Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gibbs fights back - Updated

You know its August because the only thing going on in politics is internet spats. This "interview" with Gibbs in The Hill has the hippies in a mass snit this morning. I put scare quotes around interview because it's really just The Hill's spin with a couple of isolated, link baiting quotes but here's the gist.
...White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.
He's not entirely wrong about that. Nor is this completely untrue.
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.
Outside of the netroots bubble, I still see a lot of support for Obama. And frankly, there are days when even I get tired of the relentless netroots outrage about every single thing that isn't accomplished instantly, while the administration's successes are very nearly ignored. The empath in me can't help but think that nobody is inspired to cooperate under the weight of constant criticism.

My friend Creature takes a measured tone about it, but thinks Gibbs' hippie punching was unnecessary. That's true enough but me, I can't worked up over it at all. I see the netroots beating up on Obama nearly every single day on the internets. It doesn't matter if they have legitimate gripes or if they're being unrealistic, the fact is they're dishing it out. So the way I figure it, Gibbs, right or wrong, should be allowed to punch back once in a while. Everybody needs to vent sometimes.

Meanwhile, young Ezra is wise for his years. He puts his finger on the underlying dynamic.
And so it is here: The left is angry at the White House, and the White House is angry at the left, and both may be justified in their annoyance and tactical critiques, but the tension is actually a result of the rules allowing 41 senators to block the will of 59.
I think he's right. Everyone is just frustrated by the failures of the process and besides, a big Dem establishment/netroots fight has become an August tradition.

Update: I no sooner posted this than I see Gibbs apologized and clarified his remarks. Which isn't good enough for the quoted high profile lefty critics at the link...

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Blogger : smintheus :: said...

Gibbs characterizes left-wing critics as wanting to eliminate the Pentagon, and he wonders why the Obama administration has left-wing critics?

As for the real criticisms of his policies, those extend across the board from lousy legislation (that might or might not have been improved if Obama had fought for what was actually needed); to lousy appointments, to a coziness with financial elites, to a lack of urgency on the economy, to escalating (twice) a failed and futile war in Asia, to indemnifying and perpetuating civil liberties abuses, to a failure to push for core Democratic issues, to a failure to lead, to incoherence on message, to abandoning communicating a populist message and relying instead on insider wheeling/dealing, to bashing his left-wing while sucking up to the corporate "centrists" and the Republican right wing. Very few of those things involve the issue of cloture in the Senate.

4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Smintheus, I'm afraid I disagree. Not that there aren't legitimate criticisms to be made about Obama's style and many of his choices, but I'm thinking being president is a lot like bartending. It looks a lot easier than it is, from the other side of the bar.

So if he made a lot of lofty speeches, would that somehow force the Senate to do its job? Everything good dies in the Senate and imagine the media/far right narrative if he started ruling by fiat. And is that even a precedent we really want to set? Pendulum always swings. If it was a Republican president, would we want the executive office to have that kind of power?

I guess I'm wondering why so many people expect Obama to fix everything all by himself. I see a lot of bitching. Don't see a whole lot of organizing to change things from the bottom up. Furthermore, it's not like the netroots have such a grand track record of electing progressives on the legislative side. If we had been able to do that, we would have the progressive policy we want, wouldn't we?

I'm guess I'm just getting old. I see lots of young people demanding instant change, but that's never the way it's worked so far. Change is incremental and all I'm saying is some things have changed a little bit for the better. Would it kill us to acknowledge that too?

11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things have changed for the better? You have to be kidding? 9.5% unemployment and likely to go to 12% or higher.

I don't know what world you live in, but it isn't the same one I do.

9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

And what world would that be? I suggest it's very small and revolves around the Darth Murdoch Death Star.

Actually that 9.5 is a lower figure than it was earlier, and as you learned while getting that PhD in economics, employment is the last thing to improve after a recession. Corporate earnings are up and half the TARP money has been payed back with interest - so much for the communism argument.

Yes, it's a slow recovery, but as you learned at Harvard, this recession was almost unprecedented in depth. You learned that income has been stagnant since the 1970's except for people like me and that amongst other things, the Bush Tax cuts not only didn't pay for themselves, they didn't pay for Bush's war or much else and were a major trigger of recession. Yet you're now complaining after 8 years of calling those who predicted it dirty names?

But back to unemployment, the auto industry has added only 55,000 jobs this year, but it lost a third of a million the year before. Sounds like improvement to me.

I've read that in the 8 years of Republican domination, there was no net growth in private sector jobs at all, so why are you suddenly talking about employment as the measure of recovery -- because Fox is?

Anyway, greetings from earth and no, I don't want to be taken to your leader.

2:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Anyone recall that the minimum wage hadn't been raised in ten years, until the Dems, and demonized Nancy Pelosi took over in congress?

Without consumers, our economy based on consumer spending is not going to recover. The right wing conviction that throwing more money at the financial industry is someday going to produce jobs hasn't worked, and isn't going to.

Employment is improving, as Fogg notes, as usual last in line. The administration is working with the system as it is, and that entails any amount of obstacles to assistance for the workers. Hopefully there will be wisdom enough in the voting public to stay with progress rather than throw the slowly climbing economy back into the ditch.

6:25:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I forgot about the minimum wage Ruth. That's a good point.

I'm no happier about how slow the recovery is than anyone else, and I expect the knee jerk parroting of RW talking points from the crazy cons, but what bothers me the most is when I have to look twice to see if I'm reading a RWNJ or a lefty. Some days I wonder if people have become so addicted to outrage at both sides that they just can't see the positive anymore.

9:49:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Wisdom in the voting public? I suppose that's technically possible, but. . .

12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

And by the way, never forget that being impatient in the eternal wait for "the surge" to work is treason, but 6 months was far too long to wait for a recovery from the Recession.

Wisdom amongst the voters? Better to look for it at the zoo.

1:53:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL Fogg. Your gift for the perfect analogy always lightens my mood even as I'm depressed over the state of the citzenry.

6:15:00 PM  

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