A Proud Member Of The "Professional Left"
by Deacon Blues
I suppose I should start off this post by investing a few sympathetic words for the late Ted Stevens, the former powerful GOP senator from Alaska who died in a small plane crash at the age of 86. However, as Mr. Stevens left behind no positive footprint whatsoever in a lifetime of alleged public service, I’ll pass.
Instead, I’m passing along the latest installment from the White House in the "All Hail Obama and His Legacy" soap opera, wherein we find Press Secretary Robert Gibbs once again demonstrating this administration’s expectation of blind loyalty in the face of dashed expectations. Yesterday, Gibbs gave an interview to The Hill newspaper, in which he used a straw-man oversimplification worthy of the Bush administration to blast the "professional left" for not being happy enough with Barack Obama’s decisions.
During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.
"I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it’s crazy."
Actually, Gibbs is correct about this point: Obama isn't anything like Bush, who never had the mandate Obama did yet managed to stand for something and deal effectively with Congress.
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."
Since I’m not aware of any serious progressives who’ve advocated for eliminating the Pentagon, the most charitable thing I can say to Mr. Gibbs is that he’s full of shit, and worthy of enshrinement into the Dana Perino Hall of Shame. As to the remark about Canadian health care, Mr. Gibbs easily ignores the failed promises and easy discarding of the public option by this administration, as well as the compromises it made to get a bill with little or no cost containment. To Mr. Gibbs, and perhaps the rest of this White House, the Democratic base is their real problem, and not their own stillborn approach to governing with a mandate.
As Glenn Greenwald rightfully noted,
Perhaps one day the White House can work itself up to express this sort of sputtering rage against the Right, or the Wall Street thieves who destroyed the American economy, or the permanent factions that control Washington. Until then, we'll have to satisfy ourselves with White House explanations that the Real Culprits are not (of course) them, but the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything.
I proudly assert that I am a member of the "professional left", and as such Mr. Gibbs and the rest of this White House have a problem with me. I can't stand incompetence and weakness, nor can I tolerate hubris and arrogance, all of which are in plentiful supply at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue these days.
Despite Mr. Obama's expectations of blind loyalty, votes and support are earned from all except the sheeple, which is one major advantage the GOP has. Having been handed an electoral mandate to not be Bush and clean things up, Mr. Obama managed to squander that mandate through compromise and appeasement in a futile effort at legacy-building.
If your reflexive defense to critics is to throw your base under the bus, and to show more hostility to your supporters than to your opponents, then you don't deserve to be in power.