We've had some back and forths on Glenn Beck, but stories like this give him a soft spot in my heart.
WASHINGTON — A fuzzy video of an Agriculture Department official opened a new front Tuesday in the ongoing war between the left and right over which side is at fault for stoking persistent forces of racism in politics.
Shirley Sherrod, appointed last July to be the USDA's Georgia state director of rural development, was forced to resign after a video surfaced of her March 27 appearance at an NAACP banquet. In a speech, she described an episode in which, while working at a nonprofit 24 years ago, she did not help a white farmer as much as she could have.
Instead, she said, she sent him to one of "his own kind."
The video was posted Monday on the website of conservative activist Andrew Breitbart as a counterattack on the NAACP, which passed a resolution last week accusing the "tea party" movement of having "racist elements."
But for some on the right, Sherrod's comments also reinforced a larger, more sinister narrative: that the administration of the first black man to occupy the White House practices racism in reverse.
The sensitivity to Sherrod's comments, particularly in an agency that has a history of discrimination against minority farmers, was evidenced by the dispatch with which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack ordered her to resign.
Both Vilsack and an official at the Obama White House denied Sherrod's assertion, in an interview on CNN, that her firing had come at the instigation of the White House. The decision, they insisted, was Vilsack's alone.
Vilsack said early today that the USDA will reconsider the ousting of Sherrod and will "conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts."
In Sherrod's account, her firing had been driven more by the exigencies of the news cycle — and the administration's fear of conservative wrath. She said she was "harassed" to quit by USDA Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook, who told her to "do it, because you're going to be on 'Glenn Beck' tonight."
Sherrod added, "The administration was not interested in hearing the truth."
What this story shows is that the Obama Administration is absolutely scared to death of anything that can be perceived as anti-white racism. It's a battle they don't want to fight anywhere or under any circumstances. And they're also afraid of Glenn Beck. If he forces the White House to spend an extra two hours each day watching his show and worrying about its image, giving it less time to think of new "civil rights violators" to go after or work on amnesty, he's doing an invaluable service to this country.