The American Spectator‘s Mistaken History

Monday, July 26th, 2010

As if there already wasen’t enough self-inflicted damage from last week’s Shirley Sherrod affair to go around, The American Spectator manages yet more this morning, posting a shameless, ignorant column by Jeffrey Lord.

Lord insinuates that Sherrod is a liar for using the word “lynch” to describe a 1940s murder in Baker County, Georgia. Bobby Hall, a relative of Sherrod, was beaten to death by sheriff’s deputies who had come to arrest him for stealing a tire. Lord says Sherrod’s characterization of the beating as lynching is dishonest and inflammatory.

It’s possible that Ms. Sherrod simply doesn’t know the truth…

It’s also possible that she knew the truth and chose to embellish it, changing a brutal and fatal beating to a lynching. Anyone who has lived in the American South (as my family once did) and is familiar with American history knows well the dread behind stories of lynch mobs and the Klan. What difference is there between a savage murder by fist and blackjack — and by dangling rope? Obviously, in the practical sense, none. But in the heyday — a very long time — of the Klan, there were frequent (and failed) attempts to pass federal anti-lynching laws. None to pass federal “anti-black jack” or “anti-fisticuffs” laws. Lynching had a peculiar, one is tempted to say grotesque, solitary status as part of the romantic image of the Klan, of the crazed racist. The image stirred by the image of the noosed rope in the hands of a racist lynch mob was, to say the least, frighteningly chilling. Did Ms. Sherrod deliberately concoct this story in search of a piece of that ugly romance to add “glamour” to a family story that is gut-wrenchingly horrendous already?

Again, I have no idea.

There is also a third possibility for what appears to be a straight-out fabrication. Having watched Ms. Sherrod’s speech and read the transcript, I think it’s abundantly clear that she is a liberal or progressive political activist.

Lord also has no idea . . . what he’s talking about. The term lynching refers to a mob execution unsanctioned by law. It’s often associated with hanging, but there are dozens of documented, racially-motivated lynchings in American history that had nothing to do with hanging. (The murder of Emmit Till is probably the most famous example.) Lord is also flat wrong about federal anti-lynching legislation. These bills sought to punish local governments for sanctioning or refusing to prevent all forms of lynching, not just hanging. Here’s the text of the Dwyer bill, the first piece of federal anti-lynching legislation, introduced in 1918:

…the phrase “mob or riotous assemblage,” when used in this act, shall mean an assemblage composed of three or more persons acting in concert for the purpose of depriving any person of his life without authority of law as a punishment for or to prevent the commission of some actual or supposed public offense.

The bill never uses any form of the word hang. The more famous Costigan-Wagner anti-lynching bill also made no distinction about a lynch mob’s chosen method of execution. Had either bill passed, they would have held local law enforcement responsible for failing to prevent extrajudicial mob murders of any kind, including murder by black jacks and fisticuffs.

But Lord isn’t finished. Sherrod mentions in her speech that Hall’s murder made it to the Supreme Court, which overturned the civil rights conviction of Sheriff Claude Screws by a 5-4 vote. Lord next criticizes Sherrod for not telling her audience that one of the justices who overturned the conviction (Hugo Black) was not only a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but also an FDR appointee, New Deal supporter, and a “committed liberal activist,” just like Sherrod. How conniving of her!

It gets even better. Lord also helpfully informs us that….

Hugo Black was, of course, a lawyer. His law partner? That would be a man named Crampton Harris. Mr. Harris was the Klan “Cyclops” of the Birmingham Klavern. Does this weird term ring a recent bell? It should. “Exalted Cyclops” was the Klan post held in a later time in West Virginia — by another prominent future Democratic Senator named Robert Byrd.

It goes on like that. There’s no question that there’s a long, ugly history of racism in the progressive movement, and that today’s left glosses over that history. But it’s more than a little absurd to suggest Sherrod was being dishonest for not drawing all sorts of connections between progressives and racism simply because a New Dealer sat on the Supreme Court that denied her relative justice.

But that is Jeffrey Lord’s charge. So black people, take note. If you’re ever giving a speech in which you recount a racially-motivated injustice, be sure you’re thoroughly familiar with and relay to your audience not only any subsequent legal action related to the case, but also the political affiliations of any and all judges who presided over those legal proceedings, both at trial and on appeal, and whether or not they or any of their business partners (and presumably family members, friends, or golfing buddies) were racist. Also, and most importantly, never, ever, ever talk about any historical racial injustice without also mentioning that the late Sen. Robert Byrd, a Democrat (be sure to mention this part, it’s important!), was once an Exalted Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan.

Anything less would be dishonest.

UPDATE: On The American Spectator’s blog, John Tabin and Phil Klein both take issue with Lord’s article. Good to see. Klein does object that my headline to this post implies that Lord’s article reflects an institutional position at The American Spectator. Though I do think the publication as a whole deserves some scorn for publishing the piece in the first place, Klein’s point is is still well-taken. His and Tabin’s posts show that not all the staff agrees with Lord or with the decision to publish the article.

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106 Responses to “The American Spectator‘s Mistaken History”

  1. #1 |  Rhayader | 

    So basically this dude is a really bad writer.

    Did Ms. Sherrod deliberately concoct this story in search of a piece of that ugly romance to add “glamour” to a family story that is gut-wrenchingly horrendous already?

    Again, I have no idea.

    Ugh. Did Lord write this piece while sniffing glue and surfing for naughty pictures of children? I have no idea.

    The image stirred by the image of the noosed rope…

    OK that’s just funny.

  2. #2 |  Some Guy | 

    I actually thought the author’s definition of ‘lynch’ was correct. But then I did what he failed to do: I looked it up.
    Balko is, of course, right.
    If one is going to write an entire column hinging on the definition of one word, it might be wise to pull out the damn dictionary.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    With his ability to find the absurd in the obvious, maybe Lord is angling to get on the editorial board to rewrite Texas’ history textbooks.

  4. #4 |  qwints | 

    To be fair, Lord seens to be pointing to what the laws were called not what they did. And lynched certainly connotes hanged.

    That said, accusing someone of lying about her family history for political gain is a disgusting reaction. Sherrod had reasons to resent white-dominated culture and whites in general. Her story demonstrates her personal struggle to avoid letting her justified resentment poisoining her ability to emphathize with white farmers facing the same problems as black farmers.

  5. #5 |  PW | 

    This piece is a typical red meat for the base, connect the dots right wing hatchet job. It’s completely silly insofar as that aspect of its message is concerned.

    That said, in watching the entire Sherrod affair play out, I still find her most recent “plight” over the USDA job to be wholly undeserving of the outpouring of sympathy it has gotten.

  6. #6 |  Rhayader | 

    And lynched certainly connotes hanged.

    I think Radley pretty effectively shot that one down. “Lynching” really doesn’t have anything to do with death by hanging specifically, popular misconceptions notwithstanding.

  7. #7 |  SJE | 

    The woman’s relative was killed by a mob because he was black and sassy, and the commentator’s criticism is: etymology?

    Sorry, but this is one of the things that bugs me about too much of the right wing these days. As Radley often says, there is plenty to criticise about the left, but with clowns like this on the right focusing on trivia, I dispair.

  8. #8 |  Mark R. | 

    @Some Guy

    You didn’t write an article for a magazine without bothering to consult any source of information about your topic for fear that you would be proven wrong, and then wouldn’t be able to write your screed.

    When I’m reading a magazine, any magazine, I take it for granted that the writers and the editors have made sure that the words they’ve used mean what they purport them to mean. This is pretty sad.

  9. #9 |  PW | 

    It’s also worth noting that many of the state level anti-lynching laws define lynching as an extra-judicial murder by 3 or more persons. It would seem that three cops fit this description.

