Gibbs’ Walk-Back: Clueless about “in America”

Gibbs and Pres. Obama check out what's up "in America" from a safe distance. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

In Robert Gibbs’ intemperate rant about hippies, he seemed to distinguish between the “professional left” he was targeting and the Progressives “in America” who are clapping loudly over Obama’s accomplishments.

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.

In a piece that had a lot to piss me off, the suggestion that professional DC hack Robert Gibbs should lecture hippies about what people “in America” think of Obama’s economic policies was the worst.

Maybe that’s because I’m out here “in America” and I’m still seeing a shattered economy.

My belief that Gibbs just doesn’t get that fact was confirmed when, in the walkback of his attack, he again boasted of Obama’s success at “getting our economy moving again.”

But in 17 months, we have seen Wall Street reform, historic health care reform, fair pay for women, a recovery act that pulled us back from a depression and got our economy moving again, record investments in clean energy that are creating jobs, student loan reforms so families can afford college, a weapons system canceled that the Pentagon didn’t want, reset our relationship with the world and negotiated a nuclear weapons treaty that gets us closer to a world without fear of these weapons, just to name a few.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Aside from areas that depend on the military and intelligence industrial complex (like the DC metro bubble in which Gibbs lives), MI has benefited more from Obama’s economic decisions than anywhere else. Not only did Obama rescue GM and Chrysler, but a lot of those “record investments in clean energy” are battery jobs in MI. As I’ve written before, I just wish there were a similar killer app to use as the excuse for investment in Nevada and Arizona.

But the truth is these states, including MI, are still functionally in far worse than a recession. The economy on Wall Street may be moving again, but without consumer demand, the economy on Main Street is not. Too many consumers are so far underwater on their house (which Obama’s disastrous HAMP has failed to fix in any appreciable way) they’re not going to be spending anytime soon. Heck, no one’s going to be spending so long as wages remain stagnant or falling.

And that reality out here “in America” is the key to Obama’s problems (the ones that–as Chris Bowers shows–really do extend to liberals outside of DC) with voters.

No matter how many mean names Gibbs calls hippies, the real issue is that he, the voice of the Obama Administration, appears totally clueless about why America isn’t clapping louder about the Administration’s economic “successes.”

  1. fuzed says:

    I see Wall Street is feeling a little jealous, and had to pull on a string or two just to make sure the love is still there.

  2. klynn says:

    Thanks EW.

    Effective and insightful.

    BTW, his “excuse” in his walk back made no sense. For it to make sense, he needed to rail against the MSM, no the professional left. The professional left understood the legislation for teachers was not a “bailout”.

    And “inartful” meant he really meant what he said.

  3. skdadl says:

    This song and dance used to be called “the silent majority” (as every administration for generations has shuffled it out). If Gibbs really wants to bring it up to date, he could give us a few choruses of “The Lurkers All Love Me.”

  4. klynn says:

    Based on your Twitter it appears my comment @ 4 is correct.

    Bill Burton said Gibbs, “Answered honestly,” when slamming the professional left.

    Obviously Burton was not upset at cable TV for stating the legislation for teacher’s salaries was a “bailout”. Burton spoke with a clear mind.

    Are we going to see a clearing out of the Press Sec office?

    This seems more Rahm politic play than anyone.

      • brendanx says:

        I think it’s hurtful and insensitive for Keith Ellison to be in Congress after they tried to fly planes into the Capitol on 9-11.

      • prostratedragon says:

        Good for him —not that I think that’ll solve a thing, but at least someone down there is pushing back on something.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Gibbs ought to resign, on behalf of Rahm and Obama, for having agreed to carry their message to the American people. We all, not just those on the left, should be livid that this WH wants us all to be good little boys and girls, work hard, and quietly accept whatever punishment teacher chooses to mete out.

        Millions of Americans are desperate for leadership, for policies that place the citizen, consumer, working man and woman and the communities they live in above those of Georgetown’s socialites, Wall Street, the outsourcing industry making a parking lot of Northern Virginia, and the Pentagon.

        Gibbs’ planned and strategized “outburst” reminds me of nothing so much as the meeting of the board of the Bailey Building & Loan, which had to decide on whether to close its doors after the death of its founder. Jimmy Stewart delivered one of his best post-war performances as he reminded his elders that it was the working man and woman who did the working and paying and living and dying, not business owners (the full speech is somewhere on youtube), and that all Mr. Potter wanted was whatever he hadn’t already bought at fifty cents on the dollar. Mr. Gibbs looks like Mr. Potter and certainly acts like him.

    • cbl2 says:

      Bill Burton is a catty bitch now blocking former campaign comrades from his twitter feed – for having the temerity to question WH “success”

  5. trademarkdave says:

    This administration, top to bottom, is about one thing and one thing only – kissing bankster ass.

    I hope Obama enjoys his corner office at Blue Cross when he moves in January 21, 2013. Asshole.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      When was the first time you heard the phrase “punch a hippie”? I think the first time I heard it was within the last year.

      h/t Obama?

  6. bobschacht says:

    Gibbs sees things not only from inside the Washington bubble, but from in the White House bubble. The score card in the White House looks very different from the score card out here among those from whom the scales have been washed from their eyes. He forgets that his White House score card has been scrubbed clean by their spin doctors, whereas our score cards have undergone spin removal. IOW, he needs to take off his rose-colored glasses and have another look.

