QUIT WHILE YOU’RE BEHIND…. Yesterday, the American Spectator‘s Jeffrey Lord decided to go after Shirley Sherrod, this time accusing her of lying because she said Bobby Hall was “lynched” in 1943. Hall was beaten to death by a white sheriff and his two white deputies, but as far as Lord was concerned, rope wasn’t involved. Ergo, Sherrod’s credibility is in question.

As Adam Serwer responded yesterday, “A lynching is an extrajudicial mob killing. No one who worked to document the practice of lynching in the South limited the definition of the term to solely include those lynchings that occurred using a rope…. Now does three guys beating someone to death sound like an extrajudicial mob killing to you?”

Today, Lord answered that question and defended his offensive argument.

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines lynching as: “to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority.”

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.

Look, this is ridiculous. Lord wisely gave up on the whole rope line of argument, but now wants to parse the meaning of the word “mob.” Three white cops beat a black man to death. They arrested him on weak evidence, beat him mercilessly for a half-hour, and dragged the man’s unconscious body, feet first, through the courthouse square before his death.

If there were four white cops would Lord be comfortable with the word “lynching”? How about five? Emmett Till was killed by two men. Was he not lynched either?

But wait, there’s more. Lord went on to suggest that people need to “understand the connection between what they are seeing in the headlines everyday — and history.”

There is, I’m sorry to say, a direct connection between Southern racists of yore and, say, the Obama Administration policy in Arizona. The Black Panther case. And what Ms. Sherrod was doing in her speech when she ever so casually linked criticism of health care to racism, which is to say not supporting a (her words) “black President.”

This is all of a piece…. [W]hen Ms. Sherrod uses the highly inflammatory word “lynching” — when it is quite specifically not so because of the above reasons — what is she doing? Why is she doing it? She was factually wrong. She was legally wrong. She did it anyway.

Keep in mind, this is not satire intended to make conservatives look like deranged racists. Lord seems to be entirely sincere.

And the whole point of the exercise is to do what Breitbart tried and failed to do last week — go after Shirley Sherrod. It’s quite twisted, really.

Postscript: More than a few historians believe Jeffrey Lord has no idea what he’s talking about, but I suspect that won’t change his mind. We’re well past the point at which reason and evidence have meaning with this guy.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.