    Of course the term is most infamously associated with the Klan. But what most people overlook today, in large part out of misplaced deference to law enforcement, was that in the old days the cops and the Klan were one in the same thing. More specifically, the Klan wasn’t just an organization for random rednecks to join and talk about hating black people. It was essentially a hate-based fraternal society of politically involved “upstanding” members of the local government apparatus, i.e. cops, prosecutors, and judges. And it performed a task not unlike the Fraternal Order of Police or any other cop union does today: keeping its member cops, prosecutors, and judges out of trouble by ensuring any criminal proceeding against them was controlled by their own and quashed.

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    So if Sherrod had just used the good ole’ fashion term of “murder” instead of lynching, am I to believe that Jeff Lord wouldn’t have found some other reason to keep this Sherrod bullshit going in the media?

    “Hold on now! This wasn’t a lynching, it was just murder. C’mon, everyone just needs to simmer down. Let’s not blow this racially motivated crime that ended in someon’es burtal-ass death out of proportion.”

    Only a tremendeous dick would down play a murder by arguing semantics.

  11. #11 |  PW | 

    #7 – according to the story this lady’s relative was not killed by “a mob” but by a group of Ku Klux Kops with badges and nightsticks.

    I suspect that conservative knee-jerk deference to the badge is playing a subconscious role in this guy’s argument that it was not a lynching, as if the fact that the murderers were law enforcement makes it somehow less of a crime. In my mind the exact opposite is true though. The fact that cops did it makes it far more horrible than a random murder in the woods because those cops are SPECIFICALLY tasked with the job of preventing the very same crime they committed.

  12. #12 |  Waste | 

    Actually though the writter gets it wrong, Sherrod’s use of lynch is still incorrect. As Radley points out it refers to the unsanctioned death by a mob. As the case points out however, he was not taken out and beaten by a mob, he was beaten by the police while in their custody. So technically it wasn’t a mob, it was the police. Though I’m sure some here will say police and unruly mob are the same thing.

    I don’t think any of those involved in this affair have covered themselves with glory. That includes Sherrod who may not be racist but certainly seems intent on accusing others of being so. The Administration that jumped the gun and fired her without investigating the incident. The NAACP that disavowed her without an investigation even though they had the entire video and Jealous was present during her speech and should have known the context.

  13. #13 |  J sub D | 

    A show of hands please.

    Who still thinks that Breitbart is anything other than a dishonest right wing hatchet man?

  14. #14 |  Rhayader | 

    @Waste: PW #9 already addressed that — the cops were the Klan in that time and place.

  15. #15 |  Waste | 

    @ Rhayader

    Do you have any evidence the cops in that specific case were members of the Klan? Though it may be likely or even highly likely, that is an assumption on your part and PW’s. As the author of the original article was pointing out, we do know that the Supreme Court justice definately was as was the GA governor. The same ideology that Sherrod supports was the same as supported by those two people.

  16. #16 |  flukebucket | 

    Jealous was present during her speech and should have known the context.

    I have heard that this has been proven to be false.

  17. #17 |  PW | 

    Another thing that’s often overlooked due to the obsessive racialization of American history is that the Klan itself was not exclusively anti-black. They also hated plenty of non-Klan white people, hispanics, and virtually all Catholics. Blacks were their most frequent victims with 3,400 between 1882 and 1968, but there were also 1,300 white people lynched in this same period.

    The parallels to today’s police state are quite disturbing. Like the Klan, cops today do seem to target black people more frequently than the rest. But also like the Klan, practically anybody who is not a cop is a potential victim of their violence.

    Here’s a good book about one of the more infamous Klan murders of a white person. And loosely related here, the attorney who successfully got the murderer off the hook through a Klan-infested courtroom was Hugo Black.

  18. #18 |  Rhayader | 

    No, I have no evidence of anything. I suppose that we could argue whether that incident could be legally defined as a “lynching”, but the colloquial use of the word seems pretty appropriate.

    At the very least, to latch upon the possible misuse of that specific term instead of focusing on the larger context — and to charge people with “embellishing the truth” as a result — seems pretty damn petty and myopic.

  19. #19 |  Z | 

    Robert Byrd is the rights argument for any moment that involves right wing racism

    “But you know, some tea party guys were calling John Lewis a…”
    “Robert Byrd!”
    “Yeah but see, this Breitbart fellow doctored a tape and…”
    “Robert Byrd!”

  20. #20 |  Dave Krueger | 

    As a nation, we are way more civilized than we used to be back in the days of lynching and witch-burning and stuff. We have learned that a nation of laws only need invent various crimes that permit certain unwelcome members of the community to be penned up out in the sticks somewhere. Out of sight, out of mind, you know? We have learned that, as long as you don’t make make martyrs of them, most people don’t give a shit. Hell, you can cart those weirdos off by the thousands under the new plan and most freedom-lovin’ ‘Mer’can folks will be cheerin’ as the cart goes by!

  21. #21 |  Cyto | 

    SJE: the only disagreement I’d have with your comment is limiting it to the right wing. The same stupid game is played by the left – see Kos, Huff-po, MSNBC, etc. Same game, same silly rhetorical tricks, same “my enemy is evil” stupidity. The only difference is the size of the audience for the right-wing purveyors.

  22. #22 |  Waste | 

    @ PW

    You are absolutely correct in that the Klan is not just anti-black. Hence why Klan rallies also attract Neo-Nazi’s and the like.

    @ Z

    There is no evidence that Breitbart doctored the video. He claims he received it in the edited form that he posted. There has been no evidence to contradict this. One other factor is that the video was in posession of the NAACP. Which makes me wonder if his source had access to the video they were likely a NAACP member. So was the source a disgruntled emplyee or something else?

  23. #23 |  PW | 

    In just reading the comments, I continue to be surprised by the degree of “libertarian” sympathy for Sherrod. I agree fully that she was used as a pawn in a racial political ploy that left everyone who touched it covered in slime.

    But beyond that, is she really the type of person we want to make our poster child of somebody who was wronged by the system? As I’ve stated before, I see little reason to sympathize with her at all…or at least not to prioritize her cause with an outpouring of sympathy. She’s a career bureaucrat with the federal government, and appears by all indicator to be one of those types who thinks her job in the bureaucracy is both indispensable and owed to her. Her job there was also a pretty noxious one: helping to guide farmers through the paperwork so they too could take advantage of the federal government’s obscene crop subsidy programs and other “farm protection” measures for unproductive and failed businesses.

    So in all honesty I have to ask: why so much sympathy with her plight?

  24. #24 |  Rhayader | 

    @PW: Yeah she may not be a racist, but she certainly is a redistributionist, statist, protectionist bureaucrat to the core.

  25. #25 |  PW | 

    #19 – I think the right trots out Robert Byrd because of the blatant double standard he displays within the political left. The NAACP and its ilk have made an industry out of screaming “racism” to score cheap political points, including outright fabricated charges of it. In doing so they have poisoned the well of American political discussion with a charge that is meant to be a debate stopper and meant to socially stigmatize its target, whether he deserves it or not.

    And then there’s Robert Byrd, a man with a horrific and incontrovertibly documented past full of racism, hatred, and involvement in causes like the Klan. Yet the left gave him a complete pass on it for the last 50 years.

  26. #26 |  ClassAction | 


    Because people generally, and libertarians included, have a baseline level of sympathy and respect for well-meaning people who happen to be in professions that, in an ideal, libertarian world, would not exist. And when an injustice is perpetrated against them, we can feel free to react honestly to it regardless of whether or not we approve of their profession generally.

    Even though I have major problems with the public education system, I’d feel the same way if a public school teacher was victimized in a similar manner. If a garbage man for a local municipality had suffered a similar abuse, I’d feel free to speak out for him, even if I don’t agree with the monopolization of sanitation services by local governments.

