Thursday, July 22

But The View's Nice

Ruth Marcus, "Tom Vilsack's classy apology". July 21

YET another example, where none was needed, that anyone using the term "classy" couldn't get within twenty-five yards of actual class.

I’ve got a pre-existing soft spot for Tom Vilsack,

Sure. He's the ginchiest US Secretary of Agriculture since Clayton Yeutter.
but I thought that was a model apology to the un-fired Shirley Sherrod.

Lemme just ask here if anyone knows exactly when Fucking Life Itself was knocked permanently off its axis.

It was a model of settling on a story and sticking with it. It's not like we needed another.

Y'know, I endured--just barely--eight years of the Reagan administration, and 300-some-odd million of us are enduring the results, and back then no one could get over just how well Ol' Dutch communicated. Of course, he never did an apologizing, and "no one" meant the lapdogs of the Washington press; the Wonder of it All required that you ignore what he was actually saying, and it had to be edited for clarity by someone with a pre-existing soft spot for American Imperialism. So, pass, thanks. It's tough enough finding substance these days, let alone insisting on it.
Apologizing is hard for all of us

Well, BP's been apologizing all fucking summer. David Vitter apologized to Rachael Maddow last week. Joe Wilson apologized. Seems to me apologizin's a piece of cake compared to doing your job correctly and resisting the urge to pop off at any provocation.

If I'd been the one fired from my job by a guy who couldn't be bothered to do his, if my penalty (for doing nothing except be attacked by racists) was loss of my income and a public branding, and his was standing in front of a group of reporters for ten minutes demonstrating his magnanimity, and the apology was being delivered to me, personally, then maybe, maybe his ability to appear sincere would be important to me.

But I'm just a schlub, and Tom Vilsack is the guy Barack Obama tabbed to run the Department of Agriculture. And in that capacity he fired a poor underling simply because she was being targeted by racist assholes like Andrew Breitbart and the racist assholes at FOX. He didn't even bother to look--that's the fucking crux of his wonderful apology--and, of course, he's too important to've spoken to Shirley Sherrod himself, or to've opened her personnel file. So for me apology doesn't cut it, no matter how classy.

That's not to say I don't think he was sincere, or that I don't think he's a good man. It's to say that if you're going to make snap decisions based solely on political considerations you're responsible both for the failure to be diligent and the politics. I didn't really hear much about that part of it at that presser. He's a professional politician. Thousands of rank amateurs in this county heard "released by Andrew Breitbart" or "wall-to-wall on FOX News" and knew immediately that the overwhelming odds were the thing was a sack of shit. He was handed a transcript, of an edited video, and dove in headfirst. If he's held to the same standard as lowly employees, he shouldn't apologize, he should resign (and let the President decide whether to accept). Of course he's not held to the same standard; he's a big shot. They don't resign for mistakes unless doing so is part of the plea bargain. But if he takes "full responsibility" then whomever handed him the transcript and didn't say, "This piece of shit from Breitbart is all over that piece of shit FOX" should be gone. And he ought to be apologizing to everyone who votes Democratic. Compare the Bush/Cheney administration, which didn't even apologize for putting Pentacostal yearlings in charge at Justice, and which, lest we ever forget, got the people it shot in the face to do the apologizing.

How this happened is between Vilsack and Ms Sherrod. Why it happened in the first place is something I'd like to have explained. Y'know, before we all "move forward".


R. Porrofatto said...

Even beyond "Breitbart" and "Fox News" making the horseshit apparent, it was also the now mainstream idea that it's somehow credible that politicians, or other enemies, make such outrageous, insane, career ending statements all the time -- you just have to catch them at it. This has become a commonplace suspicion among the wingnutosphere, and an especially nasty racial component makes it all the more plausible. So no one even asked if was at all believable that an African-American administration official would be proudly boasting about screwing over white people (or as one conservative put it -- Sherrod talked as if doing so was a feather in her cap) to the appreciative glee of a black audience, because it confirms what many people already suspect goes on behind closed doors at NAACP meetings -- it's like an inverted SNL Eddie Murphy routine. And what's particularly appalling here is that the Obama administration's knees jerked in unison with those who find this shit credible by default.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing classy about this. Vilsack showed nothing but poor-judgement and the craveness of a corporate flack, in his knee-jerk decision to fire Ms. Sherrod without bothering to ascertain the full truth first.

No excuse: he should have known better. After all, this video came from the guy who gave us the fake ACORN scandal. So his S.O.P. was known....

No, the class would have been if Vilsack had stood his ground, and waited to ascertain all the facts before making a decision. The pants-shitting in the face of right-wing bullshit is just amazing....

Kathy said...

Yeats, via Alan Grayson, sums it up:

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

Kathy said...

... unless, perhaps "the Best" are Ms. Sherrod & Mr. Grayson.

TM said...

That "soft spot" wouldn't be her head, would it?

Candy said...

Thing is, I lived in Iowa through Vilsack's turns as governor, and while he was never my first primary choice, one thing he was not known for was hasty action. He was always very deliberate. Not to defend him - ffs, anybody who believes anything Andy says is either a numbskull or has been living in a cave somewhere - but it seems quite uncharacteristic. He's taking the blame, but I'd bet somebody higher up in the administration told him to fire her. Not that he should have, even so, without looking into the matter.

DocAmazing said...

Agriculture. That's Earl Butz's old department, right?

Scott C. said...

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

Going by the available photos of Andrew Breitbart, "rough beast" pretty much sums it up. And in a further sinister parallel, I don't think much of his posture, whether he's ankling around the West Bank or not.

D. Sidhe said...

I got nothing here but "Holy shit, exactly."

I wonder if the administration even has someone reading the internet, if "Andrew Breitbart" didn't throw up some serious flags. But even more, why aren't they on the lookout for this shit? The republicans and conservatives and teabaggers have shown every evidence of throwing tantrums over any sentence uttered by someone vaguely connected with the administration, and it's been based on lies often enough that I can't imagine why their immediate reaction to accusations of whatever isn't "Okay, everyone stop and let's ask a couple questions."

It won't take much time, and God knows these people are going to throw a fit no matter what they do anyway. If she had been saying exactly what Breitbart suggested she was saying (and yeah, I'm surprised my keyboard didn't melt from typing that too) and firing her immediately had been the responsible thing to do, does *anyone on earth* think that would have shut up the howling about the tape? So why not take long enough to ask the people involved what actually happened?

This is what I don't get. If you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, isn't the only rational response to do the right thing regardless of the reactions of people who hate you?

For whatever reason, it doesn't seem to be something democrats are capable of learning. And real people suffer for it every day.

heydave said...

I agree with Candy about our ex-guv: someone told him it was you or her and he didn't/couldn't/wouldn't find the will/reason/gumption to resist. Sad.

Rugosa said...

. . . he's a big shot. They don't resign for mistakes unless doing so is part of the plea bargain.

This kind of writing is why I keep coming back to chez Doghouse