Shirley Sharrod isn’t exactly clean and pure as the wind driven snow

Shirley Sherrod
Not exactly the hero she's being made out to be

I’ve been following the whole Andrew Breitbart vs. the NAACP/Obama Administration dustup involving the videotape of Shirley Sharrod of the USDA admitting to racial discrimination in carrying out her past duties before an audience at an NAACP event, and it’s just unpleasant.  Brietbart has a point, of course – Sharrod’s admissions of racism do garner murmurs of approval from the crowd, which is awful.  Critics of Brietbart have a point as well when they note that the statements made by Sharrod in the video clip released by Brietbart were tempered somewhat by her later comments in the address.  But Brietbart supporters also have a point when they respond by saying that the whole point of releasing the video clip in the first place was not to go after Sharrod, but to point out the approving reaction of the NAACP crowd to the awful things Sharrod was saying.  And almost everyone agrees that the White House acted too quickly in dismissing her from her job.

Opinion on Sharrod have whipsawed from her being a contemptible villain to her being a blameless victim over the course of just a few days.  With reflection, it seems that neither position is totally correct; she certainly has been victimized to some extent, but she’s certainly not the angel she’s being portrayed as at this moment.  I’m inclined to agree with Andy McCarthy at NRO, who comments on the contents of the full video of Sharrod’s speech, which still makes her look bad:

So, in Sherrod World, mean-spririted, racist Republicans do nasty things that “we” would never do because we have a president who, being black, is above that stuff. Still, we have-nots need to band together for “change” because a cabal of haves, desperate to keep their power, is still imposing their centuries old capitalist system of institutionalized racism — the same racism that courses through the Republican Party and surfaces on “us versus them” issues like healthcare.

Pardon me, but I think I’ll stay off the Canonize Shirley bandwagon. To me, it seems like she’s still got plenty of racial baggage. What we’re seeing is not transcendence but transference. That’s why the NAACP crowd reacted so enthusiastically throughout her speech.

With an ever-expanding federal bureaucracy assuming overlord status in what used to be private industry and private matters, are we supposed to feel better that this particular bureaucrat’s disdain, though once directed at all white people, is now channeled only toward successful white people … most of whom — like successful black people — worked very hard to become successful? Are we supposed to forget that when the Left says, “It’s always about the money,” you don’t have to have a whole lot of money to find yourself on the wrong side of their have/have-not equation? Are we supposed to take comfort in having our affairs managed by bureaucrats who see the country as a Manichean divide beset by institutionalized racism?

At the very least, Sharrod seems to have some toxic ideas about the American political and economic system guiding her actions.  Is it possible for people with toxic ideas to be treated badly?  Yes.  Does that mean that those people should be absolved of responsibility for or shielded from criticism of their ideas?  Absolutely not.

The Country’s In The Very Best Of Hands…

Or we’re screwed.  One or the other.

I am genuinely uncertain what to think about this Alvin Greene guy.

No doubt you’ve heard the story by now of Alvin “No Comment” Greene, who won the South Carolina Democrat Party primary for US Senate.  He’s the nominee, with 61 percent of the vote, to run against (and presumably be slaughtered by) incumbent Republican Senator Jim DeMint.

Democrat Senate Nominee Alvin Greene of South Carolina
He's got 'em.

The odd thing about Greene is… well, everything about the guy is odd.  For starters, he’s an unemployed veteran of the US Air Force (he was discharged honorably, but not voluntarily – he was pushed out, apparently).  No one really knew who he was, he got his campaign started by dropping off a $10,000 check to SC Dem party headquarters, and then did pretty much nothing to campaign.  He claims the money was his own personal cash, but there’s that whole “unemployed veteran” thing that makes it seem unlikely that he’d have ten grand just laying around somewhere to blow on a US Senate campaign that he’s almost guaranteed to lose.

So we’ve got a candidate who filed to run in the strangest way possible, didn’t actually campaign once he filed, has raised absolutely no money for his campaign, and still managed to win over the favored candidate by a healthy margin.

And it only gets stranger.  It turns out that Mr. Greene is facing felony obscenity charges for showing obscene images to a female college student and then suggesting that they go up to her room.  This occurred, apparently, not in a big public computer lab on the college campus, but in the smaller, card-access-only lab in a dorm housing mostly female freshmen.  When questioned on this issue by pretty much every media outlet that has managed to get in touch with him, his only response is some form of “no comment.”

One might wonder why no one bothered to bring this up before the primary election so that the voters could, you know, vote intelligently, but that’s water under the bridge at this point.  Horrible South Carolina congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is alleging that this is all part of some conspiracy to plant candidates in SC Congressional races, and for once I’d be inclined to agree… and yet, I just can’t bring myself to do so because I can’t get around the question of why? I mean, I suppose that perhaps the Republicans could have thrown Greene into the mix somehow, but why should they?  DeMint is almost as close as the GOP gets to a lock.  Why bother with the skullduggery in a race you’re almost guaranteed to win?  And lord knows the SC Republicans have been sort of busy making themselves look like complete morons via their conduct in their own gubernatorial primary, what with all the allegations of infidelity and the “sacred honor” and whatnot.

And then there’s this:

After privately meeting with mystery Senate candidate Alvin Greene at a Columbia television station this afternoon, South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers came away believing that Greene is sincere but perhaps misguided in his much-scrutinized bid for Senate.

“I don’t believe he’s a plant,” Sellers told TPMmuckraker in an interview after his meeting with Greene. “I think he just kind of doesn’t know what he’s getting into.”

Sellers added: “I don’t think there’s anything nefarious going on. I think he actually did save his money,” a reference to the $10,440 candidatefiling fee the unemployed Greene paid in March…

…Todd Rutherford, another Democratic state representative who met with Greene today alongside Sellers, told TPMmuckraker, “Before I got to my third question, I could tell that something was awry,” adding, “I don’t know whether everything is OK.”

Rutherford, an attorney, said that if Greene were his client, he would move for a mental evaluation. “If there’s a joke he doesn’t get the joke. If someone paid him to do this, they certainly exploited someone who is vulnerable. It’s not even funny, it’s just sad.”

So perhaps Greene is, in his own special way, legit.  South Carolina Democrats have been calling for him to drop out now that the felony charges have come to light, but again, I have to say why should he? He was on the ballot; he had an opponent; the opponent presumably could have dug into Greene’s record and brought this to light before the election.  And of course Greene hasn’t been convicted of anything, and he meets the basic legal requirements to run, so… why shouldn’t he run?  After all, as Ann Althouse notes, he won:

Now, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has called for an investigation. Intowhat? People had to vote for Alvin Greene, and he got 60% of the vote. It would be interesting to know why the people of South Carolina voted the way they did, but I don’t think you should sic the government on someone who wins against the odds.

The million dollar question is right there – why in heaven’s name did the people of SC vote for this guy? Are South Carolina Democrats really this careless?  Are they stupid?  Are they fed up with the state party enough to vote for this guy over the party’s choice?  Even if Greene were a plant, he won 60% of the vote. Were the voters plants too?  Did mass amounts of Republicans cross over to screw with the Ds?  That doesn’t seem to be the case.  Perhaps the fact that Greene was alphabetically first on the ballot… but that can’t be it, can it?

This might end up being the most interesting political sideshow in history.

UPDATE: It appears that Greene’s win is just a random occurrence, which can happen when both candidates are almost completely unknown.