I think that the root of this (or at least, near the root) is a lack of comprehension amongst liberals about the ramifications of what they really believe in.
I am certain that this whole brouhaha was a complete surprise to her, as on one hand she thought that she had paid her liberal dues, and anyone hearing the things she had to say would take it for granted that her heart was in the right place, and that she was really “down for the cause”, and on the other hand, she had no idea that she is likely viewed as useful idiot by those wielding power on the left.
It is always a surprise to liberals when they are dragged away by the very people whose policies they support. It has happened time and time again, as long as there is been a defined “left”, that the useful idiot is dragged away by the very people they put in power, the liberal being dragged away saying with eyes bulging from fear, confusion, and anger: “But wait I’m one of you I believe in all of your ideas I supported you! Why are you doing this?”
The best example of this is outlined in entire chapter in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book “The Gulag Archipelago”. As a Soviet authorities arrested millions of people over the years, the most common refrain offered by the person being arrested was: “Me? What for?”
In way of explanation, I feel it is important to define who I am speaking of. As a rule of thumb, I tend to divide liberals into thirds.
The first third of liberals are generally normal people, but they are composed of both softhearted people who want to do good, and people who couldn’t be bothered to do any more than support liberals because someone told them that’s who they should support. Many of these people have an understanding of issues that is a mile wide and 1/32 of an inch deep. Once you scratch the surface and get below the slogans and stereotypes, there isn’t anything there. However, given to human nature, only a fraction of these people may be reasoned with. The rest of them may listen, but they won’t change their minds because human nature tends to keep that from happening.
The second third of liberals are the committed, spittle-lipped leftists who have the same shallow comprehension of issues that the first third of liberals do, but they have the zeal and intensity of true believers. They can’t be reasoned with, and serve as the honest-to-goodness useful idiot cannon fodder set forth by the last third of liberals described below. The second third of liberals are the ones that you see at the Code Pink rallies, antiwar rallies, or immigration reform support rallies. Trying to reason with them (for the most part) is like teaching a pig to sing.
The last third of liberals are the committed ones who understand fully what is at stake. They know that leftism isn’t about rights for minorities, healthcare that works, workers rights or any of the other things that leftists say that they stand for. They know that those things are just tools and levers, and that the real goal is to achieve a utopia, and reaching that utopia justifies all means to that end. We all know (at least those who have taken the time to think about it, and have looked at the history of humankind) that utopia is not achievable, and that the journey or quest to achieve utopia involves totalitarianism, because totalitarianism is the only way to get human beings (who are so completely different and so my respects) to walk in step with each other in obedience to the dictates of the state. This last third of liberals are the Marxists and socialists (socialists simply being Marxists who haven’t figured out what an AK-47 is for) who at a base level subscribe wholeheartedly to the underpinning concepts of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”. These are people who understand that leftism is really about power over other people. This third of leftists are the ones who think it is entirely reasonable to exterminate large portions of any population to achieve their goals that will bring them closer to their utopia.
Paula Deen is very likely one of the first third of liberals, she enjoyed the fame and popularity of being associated with the president and First Lady, and given her ignorance of the ramifications of liberal policy, along with her desire to be thought of as a progressive person fully set her up to be, as you so eloquently put it, hoisted on her own petard.
Right now, as she is being dragged by both arms down some hallway in a concrete building (figuratively speaking, of course) she is probably wondering why those she admired, sympathized with, and supported are treating her in this fashion. She was after all, in her mind, “one of them”.
I think Paula Deen was raise in a “We always have been Democrat” family. I have run in to go many of these people who will not give it up because mom or dad was a Democrat. They quote what their parents use to say about Republicans. You tell them that it is not the party of their parent but the family tie blinds their hearing.
Eventually, many members of the current ruling junta will be having the same experience. If not in this life, then in the next. "Rethink" before it's too late, progs!
Solzhenitsyn was a gift to mankind...