There is a certain familiarity about how the Shirley Sherrod incident has played out:
A black official is lashed for perceived racism by a pack of white attack dogs led by Andrew Breitbart, with an ample assist from Fox News, because of remarks she made in a heavily edited videotape.
The unedited tape clearly exonerates the official but the damage is done, in large part because a seemingly helpless mainstream news media is swept up in the tsunami of right-wing offal.
And this time is made worse by a knee-jerk Obama administration that did not have the spine to wait until the entire story was known before it gave the official the hook, then had to backtrack with a series of embarrassing apologies that called into question its competence, and made obvious its quaking fear of Fox.
This is not the first time such a scenario has occurred, let alone the first time that the detestable Breitbart has led what is in effect an electronic lynching.
If there is anything different this time around, it's that some of the most pointed criticism of Breitbart has come from conservatives who insist that Sherrod should be reinstated. She has been offered her old job back, but would be a fool to accept.
Will Bunch has it exactly right when he writes:
"It's hard to say here what is more pathetic about the Obama administration right now: Their rank cowardice or their political stupidity. The politiical stupidity comes from a supposedly change-minded White House worrying so much about the reactions of 15-20 million Beck-Limbaugh-Drudge fans who wouldn't vote for Obama if he rang their doorbell with the severed head of Osama bin Laden in one hand and a federal tax refund for $1 million in the other. Look, the real fight come Election Day is not over them but the less-politically obsessed in the middle -- most of these folks could care less about Shirley Sherrod but they do care whether their commander-in-chief looks strong, or appears weak. And to hijack the old cliche, how will the White House stand up to our real enemies when its knees buckle at the mere mention of Glenn Beck or Andrew Breitbart?"