Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hey Robert Gibbs, the "Professional Left" Would Like you to Turn Off your TV

In one simple interview and subsequent article in The Hill, the White House, via Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, has managed to send a clear message to members of the electorate - something it has long had a problem of doing. Unfortunately, not intended for the public at large, and specifically targeted for the progressive base of the Democratic Party, the words were clear:
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

The White House, constantly under fire from expected enemies on the right, has been frustrated by nightly attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in healthcare reform; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Liberals have criticized Obama and his staff for moving to the middle and bargaining on healthcare reform, as well as the financial regulatory overhaul and even the $787 billion economic stimulus package, which some liberals said should have been larger.

[...] Gibbs’s tough comments reflect frustration and some bafflement from the White House, which believes it has done a lot for the left.

In just over 18 months in office, Obama has passed healthcare reform, financial regulatory reform and fair-pay legislation for women, among other bills near and dear to liberals.

Obama is also overseeing the end of the Iraq war, with the U.S. on schedule to end its combat operations by the end of this month.

He’s also added diversity to the Supreme Court by nominating two female justices, including the court’s first Hispanic. Yet some liberal groups have criticized his nominees for not being liberal enough.

“There’s 101 things we’ve done,” said Gibbs, who then mentioned both Iraq and healthcare.

Gibbs said the professional left is not representative of the progressives who organized, campaigned, raised money and ultimately voted for Obama.

Progressives, Gibbs said, are the liberals outside of Washington “in America,” and they are grateful for what Obama has accomplished in a shattered economy with uniform Republican opposition and a short amount of time. (SOURCE: The Hill)
There's no doubt in my mind that being the president of the United States of America is a pretty tough job. And as jacked up things were when Barack Obama came into office, it's a wonder he hasn't grabbed two cans of beer out of the fridge and slid out of a White House emergency exit window.

But be that as it may, does the White House really do itself any good by pissing off the base of its party three months prior to midterm elections? See what I mean about them not being able to control the message?

In a year pivotal to democratic incumbents whose political lives are threatened by the right-wing noise machine, Gibbs' reaction seems a bit ill timed. As many distractions as the White House has had in recent weeks (if not months), is this good political strategy?

Just recently in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, president Obama sought to shift blame by indicting the 24/7 news cycle from the culpability of the White House in the firing of Shirley Sherrod. I wonder just what he has to say about this one...

Make no mistake, the Obama administration has made some significant legislative moves. But unfortunately, they're having a hard time selling said victories. And this is evidenced by his approval ratings tanking as they are. However, one would be hard pressed to convince me that this is a direct result of progressive activists.

If anything, the work of the "professional left" serves as a reminder to the very administration and president, whom on September 9th, 2008 said: "As president, I will lead a new era of accountability in education. But see, I don't just want to hold our teachers accountable; I want to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable." But obviously from where Gibbs is sitting there's a new definition of accountability that has ironically changed over the last twenty months in office.

But I suppose Gibbs has come to the realization that his choice of words (not the message) was "inartful," as he has since tried to walk back his comments which in itself as I see, has fallen on nothing but deaf ears. Sure he now suggests that Democrats should work together, but I find it quite insulting given his petulant, self-pitying behavior.

To tell you the truth I wish this display came from Rahm Emanuel. At least with Rahm I know there would have been a few f-bombs unlike Gibbs' Doogie Howser-like, I just lost my virginity act which makes me wanna punch him in the face.

Gibbs is right; Obama is nothing like Bush. Sure he may be continuing some of his policies like 1) his devotion to Wall Street, 2)  imprisoning people for life without charges while targeting American citizens for assassination without due process, and 3) found new ways of denying habeus corpus. But hey, clearly he's a different guy with a different agenda and purpose. Gibbs is right; he obviously watches too much cable news.


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