The view from underneath the bus

viaSalon, but Jealous also spun the same story onMaddow, and she didn’t challenge it, which I found disappointing.

Said NAACP President Ben Jealous in the newstatement:

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.

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.

<…>

This is the same Jealous who said
Monday he was “appalled” by Sherrod’s “abuse of power.” Good for the
NAACP for admitting a mistake.

No, not good.

Because they admitted thewrong mistake. No one believes for one minute that Jealous, or Vilsack, and whoever in the administration allowed or ordered Vilsack to carry the ball on urging Sherrod to step down, was “snookered” or “hoodwinked.” No one at that level of political power listens to Fox or Breitbart and falls for it. Fox News manipulating a story? Andrew Breitbart lying? Gosh, who in the White House press office would expect that?

They made a bet on the response that was calculated to cause the least amount of damage, and now, in addition to losing big to the rabid assholes who started all this, they are throwing table scraps to the public and pretending they didn’t do something cynical and paranoid and contrived at the expense of a public servant with a long career of civil rights advocacy who committed the grave error of speaking in public about amatter of moral complexity that happened a quarter of a century ago.

Breitbart and Fox are scumbags and they deserve every bit of blame getting thrown at them for this. But come the fuck on, in what nine-dimensional, 12-steps-ahead, crystal-ball-PR-chess game did the Obama administration, the USDA, and the NAACP arrive at the decision that the correct first course of action, the very best first thing was to condemn and jettison Sherrod right off the bat? In what universe does no one in the administration pause and consider that their actions will make them look like chumps and losers – again- to the people who put them in power? In what game book is that preferable when it’s written across the sky in black smoke that everyone on the other side hates your guts anyway and no one over there will ever be convinced anything you do is right?

There’ll be more statements, maybe an apology, maybe some attempt to walk part of this back. I don’t care what they do because none of it will bear any resemblance to the truth and it certainly won’t look like winning. I am so weary of this shit.

And don’t even get me started on theWashington Post story.

11 thoughts on “The view from underneath the bus

  1. darrelplant says:

    The whole chess thing has to go away. Whoever thought it was a good idea to start using chess as an analogue for how “smart” politicians operate knows absolutely nothing about game theory, and the mindless repetition of the trope, if anything, just hammers the point in about how little the general public and commentators understand it.
    Chess is a game of absolute knowledge. Nothing is hidden in a game of chess. There’s no chance, there’s no accident, there’s nothing that can’t potentially be foreseen and predicted. The only thing that can go wrong in chess is that someone makes a mistake. All the pieces are on the board. Their starting positions are set. The pieces can only move in specific ways. The only variance is whether you move first or not. Eleventy-dimensional chess is just twenty-dimensional tic-tac-toe.
    But life and politics aren’t like that. An unexpected event (aka “shit”) happens. People lie about what they’re going to do. Or they lie about the facts to the public and dare you to call them on it. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen in chess or checkers or tic-tac-toe. There are a lot of games it does happen in, but success in those games requires a healthy dose of skepticism and a willingness to take chances which have been woefully absent in this administration.

    Like

  2. Athenae says:

    THIS. I swear, if we have to have another national therapy session about how it’s okay to ignore right-wing fuckmooks, I am going to skip it and drink margaritas instead. I thought we were over this.
    A.

    Like

  3. Dan says:

    Fantastic post, Virgo Tex. Well done.

    Like

  4. Robert M. says:

    darrelplant wins my Internet today. I’ve had this conversation with friends and family at least half a dozen times. Politics is not chess, it’s Vizzini and Westley in a battle of wits, and you certainly don’t win it by letting the sneaky bastards dish out the poison.
    Or, if you don’t like cult movie references, it’s just high-stakes poker. When someone has a history of betting on a weak hand, youcall their fucking bluff.
    Breitbart’s schtick is to get just enough people to believe him for just long enough to do some damage, and then cackles all the way back to the rock he lives under. The way to defeat someone like that is to refuse to pay attention to him. Knowing that he’s a cynical, lying, racist hack, you say out loud that you won’t follow such a clumsily transparent attempt at race-baiting without full, in-context, un-edited evidence, and then let him twist in the wind.

    Like

  5. TJ says:

    Like in string theory, most of Obama’s extra dimensions are undetectable.

    Like

  6. virgotex says:

    okay, gentlemen, point taken about my sloppy use of chess as a metaphor. Consider me schooled, and thank you for the lesson.

    Like

  7. mothra says:

    So I went and read the WaPo story. WTF!!!!
    Good God I hate this shit. HATE THIS SHIT.

    Like

  8. darrelplant says:

    I wasn’t going to mention poker for the same reason that I suspect the Obama fans prefer to use chess. Poker isdeclasse, poker people are often seen as crass and loud, while chess players (apart from, perhaps, Bobby Fischer) are typically portrayed as deliberative and quiet. There’s certainly some truth to both stereotypes.
    But there’s a reason poker players tend to make (or lose) more money than chess players. Even a bozo can beat a pro on a hand if they get good cards.

    Like

  9. virgotex says:

    mothra, I know! And it’s worse because Karen Tumulty isn’t usually one of the worst offenders.

    Like

  10. Joy says:

    I, too, expected Rachel to challenge him and was disappointed when she didn’t. No matter how you look at it, the NAACP came off looking bad on this one and I don’t think spin is going to work the same for them that it does Breitbart.

    Like

  11. pansypoo says:

    i think we have our ‘fool me once, shame on you, this time the media and the obama administration, shame on you.
    and sue the money from bitchbart. make this turd poor.

    Like

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