    Intellectual honesty and truth and fair dealing in reporting are virtues that are worthy of defense for their own sake, not simply because the victims are people whose employment we can wholeheartedly agree with.

  27. #27 |  SJE | 

    PW: my criticism of the right’s treatment of Robert Byrd is that they focus on his past racism, which he was man enough to overcome, but ignore his blatant pork. Again, a focus on the less important things. The right looks stupid and mean spirited for focusing on his past failings, and then stupid and corrupt for not hammering him for billions in Federal spending.

  28. #28 |  PW | 

    #27 – I’m not so sure Byrd ever overcame his past racism though. He tempered its public display after his side of the Civil Rights debate was long lost, and at times he offered meaningless and shallow apologies for his past. But the old Robert Byrd shined through from time to time.

    It was as recently as 2001 or 2002 that he dropped the N-bomb repeatedly on national television. A man who has truly overcome past racism generally doesn’t do that sort of thing.

  29. #29 |  Waste | 

    @ Rhayader & PW

    She is definately a marxist and believes in the redistribution. During her speech she said she realized it wasn’t about white vs black but about the poor and such. Though if she has gotten past her racism it appears her husband hasn’t. Watch around the 3:30 mark. And this isn’t from Breitbart.!

    BTW. Her husband was a significant member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and they named their daughter Russia. Which does seem to indicate their political leanings.

  30. #30 |  Joe | 

    I know Sherrod’s father was killed over a dispute over some cows in 1965. The grand jury declined to bring any charges against the white farmer who did it. It seems like a grave injustice.

    That was a turning point for Ms. Sherrod. She named her first daughter Russia and her son Kenyatta. She obviously had a lot of anger at whites and at the United States.

    Now Shirley Sherrod’s husband is demanding the white man and his Uncle Toms stop stealing their election. I have also heard Shirley Sherrod go off on how Obama is half white explain why he does not understand her plight. Yeah, it is good to know the Sherrods have gotten beyond issues of race.

  31. #31 |  PW | 

    #26 – I’m not seeing the analogy to a public school teacher though (or garbageman etc). Yes, we dislike the public school system, but while it is there it has to be staffed by teachers and at least some of those teachers (preferably the better ones) would likely have almost identical jobs in the private sector if the public school system was abolished. Same with the garbageman.

    Not so with Sherrod. There is absolutely no private sector use for her or equivalent of what she currently does, which is hand out welfare checks from the noxious Ag Department’s programs. Not even a charity, which actually has to fundraise for its activities. She also seems to take great pride in her role with the federal government. I’m simply saying that I find that pride unjustified and even offensive, no matter how well meaning she may be, because it is pride obtained by redistributing other people’s coercively extracted money and property. Her moral radar of how that money should be spent and who deserves credit for spending it (i.e. her) is so far askew that it completely negates her good intentions.

  32. #32 |  PW | 

    #29 – Well if what your link says is accurate, then I have no sympathy for Sherrod at all. Her husband looks like a typical NAACP-Jesse Jackson style race-baiting bigot, and it seems her politics aren’t far removed from his. If that’s the case then Breitbart’s only fault is he picked the wrong video to display.

  33. #33 |  Cynical in CA | 

    I’m not sure what your beef is with Jeffrey Lord, or even who Jeffrey Lord is. I never heard of him until this post. Why on Earth you devoted 16 inches of blog space to this guy’s rant is beyond me. He is obviously crazy and it’s better to ignore crazy people.

    And as for Sherrod, Rhyader summed it up nicely. There are no sympathetic characters in this story.

  34. #34 |  Waste | 


    As PW stated, there is no real indication Byrd gave up his views. During his eulogy Clinton stated that he did what he needed to do to get elected to explain his Klan affiliation. The same statement could hold true for his later conversion. As I believe it was Jonah Goldberg stated at NRO at the time of his passing. Byrd was a man willing to compromise his long held beliefs in order to stay in power.

    The reason they focus on this instead of pork is because of the hypocracy. The man was considered the dean of the senate by the Democratic party. Yet he said he would never serve alongside a black man in the armed forces and fillabustered teh Civil Rights act while the Democratic party is suppose to champion equality. That is hypocracy. The party really hasn’t campaigned against pork so there is no hypocracy. Same reason Democrats blast Republicans on sex scandals since Republicans campaign on a family morals platform frequently.

  35. #35 |  flukebucket | 

    they named their daughter Russia.

    I guess Georgia would have made more sense.

  36. #36 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    PW (## 17, 25):

    If an attorney is to be judged by the deeds of his or her clients, then we’re going to get a whole lot of prosecutors elected to other public offices. Lord’s critique of Hugo Black is cartoonish and reflects the same stupidity that drove him to write an entire column about a word he didn’t understand.

    As for the “left” giving Robert Byrd a “complete pass on it for the last 50 years” – what are you talking about? Byrd filibustered the Civil Rights Act, for god’s sake. How was the “left” giving him a complete pass in the 60s when he was still calling for States’ Rights? The reality is that Byrd realized that segregation’s time was over and that he better jump on the Democratic train while he could. After he did so, he wasn’t actively opposed by the “left,” but why should they oppose him? It’s not like West Virginia was (or is) going to elect a Ted Kennedy anytime soon.

    Not to mention that the very essence of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was to turn the Republican party into the go-to place for racists, where it remains today. See, e.g., Lord’s column linked above.

  37. #37 |  ClassAction | 

    #31 PW

    I suspect you are being deliberately obtuse.

    My sympathy for Ms. Sherrod has nothing at all to do with her profession, but what was done to her. As I said, intellectual honesty and truth and fair dealing in reporting are worth defending for their own sake, regardless of the victim.

    The comparison to other public workers was not meant to bolster an argument (in all cases, I think the person’s profession is irrelevant my objection to any body being misrepresented in such a gross fashion). Whether they are apt comparisons is, for the purposes of this discussion, not relevant.

  38. #38 |  PW | 

    #37 – There’s nothing obtuse about it. I’m simply saying that the analogy to teachers and other public professions doesn’t really hold up because most of those professions would still exist in the private sector. Sherrod’s would not. And if you did not intend to make that analogy a part of your argument, why then did you devote the majority of your post to spelling it out as you saw it at the time?

    It’s not something one throws in there just because he feels like it. Rather, I suspect you made an argument that was not very well thought out and now that you realize that you’re trying to spin it as if it wasn’t even an argument at all.

  39. #39 |  PW | 

    #36 – I think you are missing the point of the Byrd discussion. There is no disputing that he lost the Civil Rights Act debate. But that’s not the issue.

    The issue is how the left wing political class gave him a pass for his long history of racism. There was never any drumbeat to get him out of office, never any media-driven outrage at his racist comments, never any public shaming of him over his past in the Klan. If anything, whenever it came up the media would bend over backwards to excuse it with a Clinton-style quip about how he supposedly only joined it for “political expediency” despite the well-documented fact that Byrd wrote several virulently racist letters during his Klan years.

    There’s a clear double standard between the benign embrace of Byrd and how the media treated, say, Trent Lott when he committed a much lesser outrage against politically correct sensibilities, or George Allen for his macaca-moment.

  40. #40 |  PW | 

    Also Ben, regarding the following:

    Not to mention that the very essence of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was to turn the Republican party into the go-to place for racists,

    If Nixon had a so-called “Southern Strategy” that supposedly brought “racists” into the Republican Party, then why did it fail so miserably at the polls? Nixon did not even carry so much as ONE SINGLE COUNTY in the entire states of Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama, and performed very poorly throughout the rest of the South except for Virginia. That’s because the much talked about “Southern Strategy” is a myth.

  41. #41 |  xenia onatopp | 

    Well, yeah, leave it to the The American Spectator to continue to spread the love around.

