Quick Hits

 Here are some other items making news today.

Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA official in charge of rural development in Georgia, will sue Andrew Breitbart who edited her remarks at a NAACP Freedom Fund dinner to appear as if she were making racist remarks when in fact the opposite was true. Mrs. Sherrod made the announcement Thursday in San Diego at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention. More from USA Today.

Ian Welsh wrote earlier this week on the divide he witnessed at Netroots Nation. On the one hand, "about half the people there are some combination of angry, disappointed and bitter with Democrats in general and Obama in particular" and there are those "folks who would characterize themselves, in general, as hard nosed pragmatists and 'realists'." Today, Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic castigates those who talk "about disappointment and disillusionment" in an article entitled The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy.

The Miami Herald has published a poll from Quinnipiac University showing millionaire outsiders in their first run for office besting established career politicians in both the GOP Governor primary and in the Democratic Senate primary.

Republican Rick Scott holds an 11 percentage-point lead over Attorney General Bill McCollum in the GOP race for governor, a Quinnipiac University poll finds.

In the main statewide race for Democrats -- the U.S. Senate contest -- Jeff Greene is beating U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek by 10 percentage points, the poll shows.

Neither Greene nor Scott have held elected office before. McCollum has held or run for office for the past 30 years. Meek has been in Congress and the Legislature for more than a decade.

Both political newcomers have relied on a simple formula to best their rivals: Spend millions on television ads and watch your poll numbers rise. Greene has outspent Meek by an estimated $6 million. Scott has poured an estimated $30 million into his race, doubling what McCollum has spent. ``Money matters. You can go from nobody knowing you to becoming a front-runner if you spend enough,'' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. ``That's not to say it's only money,'' Brown added. ``The messages that Scott and Greene have been able to send to voters through record television ad spending have been effective.'' But Brown cautions that ``anything can happen'' leading up to the Aug. 24 primary. Voters haven't completely made up their minds. And many don't know for whom they'll vote.

In the Democratic Senate race, more than a third of likely voters are undecided. And a majority -- 54 percent -- say they might change their minds.

In the Republican governor's race, 23 percent of likely voters are undecided; 43 percent say they might change their minds; 55 percent say their minds are made up.

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina announced Wednesday night that he is considering introducing a constitutional amendment that would change existing law to no longer grant citizenship to the children of immigrants born in the United States. The full story from Politico.

Samuel and Charles Wyly , two billionaire brothers from Dallas who founded Sterling Software and who are large donors to conservative causes, were charged by the SEC with conducting an extensive securities fraud including insider trading. The story in the New York Times.

When the Sanest Person is Glenn Beck . . .

The crew at the Huffington Post have put together this video clip showing how Fox News covered the Andrew Breitbart video lynching of Shirley Sherrod. Only Shepard Smith refused to air the video which has now put him in the firing line of the most notorious race baiter of them all, Rush Limbaugh. That story from Politico.

Picking up Breitbart’s defense of the video, Limbaugh argued that it was “not about Shirley Sherrod” but rather the NAACP’s recent accusation that the tea party is racist.

“This is about the continuing smearing of great patriotic Americans, which is all the left has left to do,” Limbaugh declared. “There's no racism in the tea party. They don't have racist signs.”

The conservative radio host also said that Smith and much of the rest of the media establishment were missing what the Sherrod story really revealed about the state of race relations during Barack Obama’s presidency.

“This regime is tribalizing this country,” he said. “They are dividing this country. It's not just enough to say that they are dividing us. They are tribalizing this country. We aren't Americans anymore. We're all members of different racial tribes, and we are to be pitted against each other: Black Americans, White Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans. We're all being divided up racially, by tribes.”

Media Matter for America also compiled a timeline of the Sherrod affair.

Why Does Fox News Have More Power Than Any Progressive in the Country?

As we can all see now, when Fox says jump, the Obama administration asks how high? (Then jumps one inch less and considers it a progressive victory). Is there anyone Obama won't fire or throw under the bus if Fox asks him to? What if they ask Obama to fire himself? Would he do it? Or would he just fire Biden and say he met them halfway?

If the firing of Shirley Sherrod was the first time they had done this, then all of the criticism they have received might be a bit much. But as we have learned from this incident (which the rest of us already knew, with the apparent exception of Fox News and Andrew Breitbart), context matters. We've seen the rest of the tape on the Obama administration and it isn't pretty.

Van Jones, ACORN, Dawn Johnsen, Shirley Sherrod. First sign of trouble, throw someone overboard. When they fired Van Jones, I said they were only encouraging Fox. But that wasn't some genius prediction; it was only the most obvious thing in the world. Do you think the bully won't take your lunch money tomorrow if you give it to him today?

Since this seems so obvious, why can't the supposedly brilliant guys in the Obama administration figure it out? Why can't they see it's such a bad idea to keep giving in to Fox and bowing their heads? It's so bad now, they're bragging about their efficiency in genuflecting. Jim Messina, Deputy Chief of Staff,congratulated everyone the day after Sherrod was fired about the speed and agility with which they serviced Fox News. So, what's the strategy behind what appears to be pathetic cowardice to the rest of us?