    Bob in AZ

    • Mauimom says:

      I keep pleading wherever I can [even though by the time I sign on to the NYT @ 6 am Hawaii time, the comments are always “closed”] for Frank Rich, Bob Herbert, Paul Krugman — any and all of the “sympathetic” columnists — to do a column EVERY DAY featuring a “real person” and what this economy has done to them.

      Papers like the NYT have no problem doing “Faces of the Fallen” features to honor soldiers, or “Neediest Families” to personalize the poor at Christmas, but there are millions of individual stories of pain all around the country. Those stories need to be told, so that this suffering can no longer by ignored in the name of “statistics.”

  7. Twain says:

    I keep wondering what the “professional” left is. Should people apply for jobs that way – “hi, I’m a professional left.” Gibbs sounds as if he’s off his meds. I would like to see him fired.

    • liberalrob says:

      I don’t want to see Gibbs fired. I want to see the President stand up for the things he said he believed in when he was campaigning. Gibbs is irrelevant compared to that betrayal of trust.

      I would, however, like very much to see Rahm Emanuel fired. In the most public, humiliating way possible.

        • temptingfate says:

          I thought he was supposed to be a sort of empty vessel – a conduit – to the Administration. Seems to me he’s done a pretty good job in that regard, much like Rahm.

  8. ShotoJamf says:

    he again boasted of Obama’s success at “getting our economy moving again.”

    If he meant, “in a downward direction,” the statement is sorta true.

    And speaking of statements…

  9. Teddy Partridge says:

    Out here ‘in America’ people laugh in our faces when we say we moved to Portland for the economy.

    People don’t understand the pernicious nature of income inequality, as lived vividly in SF, and think the economy is all about jobs. Jobs help, of course, but so do lower costs for housing, food, and other necessities as well as the absence of a looming, privileged overclass that is demanding of its latte, its dinnerplate, its manicure. We love this new economy we find ourselves in for that reason alone, but people who’ve lived it for a while are incredulous anyone would move here for the economy: it sucks for them, jobs are very scarce, and many are underemployed.

    What people don’t always see is that it’s easier to live here when you’re underemployed or on a fixed income.

    • tejanarusa says:

      Ha, Teddy – that’s exactly why I’m still in Texas, instead of having moved back to the middle Atlantic states like PA and MD where I have family, and where I love the landscape and the architecture (red brick! covered with ivy! Taaaaal green trees!). I can afford to be underemployed here.

  10. ShotoJamf says:

    he, the voice of the Obama Administration, appears totally clueless about why America isn’t clapping louder about the Administration’s economic “successes.”

    Maybe he’ll get a clue after the November elections…but I doubt it.

  11. Teddy Partridge says:

    The only way to insulate Rahm from liberal rage is to fire Bobby Gibbs.

    As soon as Rahm gets that across to Obama, Gibbs will be gone, no matter what Keith Ellison says.

    • cbl2 says:

      hell, they’d fire him just so they could turn and say see what those “professional” lefties made us do !

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Aren’t hippies and lefties kinda on the retired/underemployed/unemployed side? This “professional” business has me scratching my head.

        • Mason says:

          Aren’t hippies and lefties kinda on the retired/underemployed/unemployed side? This “professional” business has me scratching my head.

          The poor dear is intellectually challenged. He meant to say hipster.

      • cbl2 says:

        not sure about that Twain. all they have to do is nominate Warren, get the rotating villains to supply enough NO votes and presto – it’s another well, we tried, anyway love in

        • Twain says:

          LOL. Whatever the reason for Gibbs doing this, it has obviously backfired. It makes Obama look out of control of his own people, even if he orchestrated it. Of course, the people in the WH are the worst politicians I have ever seen.

          • Teddy Partridge says:

            There is one singular difference between the brilliant campaign and the dysfunctional Oval Office.

            His name is Rahm. And he is an idiot at everything except taking credit for the success of others while avoiding the stink of his own failure.

          • marvc says:

            Actually, this is not exactly correct. Obama was exceptionally good as a politician running for office. His administration just sucks at governing because he chooses to forget that promises made must be kept or you piss a lot of people off. He seems not to care that he is breaking his promises again and again.

            Of course, an inartful statement is really a statement one believes in but wishes they had either not said aloud or had couched in some other deceptive terms. Unfortunately for them, we are not the wingnut base that eschews knowledge, intelligence and education. We are thinking, progressive, and forward-looking folk. We don’t take kindly to being called names just because we engage in a dialog the administration does not want to have. The administration is wrong about the so-called “professional left.” We on the left are the folk who read them, engage them, and discuss their ideas on a daily basis. There is no schism between the professional left and the rest of us that criticize the Obama administration, no matter how much they may wish to think that is the case.

            The problem isn’t us, but rather them. They promised us much change and gave us the same ol’ shit we’ve been dealing with for years. Shame on them.

            • Leen says:

              I do think acknowledging what has been accomplised by the Obama administration is important but and that is a big BUTT. Their unwillingness to enforce laws, hold anyone in the Bush administation accountable for the serious crimes committed over those eight years and continuing some of the same practices is extremely dissapointing along with immoral.

              Think RAhm and team know we will be left with what is our alternative? That this may be as good as it gets. pathetic.

              It’s not like most of us have been out here sitting on our asses whining. Most of us if not all of us have put in hundreds if not thousands of unpaid hours into getting them where they are.