    To say that Lord was reaching just a little in his pursuit of a new angle on the story is being kind. I guess that tracking down some previously unreported nugget and polishing it til it’s almost as pretty and shiny as a real news story is no job for sissies, but isn’t it customary, even for tough guys, to keep a grain or two of substance on display?

    Because really? Being wrong about the meaning of the word “lynch” is not the issue. The issue is the implication, intended or not, that as long as he wasn’t hanged it doesn’t matter. Even if Lord had passed the vocabulary portion of the test, he’d have failed on logic for arguing that if lynching = hanging then other forms of homicide aren’t so bad, and that the difference between the two categories is so large that a person who equates garden variety murder with lynching cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

    That’s the essence of his argument, at least as I read the article.

  42. #42 |  SJE | 

    My point is that there are abundant reasons to criticize people, but both sides rehash old tropes. The right cries racism. The left goes on about class war. Its ridiculous

  43. #43 |  PogueMahone | 

    PW, as ClassAction has already pointed out, it isn’t about Sherrod, but about what was done to her. Sympathy is irrelevant.

    I don’t know what libertarian community you pay attention to, but from where I stand, I cannot see anyone putting Sherrod on a poster.
    Sure, her work may represent everything that libertarians are against, but that does not give cause for the Breitbarts of the world to attack her the way they did.

    In fact, if Breitbart et al had focused on what her work entailed rather than misrepresenting her “racism”, then not only would we not be condemning Breitbart, but we would be cheering him.


  44. #44 |  Radley Balko | 


    The Southern Strategy wasn’t conceived until after Nixon was in office. And comparing your 1968 map to the county map from 1972, I’d say it worked pretty well.

  45. #45 |  PW | 

    If it’s about what was “done to her” I’m still unsympathetic. Why? Because her “plight” is so far down the list of “wrongs” that people have suffered, and so small relative to others that it’s not worth my time to argue that it be righted. To put it another way, if I were to make a list of all the people in the world with wrongs in need of redress, I’d put her only slightly above Lindsay Lohan.

    I’m also not entirely displeased by the result insofar as it essentially forced the retirement of an entrenched federal bureaucrat. It is also starting to look like she does indeed hold the political views Breitbart attributed to her, meaning he simply used the wrong video.

  46. #46 |  flukebucket | 

    comparing your 1968 map to the county map from 1972, I’d say it worked pretty well.

    George Wallace wasn’t running in 1972 also, too.

  47. #47 |  PW | 

    #44 – It’s difficult to attribute 1972 to any “Southern Strategy” because the Dems recruited a hard left candidate and set themselves up for a landslide defeat nationwide. There’s also reason to believe that had the Dem nomination gone to Wallace in 72 (he was actually leading the primaries when the assassination attempt knocked him out) instead of McGovern, Nixon would have polled much weaker there as the southern states simply reverted to their traditional Democratic base. So yes, Nixon won the South that year. But he also won every single other region of the country…except for Massachusetts.

    There’s also a strong scholarly case that the eventual southern realignment to the Republican Party had very little to do with race and everything to do with a national economic shift away from the unionized rust belt and toward the non-union, new urban south.

  48. #48 |  PW | 

    #46 – The heavy blue of Texas in 68 suggests that the Wallace votes easily could’ve tilted to Humphrey had it been a 2 way race. Humphrey probably even had an edge on Nixon with some popular southern issues such as gun rights.

  49. #49 |  Les | 

    If it’s about what was “done to her” I’m still unsympathetic.

    You don’t have to be sympathetic to her to condemn the lies told about her and the liars who told them. Anyone who doesn’t now ignore Breitbart, who can’t seem to muster the integrity to admit wrongdoing, deserves to be ignored.

  50. #50 |  PW | 

    There’s also the matter of Carter 76, which completely obliterated any of the alleged Nixon conversions of “racists” in 72. Note that the ‘red’ counties signified Dem that year.

  51. #51 |  flukebucket | 


    What do you think turned the majority of Americans against the Republican party?

  52. #52 |  PW | 

    #49 – According to the information in the link at #30, the “lies” about her may not be all that far from the truth of her beliefs after all. But even if we admit she was wronged, it was comparatively minor in the grander scheme of things. If you want someone who was clearly wronged and deserving of our attention and sympathy, try this guy:

  53. #53 |  PW | 

    #51 – George W. Bush.

    And I think Obama will have the same effect for the Dems.

  54. #54 |  Les | 

    #52, you can’t honestly put the word “lies” in quotations, as if they weren’t. I don’t know anything about Sherrod. Maybe she is a racist. Maybe she beats her kids. I don’t know. What I do know, what is obvious to anyone who cares about objectivity, is that a video was shown of her telling a story about not treating white people differently, which was edited to make it sound like she treated white people differently.

    You’re absolutely right that there are much worse injustices occurring every day and your link is a great example of one.

    All I’m saying is that we should all agree to ignore Breitbart in the future, since he’s repeatedly shown himself to be dishonest. This will make it easier to focus on the real injustices, like the one in your link.

  55. #55 |  Waste | 


    As you didn’t state when I’ll assume you meant in ’08 when Obama won. Just because he won the election doesn’t mean it turned the majority of the people against Republicans. Elections tend to be cyclic kind of like the economy. The Republicans lost in ’06 because they were not living up to the ideals they said they promoted such as limited government and fiscal restraint. This turned off their base who was not enthused to go out and vote for them. Nor did the negative war coverage help them either. Ironically many of these same issues are also now working against the Democrats. Personally I think the people are now coming to realize that politicians are first and foremost interested in protecting their own backside and not representing the people that sent them there. The mood is becoming more of an anti-incumbent one than an anti specific party mood. For that I credit the internet and the wealth of information out there which in the past was filtered through the media gatekeepers. People are becoming fed up with business as usual and are seeing it a disease of both parties. The question of course is will it continue or is it a passing fad.

  56. #56 |  MassHole | 

    It’s pretty telling of the posters who are acting as if Sherrod got what she deserved. She was hosed out of her job by a dishonest hack and a spineless bureaucrat. The role of government, her job description or trying to divine her personal beliefs have nothing to do with it. No one should be publicly defamed in this manner. Those of you who see her as “unsympathetic” really need to re-calibrate your sense of decency.

  57. #57 |  PW | 

    If the info in the link from 30 is accurate, then it should be easy to judge whether or not she is racist. The case seems stronger for her husband, but her own comments in the press over the last few days suggest she doesn’t fall far from him politically.

  58. #58 |  flukebucket | 

    All I’m saying is that we should all agree to ignore Breitbart in the future, since he’s repeatedly shown himself to be dishonest.

    Agreed. And as long as he is given a place of honor at Republican gatherings they can kiss my ass.

  59. #59 |  Waste | 


    Yes you do have to use ‘lies’. The Sherrod episode is not, as you describe it, about her not treating whites differently. By her own admission she DID discriminate against the white farmer because of his ethnicity. The story she was attempting to convey is how she overcame her initial racism and realized that it wasn’t about ethnicity but about how she realized it was about class. Later she didn’t care he was white, only that he was poor. She replaced racism with classism.

  60. #60 |  PW | 

    She was hosed out of her job by a dishonest hack and a spineless bureaucrat.

    Funny. That seems to be about the only way these days to get rid of a lousy entrenched federal bureaucrat.

  61. #61 |  MassHole | 

    #60. Do the ends justify the means for you? Sounds like you and Breitbart may have something in common.

  62. #62 |  PW | 

    #61 – Never said they did. But I do find it ironic that it’s about the only way that will get a lazy bureaucrat fired these days.

  63. #63 |  EH | 

    I was going to make a comment, but I make it a policy not to add to the noise when a comment thread gets trashed by being dominated by one person.

