Robert Gibbs sat for an interview with The Hill and had some sharp words for the “professional left.” For starters…
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
I agree with Gibbs insofar as I’ve read some blog entries and a wide variety of commenters who think this. But, first, no one in the White House ought to be saying this sort of thing publicly. Furthermore, not everyone — in fact, very few — on the “professional left” are saying the president is “just like Bush.”
“They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”
There’s no reason for anyone in the White House press office to take my advice, but here’s my advice nonetheless. The intra-left squabbling over support or lack of support for the administration doesn’t need your input and snark. We’ve got it handled and, to be honest, it was beginning to fade.
Furthermore, in The Hill piece, the only named member of the “professional left” is Rachel Maddow. I watch a lot of MSNBC and read a lot of “professional left” material, and I assure you Rachel Maddow is the best friend the White House has — on television, at least. No, she might not agree with the president’s position on same-sex marriage, but no one has presented such an objective and reality-based view of this presidency as Maddow has. No one.
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.”
Taking his snark as a serious statement here, I think some of them would be satisfied — until President Kucinich had to compromise in order to get the votes for his agenda.
One thing is clear. The White House obviously doesn’t think it needs progressives to win. I’m sure it’s because they’ve (mis)read the polls showing very low liberal identification. So Gibbs and others think it’s harmless to let fly on progressives. They’re wrong. The ideology polls are flawed and the better polls to take to heart are the ones that poll issue-by-issue. They’d find that a majority of Americans support raising taxes on the rich, they support the public option, they support a woman’s right to choose, they support gun control and ending the wars and so forth.
And while I obviously agree about the ridiculousness of the “just like Bush” meme, this is bad form coming from Mr. Gibbs. It’s not helping, especially following such a kneejerk capitulation to far-right screeching over Shirley Sherrod. The subtext? Shit on the left, cave to the right.