            • bmaz says:

              Welcome marvc, and excellent comment.

              That, to me at least, is the thing; it is not just the duplicity in the promises made and not kept, though of course there is that, it is the arrogant disdain and contempt that has been evidenced pretty much since about the second to third month after taking office. The Administration does not just fail to deliver, they treat the activist base with scorn and derision. I do not expect everything I want, never even believed a substantial portion would be delivered in full; but I did expect certain principles to at least be fought for in good faith and to be treated as if a voter that had elected him. The demeaning scorn is really the clincher. And there is no legitimate and explicable reason it needed to be this way; completely unnecessary and ignorant politics that have gained him nothing and lost him, and the party as a whole, a lot.

        • greenwarrior says:

          even that won’t be working this time with some of us. i will not vote for obama. does anyone have a good suggestion for a write in vote to send the “we will not be played” message?

          • thatvisionthing says:

            Write in vote: I thought of this in the Gulf crisis: Vote for a whale. Write in: “Whale.” Or tree or gulf or river or ocean or whatever. Kinda expanded it a bit after Diane Wilson showed up at the house BP hearing with tar on her hands yelling: “Tony Hayward, you need to go to jail!”

            So then it was, vote for a whale, send Tony to jail.

            Just the idea of running a natural person (not a person! no rights!) against a corporate person (superperson! superrights!). In the end all the candidates are just the mouthpieces for corporate $peech. Just the idea of getting it out there that there IS no vote for the environment and the planet possible, so hey I’m writing it in. Just the idea of putting reality on the ballot, to kinda powerfully focus the attention.

            There’s actually one tree in America that would make a WONDERFUL candidate: The Tree That Owns Itself. John Lennon when he was talking about how to get peace, he just wanted to get peace out there in the marketplace, like soap — available, chooseable. War again toda– no, today I’ll have peace, thank you.


            JOHN LENNON: I think our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government, etc., and the Russian, Chinese, what they’re actually trying to do, what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane…

            I want peace now. We can get peace now if we want it now… Anybody knows that the people have the power. All we have to do is awaken the power in the people. The people are unaware, it’s like they’re not educated to realize that they have power. They put the politicians in power. They vote for the local mayor. The people do it. But the system is so geared that everybody believes that just, the father will fix everything, the father being the government. Government will fix everything. It is all the government’s fault. Bad, shake your fist at the government. Well we are the government. The people are the government and the people have the power, but we must try and make them aware of it…

            The battle is always lost within the castle, like America is falling within, not from the commies coming, it’s falling apart inside…

            We decided to do it by the advertising method… Our product is peace… We’re selling it like soap, you know. And you’ve got to sell and sell until the housewife thinks, oh, well it’s peace or war, that’s the two products. Peace…

            War is a game that’s gone too far. It’s just like we’ve all just woken up one morning and thought, is it a dream, is it a nightmare, what’s been going on. And we’re all just trying to make the next day a bit better… If some housewife is against war, just put it in the window. Just to let her neighbors know or her husband know, you know, you’ve got to start on the home ground, like, convert your parents. We think we have a right to have a say in the future, and we think the future is made in your mind.

            Yep, I’m a hippie.

  12. Hugh says:

    You have to wonder what the calculus is behind Gibbs’ outburst and equivocal apology. That is if you think there is more to it than incompetence.

    • temptingfate says:

      While incompetence probably meets the Occam’s Razor test there’s always the possibility that this is just part of the messy circumstances leading to the divorce between Team Obama and the few liberals that were sitting on the fence. The non-appologitic apology is right out of the R handbook. “I’m sorry that you heard me say that you suck.”

  13. jodo says:

    Gibb’s rant was just echoing of what he hears in White House meetings. As press secretary he would never go off the reservation to such a degree. I guarantee this administration is every bit as right wing as Bush or Reagan.

    • Jeff Kaye says:


      The sooner the real face of this administration is appreciated, the better.

      Why, we should give Gibbs an award for saying what Rahm and Co. are thinking.

    • msmolly says:

      Gibbs also should be forced to apologize to Kucinich. That was really a slap in the face.

      I agree, Twain. I am not a Kucinich fan, but that was really nasty. Fits with the “drugs” reference, tho. Obviously Gibbs has no use for progressives.

      I’ve been on a couple of other blogs I regularly visit, and FDL and Jane have come in for a bit of bashing, including resurrecting Grover Norquist.

      • Twain says:

        Geez, not Grover again. These people have a huge lack of imagination. That’s old news. They could now bash her for “Just Say Now” and be much more up to date.

        • msmolly says:

          Geez, not Grover again.

          Yeah, and linking it to HCR and not what it WAS, Rahm and Fannie/Freddie. I left a comment, but not sure anyone responded to it. It was on Benen’s blog at Washington Monthly, and I don’t usually read all of the comments, but I was at home lunching on a salad and reading all of the reax to Gibbs.

    • greenwarrior says:

      Gibbs also should be forced to apologize to Kucinich. That was really a slap in the face.

      Hah! By that reasoning, he should also be forced to apologize to Bush, also!

  14. protoslacker says:

    Gibbs’ ‘professional left’ is a term of art clearly referring to among others the writers over here. EW is an everyday must-read for me. Bob Schacht’s recent The Seminal diary The Disease of Jaded Cynicism made me think about the in-joke about ‘hippies’. Whatever else Gibbs means by ‘professional left’ he doesn’t mean hippies. And the joke here says ‘We’re not hippies!’