  64. #64 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    PW (#60):

    Funny. That seems to be about the only way these days to get rid of a lousy entrenched federal bureaucrat.

    If by “entrenched” you mean “on the job for a year” then I guess you’re right. It sounds to me, though, like Jeffrey Lord’s kind of diction.

  65. #65 |  PW | 

    No Ben. By “entrenched” I mean bureaucrats, which are generally impossible to fire for much of anything related to their actual job performance. The only way they go other than voluntarily is to commit a serious crime on the job or get pressured out for political reasons. With Sherrod it was the latter.

    Also a side question to all here who say we should ignore Breitbart because of this incident: did you ever really take Breitbart seriously before it happened? Or are you just moral posturing against a guy you already disliked long before this happened?

  66. #66 |  PW | 

    Oh, and there’s nothing racist about the Sherrod family. Move along. Nothing to see. /sarc

    “Finally, we must stop the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections. We must not be afraid to vote black. And we must not be afraid to vote a black out who votes against our interests.” – Charles Sherrod

  67. #67 |  Joe | 

    President O’Carter?

    I just got a tingle!

  68. #68 |  Xenocles | 

    “She was hosed out of her job by as a dishonest hack and by a spineless bureaucrat.”

    FIFY. Vilsack was the one who fired her out of fear of Glenn Beck. (Ironically, Beck is probably the first person who acted admirably in this whole thing. Even Van Jones of all people commended him (on the radio this afternoon:

  69. #69 |  Xenocles | 

    Strike tags didn’t take. Should have stricken the first “by” and the “and.”

  70. #70 |  Les | 

    Waste, the reason the lies in the video shouldn’t be qualified is because the video wasn’t purporting to be about a woman who overcame her racist feelings in order to help poor people. It purported to be about a woman who was a racist and treated white people differently than black people. The white people who she helped attested to the fact that the description of the video and the way it was edited was dishonest. So it was a lie, not a “lie.”

    Also, accusing her of classism because her job was to help poor people, is rather silly. Do you expect the organization she worked for to provide assistance to rich farmers as well as poor farmers? If she said somewhere that poor people are inherently superior to rich people, then, sure she’s a classist. But helping poor people financially while not helping rich people financially isn’t evidence of classism.

  71. #71 |  PW | 

    Do you expect the organization she worked for to provide assistance to rich farmers as well as poor farmers?

    Well, seeing as her racist husband still refers to wealthy farms as “plantations,” I’m fairly confident that helping them with much of anything has never even crossed her mind.

  72. #72 |  The Dumbest Article Published by a Major Magazine that I Have Ever Read | Under the Capitol | 

    […] being dishonest by not mentioning all the Democrats who have been racist in the past as well.  Read Balko if you want the full […]

  73. #73 |  Les | 

    Well, seeing as her racist husband still refers to wealthy farms as “plantations,” I’m fairly confident that helping them with much of anything has never even crossed her mind.

    Look, I understand that there exists in some a mysterious, burning desire to label this woman (or at least something about this woman) as a racist.

    It’s not as if anyone who rightly condemns the lying Breitbert believes that black people can’t be racist, because of course they can. But I suspect that people will keep looking, keep hoping for some smoking gun of racism from this woman, if only to stick it to the leftists. It seems they feel that dishonesty is not as bad a trait as leftism. Fans of Michael Moore feel the same way about dishonesty and those on the right.

  74. #74 |  PW | 

    Les – There’s nothing “mysterious” at all, only people like yourself who refuse to look at the evidence because you don’t like what it reveals.

    Charles Sherrod is an outright racist. You can see it for yourself on the video linked above with him ranting about “stopping the white man” and “Uncle Tom” on their “plantations.” The term is particularly ironic to be coming from Sherrod as well, because the only thing resembling a “plantation” near Albany, Georgia where he was an activist was a 6,000 acre mega-farm called New Communities, Inc. that he founded as a racially exclusive farming collective “for Black Americans” – his words.

    In the late 60’s and early 70’s Charles and Shirley Sherrod were also evidently regional directors of SNCC, Stokely Carmichael’s “black power” organization, and both have a long history of activism on the radical fringes of the civil rights movement.

  75. #75 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    PW (#66):

    Oh, and there’s nothing racist about the Sherrod family. Move along. Nothing to see. /sarc

    “Finally, we must stop the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections. We must not be afraid to vote black. And we must not be afraid to vote a black out who votes against our interests.” – Charles Sherrod

    Nice editing job, there, PW. Very Breitbartian. That quote (at about 16:00 into a 26 minute speech) is immediately preceded by his lament: “When will we trust our own? When we we feel responsible to save ourselves?”

    Without a doubt, his speech was an appeal to blacks to assist other blacks economically. As a white American who lived through the 60s, though, I don’t believe that a black man who lived through those same times in the South, who lived to see continued racial disparities on essentially every socioeconomic measurement you can find, should be held to the same color-blind standard that I would hold a white politician. Sorry, that’s the burden of history.

    As for his referring to “wealthy farms” as plantations, spend a minute online researching the Pigford cases before you criticize his comments. From the perspective of black farmers, the USDA’s crop programs’ discrimination against them in many cases led to foreclosures which enabled wealthy (and largely white) corporations to consolidate landholdings. Corporate megafarms fit the definition of “plantation” pretty well, I think (the word has nothing intrinsically to do with slave labor).

  76. #76 |  PW | 

    It also appears that there are some other unflattering aspects of Mr. and Mrs. Sherrod’s background now coming to light. One of them involves their racial collective mega-farm New Communities, Inc., which went belly up in the mid 1980’s. After it failed the Sherrods sued the U.S. government, accusing it of “racism” for refusing to bail the damn thing out with massive federal farm subsidies and loans.

    Well guess what. The government recently reached an out of court settlement with the Sherrods for New Communities, Inc…to the tune of $13 million spread across all the farmers involved, plus individual “pain and suffering” settlements to Mr. and Mrs. Sherrod for $150,000 a piece.

    To all you Sherrod defenders out there, that’s your poster child: a lazy federal bureaucrat with deep ties to the radical “black power” SNCC movement of the late 60’s, a blatantly racist husband who rants about taking the government away from the “white man” and “Uncle Tom,” and a long history of bilking the U.S. taxpayers for “pain and suffering” money to her failed racial collective farm, all achieved by suing the very same federal agency she went to work for.

  77. #77 |  PW | 

    The only “editing” there, Ben, is your own. I posted the whole video for all who wish to listen to it, and in fact listened to it myself. So why don’t you share the context of exactly what he’s talking about when he starts going into “save ourselves.” Hint: he’s on some wacky “black power” trip and he’s urging them to “save ourselves” from – you guessed it – the white man.

    Here’s the full statement, including the context right before your excerpt (about 15:30 on the video).

    “We have ideas, inventions, athletic talent. But our labor and our monies and our contracts usually end up in white folks hands and pockets! When will we trust our own? When we we feel responsible to save ourselves? Finally, we must stop the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections. We must not be afraid to vote black. And we must not be afraid to vote a black out who votes against our interests.”

    As previously noted, Charles Sherrod is a flaming bigoted racist.

  78. #78 |  Les | 

    PW, I’m not defending Sherrod as a person, because I don’t care about her as a person (and I don’t know who she is as a person). I’m simply pointing out that the video that made people know who Sherrod is was dishonestly edited and presented, by a person who has a history of dishonestly presenting dishonestly edited videos.

    Can we at least agree about that?

    This country has its fair share of racists from every background, that’s a fact. But if you think the biggest problem with race in this country comes from people like the Sherrods, then we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

  79. #79 |  Radley Balko | 


    I’m just curious, where exactly would you put black-on-white racism on a master list of America’s problems? You seem to have a pretty devoted fascination with it.

