A clock is right twice a day (unless it’s military time). So I found myself vomiting a little in my mouth watching the Shirley Sherrod episode play itself out. Glenn Beck for once called it correctly — the White House jumped at the bait and without any investigation, jumped the gun and pushed the USDA to boot Shirley Sherrod, a state level, middle management official in the State of Georgia. And journalists asleep at the wheel let it happen. Her “racist” remarks turned out to be part of a story of personal transformation from seeing things in black and white to seeing the world as haves and have nots. Here’s what Beck said on his show yesterday:

The White House is watching today because they think I will be celebrating this as some kind of victory. Well, I’m not and I won’t.

Fact is, I never asked for the resignation of Van Jones. I asked for an explanation. I wanted to know how a revolutionary communist wound up in the White House. We never got that explanation.

I think Shirley Sherrod is asking the same thing: How did she get ousted out of the USDA and the NAACP without any explanation?

Something isn’t right here. Stop the character assassination without due process. This is related to what we talked about yesterday. This is how this administration does almost everything. They make Congress irrelevant. They make fair trials irrelevant. They announce plans to execute Americans without due process. That’s how they got health care done. That’s how they put another Marxist in as director of Medicare/Medicaid. It’s how they do everything.

Why are they getting rid of Shirley? Why is she being made an example of? Where are the journalists on this? There are a million questions here. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles of journalists — ask them: What the hell is wrong with you? If you see a journalist, ask them politely, what are you doing? Are you not curious? Do you know something we don’t know, besides what Lindsay Lohan wore to jail today? Journalists are supposed to ask questions, what is going on with this story?

Now Beck’s final take was — well, she should have been welcomed in a communist White House! That’s because he’s a idiot.

Like Glenn Beck, there’s a reason I didn’t post on this when it first happened. And that’s because, unlike the White House & the NAACP, I saw the right wing playbook in action. Didn’t I tell you that the Tea Party was going to go all ACORN on the NAACP for daring to ask the Tea Party to clean up the racism in their ranks? Their defense strategy was to scrounge up some (paid) black Tea Party members to make themselves look diverse. And get Sarah Palin to talk about how much she loves her Eskimo relatives for good measure. Never mind that only 2-10% of African-Americans consider themselves conservative or Republican -- which means you know the black membership of regularly racially hostile Tea Parties has to be miniscule indeed. Studies have shown that the Tea Party is overwhelmingly white, older, richer and skews conservative.

The Tea Party’s offense strategy — and we know this from past experience — call the NAACP racist in turn as often as possible and scour the internet in search of videos that lend credence to the assertion that the NAACP as racist.

So Andrew Breitbart played this perfectly. Find someone with insufficient power to defend themselves. Shirley Sherrod doesn’t have a PR team. Edit the tape to paint her as a racist. Watch the White House and NAACP hit the panic button. Then release the rest of the tape to make them look the fool. This is not rocket science people. It’s standard procedure for the radical right. And sadly successful once again due to short-sightedness.Hmm…why does this remind me of the Van Jones debacle where David Axelrod’s freakout meant caving to right wing pressure, handing Glenn Beck an unnecessary victory — creating a media monster in the process.

(pained, exasperated eyeroll)

What a shell game — the White House, the USDA, the NAACP, the mainstream median AND the American people got played. Hard.

Comic timing is critical for telling a great joke. Political timing is all-powerful in the right hands. It can work for…OR against you. The White House has a problem with its timing — much too slow on healthcare reform and the oil spill. And much, much too fast on Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod.

Shirley is one of those quiet heroes from the civil rights era and like Obama, started her career as an organizer:

Shirley’s work began in 1965 as an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Southwest Georgia Project.

She has dedicated her entire life to fighting for better outcomes for Americans. The Prez owes Shirley an apology and should invite her to the White House if it’s shown that she’s innocent of wrongdoing. There are millions of black women around Shirley’s age — who run our schools, hospitals, churches and um…voting precincts — who see how she’s being treated — and it’s gonna leave a bad taste in their mouths. This shouldn’t be swept under the rug. Absolutely not. Cooler heads must prevail and if you’re going to make her a negative example…well, you’ve now got to take the high road, admit you were wrong and give America a positive example of leadership in action.

And that goes double for Ben Jealous and the NAACP since she was their guest as a speaker. Note to the NAACP: like al Qaeda, the radical right ain’t playin’ and prefers long term, secretive strategic planning calculated to do maximum damage. This is just the first in a wave of planned attacks they will be rolling out. I sure hope y’all learned something from this unsavory episode. Lesson 1: get some interns hittin’ YouTube to find anything they might be planning to use against you, issue talking points and recommendations to your city and state leaders and don’t get caught flat-footed again. This is war. Treat it as such.

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