I don’t know if its worth saying much more about the Sherrod case, but I’d like to comment on why it’s so disappointing.
For those of us who hoped that the Obama Administration would usher in a more thoughtful, nuanced and healthy attitude about racial friction, it’s pretty clear from this case that the attitude about race internalized by Obama’s appointees is anything but subtle. We can speculate about whether the White House intervened directly in the Sherrod firing, but it’s pretty obvious from the actions of Cook and Vilsack that Obama appointees believe that the way to please the boss is to jettison anyone who makes a racial gaffe, and to do it during the current news cycle. The Sherrod firing takes us in the opposite direction from the tolerance a lot of use hoped to see.
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. Being provoked by a fringe provocateur is one of the dumbest political moves around, because it simply greases up the puke funnel. Mainstream media looks at this case and believe that they missed a major scoop: Sherrod was out before most of them had even filed a story on the controversy, and they’re not going to let that happen next time.
I think the Obama administration has a good chance to recover and learn from this episode, but as it stands, it’s a hell of a disappointment.