    How many incidents can you name where black cops beat up a white guy because of his race? Where white people were denied the right to vote? (And a couple Black Panthers standing menacingly at the polling place in a nearly all-black district but never threatening or touching anyone doesn’t count.)

    Honestly, the way some people on the right go on about this stuff, you’d think the only racism left is the reverse kind, and that white people are being summarily singled out for beatings, denied service because of their skin color, and wrongly convicted for raping black women. You know, the way it happened with black people for about 95% of our country’s history. Yes, the NAACP is a once-proud organization that, sadly, has become cartoonish. Yes, some white people have had words taken out of context and been wrongly condemned as racists. Yes, Al Sharpton is an idiot. Yes, there have been a couple racially-motivated railroadings in the last several years that victimized white people (the Tawana Brawley case, the Duke lacrosse case). We can name them because there have been so few.

    But a couple things to consider: (1) There is still plenty of the old fashioned sort of racism in many parts of this country. I’ve seen it and reported on it. Hell, I grew up around it. (Not in my family, but certainly in my hometown.) (2) Black people today are only a generation or so removed from Jim Crow, Bull Connor, and Mississippi Burning. And of course, all of that followed about a century of brutality and second-class citizenship, and all of that followed a few centuries of slavery. Frankly, even if institutional racism were completely eradicated today, if there were some still-simmering indignation left over in black folks who witnessed the pre-civil rights era, or even in their kids or grandkids, I wouldn’t blame them. I’d still be miffed, too.

    I’d rather the job Shirley Sherrod was wrongly fired from didn’t exist. And if she or her husband were running for office, I wouldn’t vote for them. But this weird obsession on the right with finding angry black people and blowing them up into bogeymen is really buffoonish. The New Black Panther Party isn’t a threat to you. Honest.

  80. #80 |  PW | 

    Les – As I openly stated the other day, Breitbart left a giant pile of dog crap on the sidewalk with that video. I don’t dispute that in the least. My point is he may have left it there, but the media, Obama, and the rest are the ones who stepped in it. And when they realized they stepped in it they didn’t try to clean it up. No – they started trying to smear it all over each other, which is where we stand today.

    My separate point about Sherrod though is that I see little reason to take up her cause in this mess. Everything I’ve read about her says she’s pretty much a horrible person – entrenched federal bureaucrat, employed to teach people how to bilk the federal farm subsidy programs, expert at bilking those same programs herself, quite literally made herself wealthy by bilking the taxpayers in a lawsuit for more handouts from those programs, and to top it all off she and her husband are aligned politically with a fringe racist “black power” movement belief system.

    I hate to sound callous on this, but sometimes what goes around comes around. This lady has spent a lifetime hoodwinking the taxpayers of this country out of MILLIONS of dollars, most of which she and her racist husband pocketed for themselves. Now somebody hoodwinked the press and Obama at her expense, costing her a cushy job. Yeah, it’s a generally sucky way to lose a job. But I’m not gonna shed a tear for her that she did.

  81. #81 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    PW, I appreciate linking to the whole thing. I listened to it, too, and I didn’t hear a racist, frankly. I heard a deeply frustrated man appealing to his community to help itself.

    As for your characterization of the Pigford case in which the Sherrods were involved: the government’s agreed to massive settlements in those class action suits. I’m sure the settlement agreements deny all wrongdoing, but the US certainly decided it faced substantial risk of even bigger losses at trial over the allegations of racial discrimination in those programs. You can (as Radley suggests) criticize the very existence of those programs, or say that the corporate and white farmer preferential treatment reflects “regulatory capture,” but to say that the Sherrods are freeloaders for bringing the suit or sharing in its compensation pretty much ignores everything else about the suit in the public record.

    This whole Sherrod thing is ginned up by the right. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people would continue to try to keep its fire burning a little bit, because coming up with actual policies and stuff is so much harder.

  82. #82 |  PW | 

    79 – My interest in black-on-white racism is as simple as the double standard it receives in our press and culture, and the poisonous way in which race in general is used to quash political discussion.

    Looking past silly political grandstanding such as the Black Panther thing, it is not difficult to see examples every day where the charge of “racism” is used abusively by the political left to bash, smear, and batter down the opposition over legitimate policy disagreements on the proper size and scope of government. The healthcare debate offered many examples, the most famous being the claim by the Congressional Black Caucus members that protesters on capitol hill were dropping the N-bomb as they walked through. The press picked it up and ran with it despite absolutely ZERO corroborating video and a good reason to believe that it was a stunt by the CBC itself to tarnish the healthcare opposition. It isn’t hard to find examples of that sort of nonsense around practically any major political issue today. Oppose socialized healthcare? Racist! Want tax cuts? Racist! Oppose Sotomayor for the court? Racist! Oppose practically anything Obama does? Racist! It’s a charge that gets thrown around frequently, and in a reckless, abusive manner in this country. The result is almost always to poison honest political discussion.

    Hell, libertarians of all people should be especially mindful of the use and abuse of the race card to smear political opponents. The Southern Poverty Law Center has practically made a cottage industry out of promoting fanciful conspiracy theories wherein anyone who opposes taxes, big government, or the police state simply must be a secret neo-nazi KKK type, leading to defamatory “intelligence reports” about libertarianism “midwifing the militia movement” and spawning the next McVeigh.

    The problem I have with so-called “reverse racism” is NOT its numerical prevalence. I don’t believe I’ve ever suggested that “reverse racism” in and of itself is some plague at the top of the list of policy problems in America. I do believe that it is more prevalent than most of the media cares to admit for the reason that they usually give its practitioners a pass, ala Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson. But it is far from the most pressing issue in America today.

    Rather, my issue with “reverse racism” stems from the fact that its most frequent practitioners are usually the very same people who shriek false charges of “racism” at their political opponents in the way I just described. It’s the Jesse Jacksons, the Al Sharptons, the Louis Farrakhans, the Morris Dees and SPLC types, the Julian Bonds, and so forth that are almost always spreading the poison of the race card to smear and shame opposition to their political positions on wholly unrelated issues with no reasonable racial component whatsoever. And yet when you look at each and every one of them, they’re all flaming bigots themselves.

  83. #83 |  Elemenope | 

    Everything I’ve read about her says she’s pretty much a horrible person – entrenched federal bureaucrat, employed to teach people how to bilk the federal farm subsidy programs, expert at bilking those same programs herself, quite literally made herself wealthy by bilking the taxpayers in a lawsuit for more handouts from those programs, and to top it all off she and her husband are aligned politically with a fringe racist “black power” movement belief system.

    Your standard for “horrible person” is that they don’t agree with your ideas of how things should run and instead hold other ideas you don’t like? And then (shudder!) act upon them?

    Add yourself to the list of people who have, as you say, stepped in it.

  84. #84 |  PW | 

    81 – Re. Pigford, that’s how the judicial system sadly operates these days.

    Lawyers move in, make high dollar demands far in excess of their wildest dreams for the case, drag the damn thing out for years (or decades) to wear down the opposition, and then agree to a comparatively “reasonable” settlement for a lesser amount where both parties can leave admitting no fault but transferring large payouts to the plaintiff nonetheless. The goal of those kinds of suits is never to win – it’s to make fighting the suit itself more costly and burdensome on the accused than simply acquiescing to some of the demands, whether they have any merit or not. It’s classic cost imposition warfare played out in the courtroom.

    The problem with cases like Pigford is that they are set up from the outset to bilk the taxpayers, while the culpable party (if there even is any) gets off the hook completely.

