The Department of Agriculture and its head, Tom Vilsack are not really a high-profile combo. But they are sure in the news these days. Kinda reminds me of an oft-repeated comment about baseball umpires. They are doing a good job when they are not noticed. But alas, for Mr Vilsack that will no longer be possible. Whether he even retains his job is probably open to question. Would that not be ironic if Ms Shirley Sherrod whom he fired and has since tried to rehire retained her job and he didn’t?
A couple of things have intrigued beyond the actual firing/re–hiring. One is the fact that the White House said it was on board with the action and then after the media firestorm began to build, the President disavowed any connection to the firing. Could not resist that disavow. Mission Impossible was always one of favorite shows.
Ok, number two was a media type David Rodham Gergen, comparing Ms Sherrod to Nelson Mandela who by the way spent 27 years in a South African prison, led the country for a time and would have to be considered an internationally known figure. Quite a stretch, even for the liberal media.
Finally, a comment from Ms Sherrod, but not what you might think. Her epiphany she said came when she realized that it was not black vs white but rather rich vs poor. There are many comments that one could make. Rush called it the idea of Obamunism which isn’t bad. I remain convinced that it does not have to be a situation of one side vs another. But when one of Ms Sherrod’s latest media comments ( and she is all over the media now) is that she will not appear on Fox News since they are both biased and racist . Gotta wonder on what basis she formed her opinion, do you not?
Since our greatest former president is beginning to age just a bit, it is about time to train his successor at roaming the world and taking care of everything that needs to be taken care of . Yes, drum roll please, it is the one and only Sen John Kerry, D, Ma. The Senator has just returned from his latest trip to Afghanistan where he persuaded President Karzai to accept a run-off vote.
It seems that Kerry has turned the traditional role of head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee upside down. Our Clintonite friend, David Gergen says that it is”extremely rare that any president calls on an individual outside the executive branch to do as much representative work and diplomacy as Sen.Kerry.” Should Sec.Clinton be worried that her time is short as her influence seems to be waning a bit? Bear in mind that both Obama and Kerry were mentored by the late Sen Ted Kennedy. Obama burst on to the national stage in 2004 with a speech at Kerry’s nominating convention and seems to hold the senior senator from Massachusetts in high regard.
Now, both Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the Associated Press go th great lengths to tout Kerry’ s expertise. Says Gibbs, he… is somebody who has a broad range of experience and an in-depth knowldge of issues, ranging from energy and climate change to health care to foreign policy.” Wow, is that a ringing endorsement or what? Plus, he will never dare to challenge me for the White House. Oh, I just tossed that phrase in there as a bonus.
And now, the Associated Press takes a turn. “Obama cherishes, greatly values the experience and insight of JohnKerry. And,last but not least. There is a framed note on the wall of Kerry’s senate office, given to him by Obama on the day of his inauguration. “‘I’m here because of you.” Just about brings a tear to your eye, does it not? Of course, there is a lot of truth there. Had Kerry won the 2004 election, Obama could never have run in 2008.
So, we do we call this great expert? He’s not a Cabinet member, nor a czar, but he needs a title greater than just senator. Uber senator, maybe?
It seems that the battle has ben joined, so to speak. On one side, we have the Fox News Channel and on the other, the Obama White House. There is an interesting cast of characters as well as several interesting observers.
Ms Dunn is the point person for the White House and went on rival CNN on Sunday to launch a few broadsides. She told CNN’S Howard Kurtz that “ let’s not pretend that Fox is a News Network the way CNN is.” That’s a good line to start the assault. But there was more. She said that the way we( presumably the Administration) view Fox is as a wing of the Republican Party . What was almost hysterically funny is a promo that ran during her interview. It was publicizing Anderson Cooper 360 and here is what it said. A woman’s voice says , “I’m a lifelong Democrat and that’s why I watch Anderson Cooper.” The promo continued that Cooper is a person that can be counted on to hold “right-wing” conservatives accountable. Interesting slant on objectivity, is it not?
Ms Dunn serves officially as White House Communications Director and unofficially as the head of the Call ‘Em Out Patrol, aiming to counter what the White House considers wrong or erroneous reporting.
Outside observers from both political persuasions say that the battle the White House has enjoined is not necessarily a wise one. David Gergen, who worked in the Clinton Administration said it is a risky strategy and can easily backfire. Tony Blankley, a former press secretary for Newt Gingrich, agreed, saying that it was his experience that going after a new organization is always a losing proposition. A non partisan observer from Politico, Nia Malika Henderson opined that the administration’s approach would tend to only benefit Fox.
Even the president himself engages in the battle. On September 20, he appeared on five new shows, declining to appear on Fox’s Chris Wallace show. On Sunday, Dunn admitted tat it was a sort of payback. Just last week, Press Secretary Gibbs said Obama would not be on Fox until some time in 2010. Just a few months ago the President told CNBC’S John Harwood that there was one television station entirely devoted to attacking the administration. Bet it wasn’t ESPN to which he was referring.
This all brings to mind a couple of things. One is a quote by Bill Clinton, “Never pick a fight with people who by ink by the barrel.” And what Republican president had a paranoia with the press? Does the name Richard Nixon sound familiar? He would recognize the Obama approach and probably advise even stronger tactics.
One word to Anita Dunn and her folks, check out the ratings for any Fox News show-O’Reilly, Beck, etc and compare to Cooper, Olbermann, etc. The results may be worth your review.
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