Ruth Marcus isn’t the stupidest person at the Washington Post, nor is she the most craven. But as Jon Stewart memorably said, that’s like being the thinnest kid at fat camp. Although she’s regularly identified as a “liberal,” she nonetheless frequently types such insulting Fox News horseshit such as her column today about how Robert Gibbs is right about liberals all being on drugs. Better yet, she uses many specific cases in which the liberal positions were obviously more rational, frugal, legal, and honest than the positions chosen by the Obama Administration were, to build her “case,” such as it is.
I’m with Gibbs.
At times I’ve found White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to be unnecessarily irascible, and maybe his lashing out at the constant grumbling of the “professional left” wasn’t the best tactic. You want the base worked up — but for you, not about you.
When Republicans fire up the base with little theatre like wars and stuff, that’s playing the Village Game well; when Democrats try to offer, well, superior policy initiatives that are also good politics, that’s not playing fair.
Nonetheless, his basic point was spot on: The complainers from the left are, in some combination, myopic, forgetful and deranged.
Yeah, like when we said the Bush tax cuts would bankrupt the government, the Iraq War was illegal and would prove disastrous, and all that. Being right is always the hallmark of derangement to those who were, and continue to be, wrong.
Gibbs is far from the only White House official with these frustrations, but he’s the first to share them on the record and, therefore, the first to walk them back. He issued a statement longer than the original offending words acknowledging that he may have spoken “inartfully” — which is Washington-speak for honestly — and confessing to watching “too much cable.”
Part of being a Villager is admiringly critiquing one another’s lies for their impact and effectiveness. Gibbs obviously passed this exacting test with flying colors, in the world according to Ruthie. . . .
That last part may be true. As to the rest of it — Gibbs was right the first time.
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs told The Hill’s Sam Youngman, in an interview published Tuesday. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
This “professional left,” he added, “will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”
Indeed, for all the derision from the left about the Bush administration not being “reality-based,” many lefty bloggers and talking heads have failed to be reality-based in assessing the Obama administration.
Health-care reform, in this glass-half-empty world, is a disappointment because it lacks a public option. The president’s failure to close Guantanamo or end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a betrayal. If only President Obama was willing to bang heads, name names, stand tough, he would have been able to get — fill in the blank — a bigger stimulus, tougher financial reform, new legislation to help unions organize.
So, by choosing a whole plethora of demonstrably failed policies and failing to choose the higher, more defensible ground on all of them, Obama has lost his base by shabby compromise, and everyone else by the flat-out failure that resulted, and this is somehow the fault of those he didn’t listen to in the first place. Earth to Ruth Marcus: The Republicans lost, deservedly. Obama won. There’s a difference.
Excuse me, but can these people not count to 60? Have they somehow failed to notice that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have not exactly been playing nice? That while the left laments Obama’s minor deviations from party orthodoxy, the right has been portraying him, with some success, as an out-of-control socialist?
And they get away with it because of just this sort of right-coddling “journalism” from such rags as yours never call out the lies. As a journalist, it’s your fault, Ruth, that people are so misinformed. Obama has not made “minor deviations from Party orthodoxy,” he has caved in every area that mattered, from the wars to reining in Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and on and on, and the predictable outcomes of such cravenness are now ruining Democrats’ chances in the fall. Because they are bad policy, whatever the politics.
Apparently not. Responding to Gibbs, Jane Hamsher, of the blog Firedoglake, derided Obama’s record of “corporatist capitulation” and noted, “Spiro Agnew — sorry, Robert Gibbs — says ‘the professional left is not representative of the progressives who organized, campaigned, raised money and ultimately voted for Obama.’ Well, the Obama in the White House is not representative of the Obama who organized, campaigned, raised money and ran for office, so I guess it’s a wash.”
All true, which naturally gets Ruth’s dander up, so she goes for the weakest part. (The main difference between Agnew and Gibbs is that Agnew attacked the opposition, a distinction lost on Ruth.)
Spiro Agnew? Gibbs is going to have to work on his alliterative skills to come up with anything as memorable as nattering nabobs of negativism. Carping cavilers of cyberspace?
She doesn’t know what alliteration means, either. Quelle surprise.
That the left would fall out of love with Obama was entirely predictable. “After eight years without the White House, and two years in which a Democratic majority in Congress found itself stymied in delivering on its promises, the leftward precincts of his party are not inclined toward either compromise or patience,” I wrote just after the election.
Oh, and the Righties are, you genius? (Note how she grandly quotes herself as a paragon of prescient profundity… Oops, I alliterated, correctly.. don’t tell Ruth.) Funny, but I don’t recall Bush having any “Sister Souljah” moments with his base, ever. He gave them their every wish, sometimes reluctantly, no matter how demented. Somehow it’s only Democrats who mustn’t bow to their “crazies.”
What surprises me, though — and, no doubt, what set off Gibbs — is the venom of the liberal critics, even in the face of the sustained attack on Obama from the right and a legislative record longer and more impressive than I would have guessed back then.
As a Villager in good standing, you naturally predict Republican triumphs and Democratic failures, and retardedly equate Republican lies (Obama is a communist!) with Democratic facts (Bush is a stupid warmonger!), so it’s understandable that you’re wrong again. Too bad no one will tell you. But just to put a cherry on the BS sundae, why don’t you finish with some Old Media Elitism, and drive a few more subscribers to flee in disgust from your withering fishwrap?
In the old days of press-bashing, it was sound advice not to argue with people who buy ink by the barrel. The Gibbs backlash shows how foolhardy it is to argue with people who don’t even have to buy ink.
How much ink did that little missive waste? Ruth, get a job.