    Did the USDA give out a bunch of crop welfare to white farmers who succeeded in gaming the system in the 1980’s? Knowing how the farm subsidy game works, I’m guessing that they probably did. In doing so did they adopt a policy to intentionally screw black farmers out of similar crop welfare on account of their race? I’m guessing probably not. But we the taxpayers are having to pay out as if they had anyway, and it’s resulting in multi-million dollar settlements to people who did absolutely nothing to earn that money by an honest means. Why? Because the lawyers and their welfare scam artist clients like Sherrod know how the game is played.

  85. #85 |  PW | 

    83 – My standard for “horrible person” is anyone who thinks its okay to bilk the taxpayers out of millions of dollars and becomes rich off of a scam lawsuit premised on the claim that they simply “deserve” their share of the federal farm welfare system, despite not doing a single day of honest work to earn it. Shirley Sherrod and her husband, evidently, did just that.

  86. #86 |  Elemenope | 

    So…in review, you think a person is horrible if:

    1. they hold a job you don’t think should exist because of an ideological commitment you hold
    2. they hold beliefs you believe to be radical in the wrong direction
    3. they believe they are entitled by law to something you don’t believe they are entitled to

    Quite an unorthodox and, dare I say, poorly predictive set of screening criteria for “horribleness”.

    For me, I find a more effective tripartite criteria to be something like:

    1. they are dicks to people that either are less powerful than them and/or are under their direct control or both
    2. they are unnecessarily abrasive or rude
    3. they have committed or clearly plan to commit acts which would harm others either out of malice or reckless disregard

  87. #87 |  PW | 

    #86 –

    Under your very own criteria, it would be inappropriate to deem somebody a “horrible person” for:

    1. Working as a pimp, an unscrupulous loan shark, a con-artist, or a drug lord (they simply hold jobs that you don’t think should exist for ideological reasons)

    2. Being a racist hate mongering bigot (they simply hold a belief that you believe to be radical and in the wrong direction)

    3. abusing unemployment handouts and the welfare system to avoid having to find a job (they simply believe they are entitled to something by law)

    I think most reasonable people would agree that all three examples are pretty horrible. Perhaps you don’t. Oh well, to each his own I guess.

  88. #88 |  Elemenope | 

    Didn’t say it was an exhaustive criteria. Just one that was better than yours.

    FWIW, all the counterexamples you posit require some harmful act to really become “horrible”, and hence are covered completely by my criteria:

    1. A pimp who beats prostitutes and strings them out on drugs is a horrible person; a pimp who simply screens clients for their “escort service” isn’t necessarily horrible. A loan shark is merely a creditor providing a service until he threatens or exacts bodily harm from a debtor. Drug “lords” run the gamut from neighborhood weed peddler all the way up to mafioso.

    2. Having racist impulses in some direction or other is nearly unavoidable as humans naturally put people and things into categories in order to organize the world around them; it is acting on those illegitimate categories by speech or deed that makes a person “horrible”.

    3. Your bullet point the third is just stupid. Even if we were to grant that this is a measurable problem (and it almost certainly isn’t; the negative incentive for work from welfare is nearly non-existent in real terms), the idea that a desperate person would manipulate a system they have access to in order to survive is hardly loathsome.

  89. #89 |  PW | 

    88 – I have to admit that I am somewhat baffled by your line of argument. I don’t believe I ever proposed a “general theory” of what constitutes horribleness, though I see you have not hesitated to invent one and assign it to me.

    In fact, upon reviewing my posts, I see that I did nothing more than list specific PARTICULAR traits of Sherrod that qualify her for horribleness, though nothing even remotely resembling a set of rules of what those traits may be.

    It is thus a good time for me to point out that when you state you offered a set of criteria “that was better than [mine]” you are in error, as such a statement would first require me to offer a set of my own criteria, which I have not yet done, and may not do now anyway, if only to deprive you of a means to continue a line of discussion that I have found to be rather silly since you initiated it.

  90. #90 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    Since my screen name is that of a person of color, I am uniquely qualified to pontificize and philosiphize on Radley’s blog post.

    Lord’s article: RACIST!!!
    Andrew Breitbart: RACIST!!!
    Those who criticize Obama: RACIST!!!
    Any white person who dares to disagree with me: RACIST!!!

    Oh, and ain’t nobody better give me no negative karma, or you too are,
    … wait for it …

  91. #91 |  Val Parker | 

    So let me get this right, some guy at a magazine nobody reads writes a stupid article that is loose with historical facts, and that absolves Sherrod and her husband of being lifetime race hustlers? I have a brother that was killed in a violent crime when he was young, does that entiltle me to a lifetime of hate? Does it entitle me to a government job or entitle me to sue the government so I never have to work again? No, I have to eat it just like all the other people in life that get dealt a bad hand. I’m glad that racially motivated hangings don’t happen anymore, and Mrs. Sherrod and her husband should be on guard against someone wanting to hang them, but why should we absolve them of committing the same racism they rail against?

  92. #92 |  Elemenope | 


    By all means, forward an explicit criteria that produces those specific results. I’m sure they’ll be much better than the ones your comments seemingly implied.

    For my part, when someone opines how horrible someone is that they’ve never met and are not likely to meet, on what seems to be merely on the strength of ideological disagreement and some auxiliary whining about welfare, I take ’em to task. If you think I’ve maligned you then by all means clarify, but from where I sit you seem to have a fixation on not liking this person you’ve never met for pretty silly reasons, and using that as an excuse to deflect from why this whole video kerfuffle is itself quite horrible (because of which, among other things, a person unjustly lost their job).

  93. #93 |  Val Parker | 

    @44 Yeah that Southern stratigy was awesome and no doubt threw an otherwise tight 1972 election to Nixon. Wrong, the southern stratigy was the excuse liberals used after the most lopsided electoral landside in history because McGovern was an honest to god liberal, (didn’t pretend to be a libertarian). Did Nixon also have a Northern strategy because he won all those states also? Did he have a Hawaii strategy, he won that state too? I think you will see an election similar to 1980 in 2012. In 1980, not even a Koch funded left-libertarian could derail the express that was Ronald Regan.

  94. #94 |  PW | 

    #92 – Your entire approach to this discussion has consisted of little more than obscuring the particulars of Sherrod’s behavior with an artificial and largely contrived attempt to generalize them, and subsequently applying that generalization against a strawman of your own construction that you substituted for the opposition.

    That is also why I declined to play. If it makes you feel better about yourself to declare victory over that scarecrow and insist you “took it to task,” it doesn’t so much as bother me as it does amuse me.

    It still remains that Sherrod appears to have gotten personally wealthy through no actual work or earnings of her own, but rather by suing the government for a “wrong” she claims she incurred and therefore expects the taxpayers to compensate her for. It also appears that her claimed “wrong” was not any actual economic loss to herself through an act of the government, but rather because she believed that she deserved more unearned gains from the government than she received because she believed a farmer of a different race had also gotten those unearned gains. Chalk that up to “ideology” all you like, but most sensible people would call that what it is: scamming the welfare system. And it makes her a pretty horrible human being.

  95. #95 |  xenia onatopp | 

    Those of PW’s posts that I read earlier today have been eating at the back of my mind all day. It has long been my habit in most forums to avoid getting in the middle of any prolonged back and forth stuff, so I avoided the pissing contest, posted my first reaction to Lord’s article, and left. Hours later, I came back and sat down to get caught up on this thread, and realized that while the same poster was still repeating the same mind numbing and off-point drivel, nobody had confronted him about the specific things that were bugging me, so I started to type and response.

    A few sentences in I decided it might be best to walk away from temptation and get a little fresh air before going any further. Another few hours later I’m back from walking the dog, and it appears I made the right choice;
    while I was cooling off, Radley stepped in, succinctly and effectively covering the very the same things I’d been stewing about. Thanks for that, dude. It’s always nice to see somebody else say what I’m thinking, nicer still when they save me some time by saying it better than I would have.