    I don’t think all this distancing from hippies is a good thing because it turns attention away from the necessity of building more sustainable livelihoods. We need more jobs and to make job creation cheaper. Local food initiatives are an attempt to pay attention to the primary economy. Shanzai–Chinese tech pirates–are innovating at the edge of manufacturing, the secondary economy. Republican and Democrats alike focus almost exclusively on the tertiary economy. Maybe there aren’t many hippies anymore, but the word points to the edge or the fringe. It seems to me the ideas towards more jobs are at the edges. The primary and secondary economies need more attention.

    Few of us have PhD’s, that you do adds a great deal. I respect you, but the joking about hippies gets under my skin. You take umbrage at “professional left” but Gibbs gets that you are not a hippie, so is “professional” really being mean? Hippies are your friends EW.

      • phred says:

        You should see some old pics my cousin sent me taken in the ’70s. I am certifiably 100% Grade-A hippie ; ) And protoslacker, I got a Ph.D., too ; )

        • bobschacht says:

          Well, I was a hippie wanna-be. I wanted in on all that free love stuff, and tried to get stoned once or twice (without success), and I did get ingloriosly drunk a few times, grew a beard, and participated in one or two demonstrations, but I was too nerdly to qualify as a real hippie. Nerdliness did keep me on the rails long enough for me to get a Ph.D., however.

          Gibbs seems to me like an OK guy. But he spends too much time in the White House Spin room, so occasionally shows up at press conferences a little bit dizzy.

          Bob in AZ

          • fatster says:

            I’m not so sure he’s an okay guy at all. Just look at this, which someone over at DU unearthed. It’s from Jerome Armstrong (and written when we were getting all hopey about O). Pretty good stuff (and apologies if it’s already been linked here).


      • oldnslow says:

        I’m a hippie. I also have a job that pays 50% of what it did 12 years ago. My bad, I guess for being in manufacturing. You know, the thing that made us “great”?

  15. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Anchorage Daily News and both now reporting Toobz Stevens killed in plane crash near Dillingham, AK.
    Perhaps some oil execs will be deeply saddened.

    Maybe ET (Edward Teller) has some antenna out for details.
    I have no info about the plane type, pilot, etc, etc.
    Bad weather, evidently; whether they knew that taking off, I have no clue. (If they didn’t… given the quality of weather info these days, they should have know the flying conditions. However, weather can blow up out of nowhere, so I reserve judgment without more info.)

      • phred says:

        Thanks for that, I’ve been looking for news on O’Keefe all day — partly why I’ve been popping up on so many threads today ; ) My thoughts and prayers are with them, those lost, and all their friends and families.

          • phred says:

            Thanks Margaret, I had heard about Stevens, the news on O’Keefe was lagging behind a bit.

            I didn’t agree with the Senator’s politics (or his financial dealings), but he deserves a tip o’ the hat for giving us “the internet is a series of tubes” ; ) I will never think of him without a smile crossing my face ; )

        • cbl2 says:

          NBC News now reporting both OKeefe and son are expected to survive – broken pelvis, several other broken bones

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          You are more generous than I.
          Stevens was key to many things that occurred in Alaska, including single hulled tankers off Bligh Island (i.e., Exxon Valdez spill).

          I don’t understand what they were doing flying in weather so bad that the Coast Guard and the Air Force couldn’t reach them.
          I don’t get it.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Ah, I stand corrected.
              I keep forgetting that weather can’t hurt you.
              Musta been a loophole in one of them laws Toobz got through at some point. Senate rules ain’t what they used to be.

  16. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    Corporate spin doctors spinning exactly how wonderful the wall street banking criminals are helping destroy America? Sorry, helping themselves to our money again, sorry, helping America! Try white house spin dentists: soon to be doin’ that deep-water drillin’ in the Gulf of Mexico again soon, after the media blackout of BP damage to the Gulf has rammed a concrete plug on the truth.

    Saw Rachel on MSNBC last night: we need to bring back all of our contractors and all of our soldiers and get them working to repave our rural roads in North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and elsewhere. It is stupid, insane and evil to waste billions of our tax dollars each week on stupid pointless occupations, while our own American infrastructure is crumbling more each day…

  17. dstrong says:

    Hey Gibbs and Obama, if you want fucking water carriers, hire some damned ball boys. WE ARE NOT THE RIGHT, WE DON’T GET OUR TALKING POINTS FROM FOX NEWS AND MINDLESSLY SPOUT THEM LIKE FREAKING ZOMBIES. We on the left actually are very realistic about policy making and the political process. We understand the art of compromise, but what we have seen time and time again is complete capitulation to the right. Why does Obama and the Democratic leadership take things off the table from the getgo, hoping the cretons on the right, who care about nothing but power, will magically come around and work with you. No, you start out with a compromising position, and each and every time, you steadily move further to the right, ending up with a bill that does absolutely nothing for the people you claim to represent.