The idea is that Fox News is more important than any progressive leader or commentator (or even the majority opinion of progressives throughout the country, as evidenced by polls) because liberals have nowhere to go. So, that's why you can abuse them, ignore them and even treat them with disdain -- and they'll still vote for you. What are they going to do -- vote for Republicans?

That's why Rahm Emanuel can call them "fucking retarded" and derisively dismiss them on almost every issue. They think there's no price to pay. Whereas, if they cross Fox, all of Washington will be talking about it. And they're obsessed with the Washington chatter. And they are under the grossly mistaken impression that the country gives a shit about what Fox says.

In Washington, Fox News is very important and you get judged by how quickly you handle the media maelstroms they create. That's viewed as a barometer of how well you handle "bad news cycles." So, the rest of the Washington press corps judges you by how quickly you drop to your knees to end the "bad news cycle." Congratulations Obama administration, you're now professionals!

But even more importantly, there is this insane belief that Fox News can swing centrists, which are the critical voters who decide elections. There is not a shred of evidence to that. In fact, the evidence shows that there is no audience in the country that is more deeply conservative and politically immovable.

Plus, the average age of Bill O'Reilly's audience is 71 years old. The guy is doing a show out of a senior citizen's center and Obama thinks he rules the world.

The only real damage that Fox can do is if they spread their poison to other news stations. That is why it's so imperative to label them what they are -- a conservative propaganda station (not that there's anything wrong with that). They're just not news. And they couldn't have proved it any better than they did in this case. And what did the Obama administration do with this golden opportunity? They turned it into a massive loss. Who is fucking retarded now?

But the more important miscalculation is that liberals have nowhere to go. They do have somewhere to go -- home. They can sit on their couch on election day, which according to the polling is exactly what they're going to do. When a Bloomberg poll (pdf, Page 7) asked all voters which party they favored, it was a tie. When they asked likely voters, Republicans were up by eight points. Who's fucking retarded now?

It's high time that we stop giving the Obama administration credit for being some sort of genius tacticians. Maybe it was all David Plouffe. But one thing is for sure, they seem to have no idea what they're doing politically and Fox News is handing them their ass on a daily basis. Glenn Beck came on after the Sherrod story became fully known and said that Obama shouldn't have fired her. Don't you get it, you feckless clowns, they're going to criticize you no matter what you do? You cannot appease them. You must isolate and delegitimize them.

I understand the Obama team is playing the old Washington games and think they're very clever at it. But those games don't work anymore. Bad news cycles are not created by genuine mistakes anymore, they're artificially created by Fox News channel. You can't make them go away by giving into them. You're just feeding the beast. And more importantly, you're starving your own side.

It isn't about fighting Fox News to make yourself feel better. It's about ignoring their silly attacks so you can actually bring us the progressive change you promised. Otherwise, we would be retarded to come and vote for you again.

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Paul Hodes to progressives: Stop Cowering!

I was thinking about writing a post about how the left never stands together when attacked the way the right does. See Jones, Van. No need for that piece now - Senate candidate Paul Hodes (D-NH) beat me to the punch with an amazing diary at Daily Kos called "Weak Knees." Hodes doesn't call out the White House specifically, but he does mention Shirley Sherrod, so take this as a thinly veiled swipe at Tom Vilsack and the Adminstration for being the ones to "buckle." Here's an excerpt, and please, read the whole thing and support Hodes at our ActBlue page.

I’m sick and tired of Democrats getting weak knees every time the right-wing media flexes their muscles.

The firing of Sherrod over what turned out to be a heavily (and deceptively) edited video of her remarks is the latest example. When the far right bulldozes, too many of us buckle...

We have no excuse for not fully understanding what the far-right is capable of in terms of hateful and deceitful rhetoric. From Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh to Andrew Breitbart – they’ve shown us time and again exactly how willing they are to distort the truth...

The bottom line is that the longer we let the right-wing media control our political rhetoric by spreading misinformation, the more we fail to deliver the change we promised and fight for our progressive ideals.

And every time we respond to their attacks with weak knees and cowering in the corner, we give them credibility. Even worse – we encourage them to keep it up.

It's also at Huffington Post.

A Full Set of Facts

It is pretty clear that in the Shirley Sherrod case the Obama Administration acted precipitously without a full set of facts at their disposal. The question left in my mind and shared by others is why the Administration won't draw a line in the sand and stand up to the right wing noise machine. It is especially troubling since the Obama Administration had previously noted that Fox News was not just a news outlet but all too often acted as a propagandizing agent for the deranged right. So it is disturbing that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his deputy Cheryl Cook, an undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture, acted in the way that they did. Mrs. Sherrod said White House officials wanted her to quit immediately because the controversy was "going to be on Glenn Beck tonight." In truth, it was the USDA acting on its own and ironically Glenn Beck was among those who felt that Mrs. Sherrod shouldn't have been fired. Nonetheless, an Administration living in fear of what Glenn Beck or what Fox News may say is not a good thing.

Today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued an apology, "on behalf of this entire administration" to Shirley Sherrod. He also said Secretary Tom Vilsack was trying to reach her to extend an apology. More on this from MSNBC.

Mrs. Sherrod, for her part, has accepted the apology but noted that she's not sure if she wants her job even if it is offered again. That would be a crying shame for someone with such commitment to the poor is precisely the type of civil servant that we so desperately need.

Diaries

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