    In order to avoid what’s shaping up to be a 100% content free post, I will just make the general observation that many on the right have recently seemed unusually driven to find instances of black racism, and some of what is being thrown out there is just vile. Whatever my opinion of the NAACP’s stands on various issues, I’m beyond tired of hearing how its very name, its very existence, is clearly a manifestation of anti-white racism. Are you fucking kidding me, people? Can we please consider the time and place in which the organization was founded, and perhaps agree on two things:
    1. “Colored” was the word of choice at the time, and while it has fallen out of favor since, the NAACP retains its original name,due no doubt in part to stress the organization’s history and continuity. None of that makes it hilarious for white people to use the word “colored” or to make moronic observations about how hard it is to understand why “they” get upset hearing you say the word, etc. Use whatever words you like, just stop pretending your intent is anything other than small minded provocation.

    2. At the time the NAACP was founded black peoples’ lot in this country was in dire need of advancement, so the name is entirely and properly descriptive. It did not then, and does not now, mean “advancing at the expense of white people” or “kill whitey” or “we’re better than you.” So again, say anything you want, but you aren’t being honest or original by asserting that the NAACP is proof of black racism, you’re being a douchenozzle. In the unlikely event that you actually believe that, you’re probably too stupid to be left unattended with a computer. In the same vein, the faux-naive questions about well, “they” would say you were racist if you called yourself the NAAWP? For once, I agree, but only because it WOULD be racist. Context matters, remember? White people as a group are not in the position that blacks were in in 1909.

    Sorry, but I’ve been hearing this same stupid shit for 25 or 30 years, maybe longer, and I’m tired of it, and also tired of how lately even libertarian boards are full of people ready to tar and feather anybody who asserts that white-on-black racism is still a fact of life in parts of the US. That is not the same calling people racists. It is not a refutation of libertarianism. It’s just me stating the obvious.

  96. #96 |  PW | 

    93 – The “southern strategy” was little more than the musings of a couple Nixon campaign consultants, bolstered as you say by a heavy dose of McGovernick disbelief at their loss via post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    There really was no meat to it at all. The south had been naturally realigning for decades already, and for many reasons other than race. One could make a reasonable argument that the first cracks in the solid south “New Deal Coalition” began to show way back in 1940 when FDR sought a third term and shunned his conservative southern Veep John Nance Garner for the far left socialist Henry Wallace. Sure, it didn’t throw electoral votes to the Republicans and WWII obscured most domestic policy issues at the time, but the south was nowhere near as comfortable with the FDR Democrat guard as it had been before Garner left. The cracks grew larger in every subsequent election. The Texas Regular movement in 44. The Dixiecrats in 48. The Eisenhower Democrats in 56. Sometimes it was racial as with the Dixiecrats. Other times it was anything but, as with Eisenhower – hardly a champion of segregation. A constant underlying theme though was the south’s regional conservatism juxtaposed against a growing federal government and coupled with a large southward economic shift away from the union-choked rust belt. The old guard racists lingered for a while and the Civil Rights turmoil of the 60’s is better interpreted as their dying final hurrah than their peak as is often the case, but time and economic growth eventually overtook them too.

  97. #97 |  PW | 

    #95 – Your two particular points about the NAACP’s name and founding are well taken. But since your post was at least in part directed at me, might I ask exactly where I ever argued the points you were countering in either of them?

    Thank you.

  98. #98 |  xenia onatopp | 

    #97– Neither of those points were directed at you, and I’m sorry if you took it that way. I meant what I said, that Radley’s post had covered everything I’d wanted to say in response to you. The rest of it is in response to a whole lot of stuff I’ve been hearing from way too many people lately that’s tangentially related to the Breitbart/Sherrod/every-fucking-body else mess, not to anything you’ve said.

  99. #99 |  André Kenji | 

    In fact, it´s more complicated. In most rural areas of the South, the right kind of Democrat(A less liberal and more rural kinda of guy like Clinton or Carter) can easily win. Almost all of the Southern Blue Dogs come from those rural areas. The problem is that the influx of Northern immigrants and the breakdown with evangelicals(In grand part because of abortion) pushed most of the South to the Republican columm. States less affected by these factors(West Virginia and Arkansas) are pretty Democratic at state level.

    The point of “Black Racism” provides a good discussion, specially because it´s bad for *Blacks*. Isolating Blacks from Middle Class Whites is very bad for Blacks. But people like PW and Breitbart aren´t worried about that, but only about using the so called Black Racism to justify their own racism.

  100. #100 |  PW | 

    Andre – since you’ve dropped the R-bomb yourself now, a few questions

    1. Are you denying that black people are capable of racism? If not, do you believe that societal norms, the political system, and the media should condone, accept, or tolerate black racism?

    2. Do you believe that the pervasive and abusive use of the “race card” in our political system is constructive to the open and meaningful discussion of policy? If so, what is gained from it? And if not, why do you yourself indulge it?

    3. In what sense are blacks “separated” from middle class whites in today’s society, save for their overwhelmingly monolithic affiliation with the Democratic Party?

  101. #101 |  Jeremy | 

    Yeah, “The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack”, because everyone who has a problem with Lord’s article or a phony, opportunistic, lying piece of puke like Breitbart is an Obama-loving leftist playing the race card, right?

  102. #102 |  André Kenji | 

    “1. Are you denying that black people are capable of racism? If not, do you believe that societal norms, the political system, and the media should condone, accept, or tolerate black racism?”

    No one denies that blacks are capable of racism. I´m just pointing out that saying that Blacks are racist when someone points out to racism from white is at best childish.

    “2. Do you believe that the pervasive and abusive use of the “race card” in our political system is constructive to the open and meaningful discussion of policy? If so, what is gained from it? And if not, why do you yourself indulge it?”

    I did not use the race card. I just pointed out that usually racists that points out to racism of other people when they are pointed about racism of their own ethnic group. Go to a White Suprematist forum: they will inevitably talk about Black or Jewish racism.

    “3. In what sense are blacks “separated” from middle class whites in today’s society, save for their overwhelmingly monolithic affiliation with the Democratic Party?”

    There are whole cities in the United States with almost no whites or Hispanics, only Blacks. Compare that to countries in Latin American with high Black population. There is no “Black Belt” in Brazil. There is not even a separated accent for Blacks. Almost all of the Blacks here in Brazil that I know are married to white people.

    Saying to Blacks that they should be proud about being black, creating TV channels for Blacks, etc only creates ghettos. Blacks should forget that they are Blacks.

  103. #103 |  PW | 


    “No one denies that blacks are capable of racism.”

    If that is the case, then do you believe that societal norms, the political system, and the media should condone, accept, or tolerate black racism?

    “I did not use the race card.”

    If you believe that to be so, then why did you enter this discussion by making an unsupported accusation of racism? That would certainly qualify as the use of the race card.

    “Saying to Blacks that they should be proud about being black, creating TV channels for Blacks, etc only creates ghettos.”

    An entirely valid point. Yet as Sherrod’s husband and many others around here illustrate, suggesting that is also something that is likely to get you branded…well…a racist.

  104. #104 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    Jeffrey Lord strikes again with the stupid:

    I have read the Court’s decision. Three people are not a “mob.” A mob is defined as a “large crowd.” So there was no “mob action” because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted “under color of law.” Which means they had legal authority.

    “Color of law” means that Hall’s lynchers held themselves out as having lawful authority for their actions, when in fact they did not. How stupid does Lord have to be to misuse a term like this after being ridiculed for misusing vocabulary?

  105. #105 |  flukebucket | 

    Boo Radley Has a kind of ring to it.

  106. #106 |  July 28 roundup | 

    […] views of Sherrod fiasco [Rick Esenberg, Radley Balko, John […]