    We are not angry that Obama didn’t get the public option in his bill, we are angry he traded that away to big pharma and big insurance, never fighting for it any time along the way. We aren’t angry about the final financial reform bill, we are angry his administration actively fought against the efforts of those in the Congress to make the necessary structural changes to ensure too big to fail was truly too big to fail, and taxpayers and investors would never be on the hook for the fraudsters on wall street, none of whom, by the way, have been fired during this whole fiasco. We are angry because this man has left in place or appointed many of the worst president in the world’s people. We are angry because he has continued and expanded Bush’s policies violating the civil liberties of Americans. We are angry because this administration reacts more positively to what the right says and does, while dissing the people who elected him.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the first rule in politics is take care of the people who elected you, right! I keep hearing his psychophant defenders say he is president of all of America, not just progressive America. Don’t remember hearing that from the right, when Cheney and Bush ran over America with their wrecking crew. No, as Cheney said, elections have consequences, and we won, which means the people chose our policies and we intend to enact them. When a Democratic president gets in office, he immediately runs to the center right position and yell about bi-partisan. Why is that, are Democrats, as the right claims, afraid to lead and govern?

    I now know why that is done. Republicans are nakedly pro-business, and anti-worker and anti anyone not in the upper class. Democrats are “supposed” to be for the working man, middle class, and those working to get into the middle class. The way they get around having to nakedly reveal themselves as pro-business whores like the right is to yell about “pragmatism” and “bipartisanship”. This simply means we are going to sell out our base and cater to the powers that be, and blame the right when we do what we intended to do all along.

    Guess what Gibbs, Democratic leadership, and Obama, the jig’s up. We gave you your mythical 60 votes in the Senate and an overwhelming majority in the house, and guess what, you said that wasn’t enough. Well Bush never had anything close to those margins and look at the success he had at getting everything he wanted. To hell with all of you!

  18. wagthedog says:

    Gibbs is on the wrong side of history. Outside the beltway thinking always wins election. Inside the beltway political experts, have turned Obama into Bushlite.

  19. KarenM says:

    I love that photo and caption, too. How can they possibly know what anyone “in America” is thinking from that so very safe distance?

    The entire WH appears to be stuck in two bubbles… they’re inside the beltway bubble and in the oval office bubble, too. How can they possibly know what anyone out here really thinks about their truly lousy policies?

  20. john in sacramento says:

    Gibbs is a sphincter check that — he’s an asshole

    What the f is “professional left”?

    Has he or anyone in the WH ever had to apply for food stamps? For rental assistance? Has he ever had to humble himself just in order to survive?

    Has he had a relative killed in a Iraq or Afghanistan? Does he have a relative serving and is deathly afraid something will happen to them? And for what?

    Has he ever gone hungry? Had to sleep outdoors? Had to ask a friend if he could sleep on their couch? Has he ever been in foreclosure? Recently? Suffered from a debilitating physical or mental condition?

    Has he ever done physical labor for a job? … because he had no choice? Has he ever done construction work? Farm work? Has he actually ever built anything? Does he have any idea how bad it really is?

    When’s the last time he’s had to drive a beat up car? … and was afraid the police would pull him over because he let the insurance lapse because he had to feed his kids? Does he have kids?

    These are real problems that real people have, and the only people who seem to care are on the left (whatever that means). This is not an academic discussion — there are real people suffering

    You might say I’m cynical, and I would proudly reply that I am a cynic, and that I’m guilty as charged. And the reason is is that I know people in situations like I’ve described, or have gone through some of these things and I don’t have the luxury of detachment. And I don’t think he or any of his cohorts in the WH cares

    So my editorial comment to Robert Gibbs is this:

    Go fuck yourself Robert Gibbs

  21. giantscauseway says:

    Yeah I guess it’s the “Professional Left” who has allowed the Republiclowns to be on offense the last 18 months while “The Philosopher King” pondered in his ivory tower how to pander to the right next.

    If we had known this we’d have President Hilary R. Clinton now.

  22. brendanx says:

    I don’t know, but I interpreted the association of drugs and the “professional left” to be an oblique reference to Jane Hamsher and her “Just Say Now” campaign.

    He wouldn’t be press secretary if he weren’t calculating with his insinuations.

  23. hijean831 says:

    So many of these ‘big progressive achievements’ are based on, if not taken from verbatim, rightie proposals.

    Half-assed efforts get half-assed applause – and how much noise does one clapping hand make?

  24. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Don’t mean to hijack this thread, but IMVHO wagthedog makes an extremely important point.

    Quick link:

    Actions to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions “are not only feasible but make sense for other reasons, including our economic well-being and national security,” Dr. Hansen wrote. “Delay of another decade, I argue, is a colossal risk.”

    In the speech, Dr. Hansen also says that last year, after he gave a presentation on the dangers of human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate shifts to Sean O’Keefe, the NASA administrator, “the administrator interrupted me; he told me that I should not talk about dangerous anthropogenic interference, because we do not know enough or have enough evidence for what would constitute dangerous anthropogenic interference.”

    After conferring with Mr. O’Keefe, Glenn Mahone, the administrator’s spokesman, said Mr. O’Keefe had a completely different recollection of the meeting. “To say the least, Sean is certain that he did not admonish or even suggest that there be a throttling back of research efforts” by Dr. Hansen or his team, Mr. Mahone said.

    Dr. Franco Einaudi, director of the NASA Earth Sciences Directorate at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Dr. Hansen’s supervisor, said he was at the meeting between Dr. Hansen and Mr. O’Keefe. Dr. Einaudi confirmed that Mr. O’Keefe had interrupted the presentation to say that these were “delicate issues” and there was a lot of uncertainty about them. But, he added: “Whether it is obvious to take that as an order or not is a question of judgment. Personally, I did not take it as an order.”

