imo, they are inaccurate.

    But this is a pointless discussion.


    I disagree. (none / 0) (#6)
    by dk on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:39:26 AM EST
    IMO, I just don't believe the stimulus was watered down so much because of fear.  Obama was at the height of his popularity when he brokered that lame bill.  IMO he made an affirmative decision that that bill would suffice, in spite of all rational evidence to the contrary.

    You're free to disagree (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:41:22 AM EST
    This is not resolvable.

    I do not see much point in pursuing the discussion.


    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#10)
    by dk on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:46:16 AM EST
    The results (in the form of policies that don't help the majority of people in this country) are the same anyway, no matter which of us is correct in our opinions.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:51:19 AM EST
    I've always said that with pols the why is irrelevant, the what is what matters.

    In Character with Actions During the Campaign (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:45:56 AM EST
    He threw Reverend Wright and Wes Clark under the bus, too.

    during the campaign (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CST on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:04:31 AM EST
    I also recall a whole lot of clamoring from many over here that he throw Rev. Wright under the bus.

    Honestly I'm surprised Biden was ultimately picked by this admin considering how concerned they appear to be with "foot in mouth" optics.


    Except (none / 0) (#24)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 11:53:47 AM EST
    Biden is a connected white member of the political elite.  While still in the Senate, Biden was commonly known as Biden D-MBNA.  There are different standards for people like that.  It the same principle behind why connected members of the journalistic and national security elite who were so wrong on Iraq are still considered serious people.

    If there is one word of truth in anything THEY say, then everything they say is true.  And if there is one factual error in anything we say, no matter how small,then everything we say is discredited.

    That's just how it works for women, people of color, poor people, leftists, unions and environmentalists.  You know, the base of the Democratic Party.


    Uninspiring (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:55:36 AM EST
    Obama has a rather weak character it seems to me.
    During the campaign, all these bus-throwings - campaigning for Lieberman, voting for FISA, choosing Biden --- all were excused as things he needed to do to get elected.

    Then he was elected - and right away - during the inaugural no less, he presents us with Rick Warren. One big middle finger to civil libertarians and human beings in general.

    The rest has been a combination of dribbling along, or going further downhill.


    Sherrod (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:38:45 AM EST
    It seemed to me that Sherrod was reporting a very human reaction - and most importantly that she came to realize that in this country it is a matter of the discrepancy between the manner rich and poor are treated - even more than white and black.

    I think this is an important insight.

    The poor - most of us at this point - get mistreated.
    The rich do just fine.

    The white and black issue keeps us from dealing with the way our economy is set up and keeps those of us on the bottom fighting with each other for scraps.

    If you're rich, you're white - even if you're black.
    If you're poor, you're black - even if you're white.

    I think the extent of condemnation toward her was over the top - even frantic - and begs the deeper issue.

    And (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by lentinel on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:48:46 AM EST
    I would also add that she did do something to help the guy, even though she had felt that he had been talking down to her.

    I saw a promo for an interview with the man she is alleged to have slighted, and in the promo he says that he was well treated by her.

    But there is one more thing - even in the edited clip, Sherrod was serious and likable. At least I thought so. She reported what she had done, how she had felt, and what she later thought about it and the understanding she had come to.

    There is something about all this that makes me queasy.
    I think it is the frenzy that Americans can get whipped into by the media and pols. Sometimes it leads to wars. I had hopes that we might have outgrown this - having been so successfully manipulated by Bush and later by the forces behind Obama - but it is not to be.


    I agree entirely (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:26:48 PM EST
    When I first saw the edited video, on Fox of course, I was pretty uncomfortable with her actual words, but puzzled by the fact that her tone and manner were not those of somebody who was bragging in any way about shafting some guy out of bitterness.

    Somebody today (on Politico, I think) (none / 0) (#20)
    by rennies on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:59:56 AM EST
    called this electronic McCarthyism. Given the sick feeling I get from rightwing journalism, I would agree.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by DFLer on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 11:36:55 AM EST
    The lesson she learned was the pivotal point of her present-ation.

    The other side of the learning curve was the present recollections by the farming couple in question....also a good human lesson in getting beyond black and white racism.


    Ah, but this is hardly the White House (4.33 / 6) (#25)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 11:57:56 AM EST
    to be the one to argue against race as a reason to vote, for example, or to admit that economic class is an even more divisive factor in this country -- and in the ongoing civil rights movement.

    What Sherrod was preaching was and is dangerous to the White House, if the 2012 campaign is to be in the hands of the same handlers as in the 2008 campaign.  And it looks like it is.


    Oh goody, we've got Sher (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 02:36:12 PM EST
    and her "contributions" to this discussion!

    The exception ... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 07:58:49 AM EST
    ... to the rule.

    This reminds me (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by JamesTX on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:57:01 AM EST
    why I read BTD:

    <blockquote>The reflexive hippie punching, the constant refrain of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, the ever present concern of being labeled a gasp, liberal, has led to great suffering in the nation. Simply put, the Dems have not been up to the job. L'Affaire Sherrod has put a face to the cost of this attitude. I hope that the transcendence of this problem is recognized and addressed.</blockquote>

    Ah, remember the olden days (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:24:39 PM EST
    when Dems stood for an end to unfair treatment in the workplace -- of folks (and so often folks of a certain race and a certain gender) fired summarily  for just such flaps and feelings as in this case and without an opportunity for a hearing in their defense?

    Remember when Dems, to ensure fair representation at their conventions, went through a monumental rewriting of the rules for delegates and such?

    Oh, wait.  They tossed out the rules in 2008.  Ah, well. . . .

