The Shirley Sherrod debacle shows that Barack Obama's White House pays a great deal of attention to Fox News and the right wing blogosphere. They refer to it as "the atmosphere," as though the right wing were a force of nature that can only be dealt with by panic and immediate surrender.
Many have suggested that President Obama ignore the right wing, but we all know that telling someone not to think of a red elephant only makes them think of it right away. The human brain abhors a vacuum. We need to focus on something.
The reason President Obama focuses on the right is because he's ignored the left since the day after the election, and if he wants to save his presidency, that needs to change.
In fact, the only times that President Obama and his gang o' hacks haven't ignored the left is when they've blown off steam by actually attacking progressives. Who called MoveOn.org "fucking retarded"? Was it Andrew Breitbart? Glenn Beck? Mel Gibson? Of course not -- it was Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel's outburst was right in line with the path the Obama administration has taken from the beginning -- side with Big Business in the hopes of building the Democratic war chest through corporate donations. Every watered-down, ginned-up company-approved bit of major legislation that has oozed through Congress and on to the president's desk has helped bail out corporate America at the expense of the middle class.
Meanwhile, the base on the left continues to talk about things like a fair economy, the environment and ending wars that we can't win. The President has hidden behind his bully pulpit on these issues, unwilling to stand for anything that doesn't fit the script Rahm Inc. has written for him.
So we're left with a president who has almost no choice but to focus on Fox News. When you abandon your friends, all you're left with are enemies.
Should the president cower at the likes of lightweights like Bill O'Reilly or Sarah Palin? Of course not, but what we need is positive action. Obama needs to do what we elected him to do -- stand and fight with heroes like Shirley Sherrod, Elizabeth Warren and Daniel Choi.
Consider the quiet bravery of just those three people; Sherrod, Warren and Choi. They have stood up for values that America has struggled with since its inception like justice, fair play and equality. Then ask yourself why President Obama isn't in their corner. He could be, he should be and he is not. Think of that.
There's still time to change the course of Obama's squandered presidency, but it will take more than just ignoring Fox to do it.
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