    I realize that it is unwise to speak ill of the deceased, and I’m sure that their families are sad.

    “To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…”
    Toobz Stevens and O’Keefe were part of the Old Guard who believed in Oil, Neofeudalism, and Pork.

  25. Doug Martin says:

    Gibbs needs to stuff more money in his mouth, since he definately hasn’t eaten enough marijuana brownies to understand anything of relevance in life.

  26. Mary says:

    I’ll pass on lectures from the professionally bereft.

    So by “professional left” is he wanting to a) take digs at the educated and professionals, since that works so well for his galpal Sarah; or b) take digs at institutional left orgs, like ACLU, bc that is such a popular dogwhistle?

    Being “left” isn’t my profession and never has been, but his whole spiel is just revolting and he’s the kind of guy re-creating Bush’s bubble world for Obama and also selling what Obama has selected as the theme and image he wants to project.

    • Petrocelli says:

      I’ll pass on lectures from the professionally bereft. – Mary

      A response this good deserves to be repeated …

  27. Mary says:

    It’s annoying, as well, to see the return of the straw man and stenography as journalism.

    The lead off for this story was, “The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.”

    Can someone please find for me all those “liberals” who can be quoted as ever using the phrase *ideological purity*?!?

    Sheez freakin louise – he gets criticized for nitty gritty items, not how he’s wearing his halo. The problem hasn’t been deal-making – everyone knows you make deals in life; the problem has been non-transparent dealings, stupid dealings, and dealings running 100% contrary to his promises – Bad deals and a lack of integrity – no ideological purity.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Bill McKibben on the deal-making thing:

      Asking for what you need doesn’t mean you’ll get all of it. Compromise still happens. But as David Brower, the greatest environmentalist of the late twentieth century, explained amid the fight to save the Grand Canyon: “We are to hold fast to what we believe is right, fight for it, and find allies and adduce all possible arguments for our cause. If we cannot find enough vigor in us or them to win, then let someone else propose the compromise. We thereupon work hard to coax it our way. We become a nucleus around which the strongest force can build and function.”

      But no one will come out to fight for watered down and weak legislation.

  28. lucy2009 says:

    These folks are all smart and highly educated. They understand what is happening out here. Sure they are all in a bubble, but that’s a cop-out. Alot of these folks come from regular stock, not silver spoons like Bush.

    You can’t allow the top 2% of folks in a country to have 95% of the wealth, and then walk around and pretend like you are baffled as to why everyone else isn’t happy about their lot in life. They KNOW exactly why we are pissed, and they are too weak and corrupted to do anything about it. That’s the truth.

    We give billion of dollars in corp welfare to Big Oil, and lessen Medicaid bennies and lay off teachers. We spend billions in wars while our bridges collapse and our water supply system is in danger. What kind of freakin priorities are these? They are the priorities of Corp America, which is the only “constituency” that D.C. recognizes any longer.

  29. Mason says:

    Assuming for the sake of argument that everything Gibbs said is true, he was incredibly stupid to say it because he pissed off the left even more — less than eight weeks before the midterm election.

    Everything he said is not true, of course, which makes him a liar and an idiot, or twice an idiot if he believed the nonsensical garbage that he spewed.

    It’s depressing to see a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum dressed in a suit.

  30. onitgoes says:

    I don’t even count this as a “walk-back.” There was some outrage expressed at Gibbs giving progressives and others criticizing the BHO admin for the sh**-rotten job they’re doing for the “small people” who got these greedy bastards into the Whitehouse. So Gibbs trundles out to say ??? something or other because that’s what’s “expected” I guess.

    Gibbs gets it; he gets it fully. Gibbs ain’t in some “Washington DC bubble” or some “White House bubble.” No offense, but BHO and Gibbs be working for da man, and that “man” ain’t you or me. They’re clearly beholden to the banksters and Wall Street, and by this second, very viscious and verbally abusive attack on the “left,” BHO – via his mouthpiece Gibbs – is letting us dfh’s know exactly where we stand, and exactly whose @$$ BHO is kissing… and it ain’t ours.

    Just BHO and Gibbs doing their corporate masters’ bidding. Guess the corporte elites decided we dfh’s needed to be kicked into line or something. This second “commentary” barfed out by Gibbs is just Kabuki show; it’s the first commentary that carries the weight and has meaning.

  31. mocha says:

    I think it’s time for Gibbs, Rahm, Jarrett and maybe Axelrod to go. I don’t think they’re advising the President well. I was concerned when Jarrett said “we think exactly alike”. I took that to mean Jarrett has consiglieri’ed her way into convincing the President to always agree with her.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Obama is calling the shots. Never forget that. Those folks are there to take the heat.

      Gibbs is likely only repeating White House talk…a little bluntly.

      He might fire them all in Dec 2011 and then run 2012 with clean hands. :-)

      Boxturtle (What, you think any voter will remember anything like that 6 months afterward?)

  32. thatvisionthing says:

    From the Esquire story on the new Pat Tillman movie:

    But that we know the truth at all is owed to the extraordinary determination of Tillman’s family, a foulmouthed and eclectic bunch of square-jawed hippies from San Jose, California, and in particular his mother, Mary.

    Let us now praise square-jawed hippies.

  33. tjbs says:

    Hey gibbs,

    You list your 11 dimensional accomplishments as :

    a weapons system canceled that the Pentagon didn’t want

    Read that back to yourself 10 times to reveal the press master genius.