    Don't you (none / 0) (#33)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 01:36:59 PM EST
    feel like you need a hot, steaming shower even discussing this issue? Is there, and was there, even one person on the planet who was confused as to what group aligns itself with the Neanderthal Racist Nest, and who is energized by enlightenment and equality?

    I feel my humanity frozen in a defensive posture whenever these topics pop up, forcing a necessary response. Those poor captives of the Right, having to go through life stripped of dignity, self worth, and hope; ensconced in a patina of hatred whose stench is so powerful that pity is the only protection one has, if one is to keep their sanity somewhat intact.

    Look at what energizes them, yet was even one vote changed by all this talk?


    Sherrod is a lovely lady (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:52:55 PM EST
    who needs to be offered her job back.

    I read that she might not take it, if were offered to her, and I don't blame her.  But the offer--and an apology--needs to be extended....

    I hope she doesn't need (none / 0) (#31)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 01:27:03 PM EST
    to take the job back and tells the admin to shove it. They didn't seem to take one second to check the situation out or listen to her explanation of the situation. Better be one heck of an apology . . .

    She is heroic (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 01:34:15 PM EST
    Her father is murdered by white racists.  She endures.  

    She does what we could only hope people do with race issues:  she is self-aware enough to recognize her own race issues; she sees the white farmer as a person, not as a white guy, but a poor farmer; and she works to save his farm.  She saves the farms of a lot of white and black folks.

    And she tells her own awakening in spite of justifiable resentment--to help others put aside their own racial issues....Most likely all the while facing idiots like Breitbart along the way....


    And that white farmer (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 01:53:41 PM EST
    Is defending her today, calling her "a friend."

    The charge of reverse racism is the new (3.33 / 3) (#8)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:42:53 AM EST

    The edited Shirley Sherrod tape (as a standalone) would not have produced Dem cowering... coming  on the heels of the Right Wing non-stop reverse racism charge re Holder/NBPP voter intimidation, Ms Sherrod was thrown under the bus.

    & of course the term (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:18:10 PM EST
    "reverse racism" of which the right wing is so fond is itself racist in that it rests on the assumption that white racism is a natural order that is upset ("reversed") in the case of racial bias on the part of "minorities" (sic) toward "the majority" (sic)

    not to mention that when "minorities" expose or speak out against white racist defamation, that alone is often enough to get them branded as "reverse racists" by the same rightwing interests


    One could argue that L'Affaire Sherrod (3.00 / 1) (#12)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:54:20 AM EST
    and the WH's initial reaction is the opposite of cowering.  One could argue what we have is a Democratic party struggling to deal w/a new reality.  The same reality the GOP is having issues w/right now vis-a-vis the fringe of the Tea Party.  That reality being you may have to piss off a major constituency and throw them under the bus so as not to appear be playing favorites.

    Obviously, they should've looked before they leaped, but I'm not sure this instance fits w/the Dems-as-spineless b@st@rds narrative.

    I'm not sure there's a difference (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:23:19 PM EST
    between being spineless b-words and "not appearing to be playing favorites."

    People who are not spineless you-know-whats stick up for what's right on principle-- which includes not trampling over each other to throw the Shirley Sherrods off the boat before actually, you know, looking at the evidence beyond what a bunch of right-wingers are claiming.


    One of the things that concerned me... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Susie from Philly on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:23:50 AM EST
    About the Obama team is that David Axelrod's political experience is mostly in urban settings with African-American candidates. I wondered at the time if he knew how to communicate and message to groups outside his experience. I assumed he'd adjusted to the change, since they did win the election, and yet it seems clear now that he's unsure, makes bad guesses and then tries desperately to pull back his message.

    It might behoove them to put someone else in charge of the communications strategy. Axelrod has a tin ear for messaging.

    The other problem, of course, is that it's about much more than messaging. It's about the effect their policies have on real lives. I don't think that's gotten through to them just yet.

    Stunning. Never thought I'd (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 04:47:43 PM EST
    see the day when anyone had to explain to a Democrat that policies affect real lives.

    Hasn't "gotten through to them just yet"?

    And that, simply put, is why I am no longer a dues-paying Democrat.


    Dem Cowering (none / 0) (#22)
    by Doc Rock on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 11:47:07 AM EST
    Once again, BTD has hit the nail on the head. I concur!!!!

    Well (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 03:24:48 PM EST
    It does seem that for anyone who is not part of the elite white power structure, they have to watch their a$$ in what they say, to a stunningly higher degree than their white elite counterparts.

    We did not even get to hear the full tape of Helen Thomas, she was sacked on a sound bite.

    And Monica Goodling was just doing the job that was expected of her, no outrage, just questions about legality.

    it is a cultural double standard.  

    Alan Grayson is about it (none / 0) (#38)
    by pluege2 on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 08:40:57 PM EST
    ...the only dem in the whole damn party presenting a little backbone. A few more are well meaning and principled like Rush Holt, but they're few of those and no one other than Grayson up to the task of representing decency and humanity in the US political system and public discourse.

    Dailykos is tearing itself apart (none / 0) (#40)
    by shpilk on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 05:41:58 PM EST
    over this, and the denial is so strong you can cut it with a knife.

    Any attempt to honestly and rationally discuss the failures of the Obama administration gets one branded as a 'traitor', a 'racist', a 'Naderiite' [that's a really repellent one, right there, LOL] or worse.

    I've been "invited" by a number of posters to leave Dailykos and "go to RedState, where I belong".


    I haven't checked in here well, almost forever: but yeah .. you've got this one nailed down tight. Wanted to let you know I agreed.

    This administration is out of control, and they are going to pay a heavy price for it in November.