    Well duh and we’re the dopes ?

  34. maryo2 says:

    Gibbs is from Auburn, Alabama. I am personally offended that a person from Auburn would act like such a snob. I think he feels exactly the way he revealed. He thinks the center left is superior to the more left left. The left left just doesn’t get it, he thinks. “Those people” just don’t understand. Well f*ck him and the Massey Ferguson tractor he rode to DC on.

    • john in sacramento says:

      Does he even know what a Massey Ferguson is? (not a rhetorical question)

      Geezuz (not going off on you) he’s from Auburn? … I bet I have much more in common with the people of Auburn Alabama than he does (not the same specific experiences – like what schools I went to) or ever hopes to

      The same goes for George Bush and the people of Crawford. Has he ever been back to the studio photo-op backdrop called Crawford Texas?

      And the worst thing about that was the media stenographers letting themselves be used as propaganda tools, probably because they come from, and live in the same bubbleland as the rest of them. I don’t know how many times I saw hay bails behind Dubya when he was smirking about evil-doers and tax cuts. You would think that just once in a while those savvy people in the media would ask themselves why in the hell there are hay bails on a “ranch” with zero horses, and zero cattle. Funny, I don’t once remember him going back to the “ranch” to work cattle. I don’t remember him going back one time because it was calving season. I don’t remember him back one time because he had to plant or harvest something

      But he’s a “rancher” according to the gatekeepers of our information (… riiiiiiight, sure he is …)

      These people can kiss my ass. They look down on, and make fun of, what they call real people when they get behind closed doors

        • skdadl says:

          When I were a tad, it was Massey-Harris-Ferguson. One of the heirs to the Massey family fortune became governor general (Vincent); another was his actor brother Raymond, who played Lincoln in the movies. There are Massey mansions and colleges all over Toronto and environs. Life, eh?

  35. bobschacht says:

    Glenn Greenwald’s post today is, as usual, on target
    Robert Gibbs attacks the fringe losers of the left

    Here’s what struck me as a key sentence:

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

    I think what’s going on here is that Gibbs equates “progressives who organized, campaigned, raised money and ultimately voted for Obama” with the present membership of Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA). He probably thinks that because he hears no complaints from them, everything is hunky dory. The problem is that OFA is not structured to hear complaints. They are structured primarily to issue orders to the grassroots about how they should whip up support for Obama’s policies.

    I was at an OFA panel at Netroots Nation– I think it was “From Online to Offline: How OFA Leverages the Web and Social Wedia for Real World Organizing,” with Greg Greene, Jeremy Bird, Natalie Foster and Josh Hendler. They had a nice power point presentation, and every organizational flow chart had two-way arrows from bottom to top. But my experience (limited) is that the arrows coming down from the top is what I see, and any attempt to send messages upstream is resisted.

    Gibbs hasn’t heard contrary words because his OFA network is not built to receive contrary words.

    In 2008, there was a popular effort to provide citizen feedback to Obama: one was actually an official Obama website, perhaps part of, but it ain’t there no mo’. Another was a parallel, unofficial site that also was attempting to get people’s great ideas and prioritize them– something like but it was on a different website. [This website has the same format as the old Obama supporters website for prioritizing ideas, but looks like it has been hijacked by people with other interests.]

    What will allow you to do is use their blog to make critiques of Obama– and I’d suggest that you all join that, and speak your mind there. Let’s see how that works.

    Bob in AZ

    • Leen says:

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

      I don’t know what Rahm, Gibbs, Obama saw out there on the campaign trail? But I know what I saw. Lawyers,Docotrs, teachers, truck drivers, unioin members, students, grannies, Republicans working in the Gotv all over Ohio and in the 2 months I spent hitting the pavement in Denver. All kinds of folks mixing it up out working for Obama. Not necessarily because they were so excited about Obama (too many of us had watched him closely in the Senate, were not sure what the fuss was all about) but becasue of the disastrous results of eight years of the Bush administration.

      Granted the Dems have moved us forward on numerous issues (and many of us have been working our asses off too). But when you are rolling over hundreds of thousands of dead and tortured bodies as a direct result of wars based on packs of lies and not one person has been held accountable for those horrific crimes. I guess Rahm and team think we should just keep our heads up our asses, pedals to the metal driving to the mall and kiss the ground they walk on.

      thousnads are dead DEAD because of those lies. When will we witness any accountability?

      This moving forward focus keeps leaving trails of blood in the streets.

  36. TheOracle says:

    “I watch too much cable, I admit,” Gibbs told the Huffington Post. “Day after day it gets frustrating. Yesterday I watched as someone called legislation to prevent teacher layoffs a bailout – but I know that’s not a view held by many, nor were the views I was frustrated about.”

    Well, at least we now know why top Obama administration officials and the NAACP reacted the way they did on that Monday two weeks ago when Breitbart released his virulent video segment chopped from Shirley Sherrod’s speech, which Fox News and the equally virulent right-wing echo chamber picked up and ran with…someone in the White House and at the NAACP are watching way too much Fox Fraudcasting programming and/or listening to way too much right-wing radio.

    We know that the Bush/Cheney administration had all the televisions tuned into Fox Fraudcasting, and probably all radio dials turned to Rush Limbaugh (hey, why have hardcore right-wing media propaganda outlets, the “best” that conservative money can buy, and not tune into them, 24/7?), but the idea that anyone in the Obama administration or at the NAACP gets their “news” from Fox Fraudcasting or Rush Limbaugh is highly unsettling. And equally unsettling is that after being misled by a bunch of right-wing anti-American liars, these “progressives” JUMP, similar to what happened last year when so-called “progressive” leaders of Congress JUMPED after the fraudulent ACORN tapes were released, cutting off ACORN funding before all the facts were uncovered and determined, and the doctored ACORN tapes were revealed as complete and utter right-wing shams.

    I personally can’t watch Fox Fraudcasting. My brain can’t handle the barrage of cognitive-dissonance right-wing lies spewing past the forked tongues and out between the snake oil lips of the Fox Fraudcast “news” hosts’ mouths, minute after minute, day after day, week after week, month after month, inspired and supported by the warped and twisted minds of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. Thank God for Media Matters, FireDogLake and those who keep track of what Fox vomits out on the airwaves each day. But the idea that any liberal progressive laps up this Fox vomit and believes any of it, including anyone in the Obama administration, is not only disquieting but dangerous for our democracy.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      …but the idea that anyone in the Obama administration or at the NAACP gets their “news” from Fox Fraudcasting or Rush Limbaugh is highly unsettling.

      I doubt they get their news from Faux. They are probably monitoring the worldview that Faux spews daily.

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The petulance of the attack, the derision, the empty straw men of his polarized arguments are things one expects from Karl Rove and an administration that would hire him, not from a Democrat or from the Obama White House.

    Of course, Mr. Gibbs said none of this on his own account; he’s a gofer as much as is Tim Geithner. Don’t we really have Rahm and Obama to thank for such an unprofessional, undemocratic, UnDemocratic, bad civics and bad government outburst, designed once again to appease the right and alienate the left.

    I realize that Barack Obama chose as his Senate mentor Holy Joe Lieberman; but does he have to act like his twin?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          He might be, but mostly he’s the message carrier for Mr. Obama and his most senior advisers. Gibbs’ words were really theirs, weren’t they?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He made a strawman of DFH’s in many ways, saying that we want to ban the Pentagon when what most of us want is to stop devoting more resources to our military and intelligence industries (private and government) than the rest of the world combined.

        We don’t necessarily want Congressman Kucinich in the Oval Office, but he and Ms. Warren and Mr. Feingold might open the windows, and clean up the dust, popcorn, prophylactics and wads of cash left behind by an army of lobbyists that has grown no smaller since Mr. Bush left office.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I have been trying to get this across to a variety of people all day. Gibbs is merely the piano player, it is a waste of time and dilution of effect to shoot at him; the music/message was writ large by Obama, Rahm, Biden etc. The position and attack are from Obama and his team, not Gibbs personally.

      Focusing on Gibbs is fucking bogus; drop the buck where it stops.

  38. fatster says:

    Speaking of the good Dr. Dean, he is recruiting nowadays.

    “To further DFA’s goal of electing progressive Democrats at all levels of office in all 50 states, DFA is hiring, training and placing experienced and outgoing individuals to be organizers on key progressive campaigns.”

    • bobschacht says:

      DFA, of course, had a booth in the Exhibit Hall at Netroots Nation. Howard’s brother Jim was there a lot. Oddly, Progressive Democrats of America was not there– at least, I don’t remember seeing them. I think maybe they had their national convention back in Indiana or someplace on the same weekend.

      Bob in AZ

  39. jdmckay0 says:

    AFAIC, Gibb’s screed is an apt summation of BO’s actions, policies, decisions and attitude since the git-go… eg. after he seduced (lied) those working to elect dems. Immediately after election, w/first announcements of cabinet level appointments, things were pretty clear as to where BO was going to take things.

    Gibbs isn’t the decider, he works for that guy. I infer from his words that BO feels likewise… that America isn’t grateful enough, that we just don’t understand.

    Oh well.

  40. Leen says:

    “Obama reached out to the left — including through a private lunch with Maddow and other liberal commentators — earlier this summer.”

    Granted Rachel Maddow is left on “don’t ask don’t tell”, health care, and a few other issues. But I have heard her repeat the unsubstantiated claims about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. I have heard Rachel repeat the debunked (by Professor Cole) “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” horseshit on her program. I have watched her focus on Iranian protest and human rights issues while COMPLETELY IGNORING Palestinian human rights issues. Have your heard Rachel come close to saying how the Israeli lobby and Israel are pushing us closer to a confronation with Iran? Silence absolute SILENCE on the Goldstone Report. And this is what people call liberal? aye yi yi

    Rachel Maddow is clearly a Pep (progressive except for Palestine. No human rights issues there to report about.

    Not one of those MSNBC talking heads came close to reporting anything about the Goldstone Report or ongoing illegal settlements being built and expanded. Liberal? Hogwash. Complere horseshit

  41. pdaly says:

    Maybe pro-safety net for the middle class Elizabeth Warren is closer to being named chief of the proposed Consumer Protection Bureau than we think. News reports keep mentioning the pressure by progressives on the WH to name her, as well as Dr. Phil now.

    Maybe Obama, Geithner, and Wall St in general are getting pissy about this progressive potential win, because they haven’t figured out yet how to water down the effect such a Consumer Protection Bureau would have on the money making racket Wall St. has created to capture would be “prosumers” unawares. (the words prosumer has conflicting meanings, so I’ve linked to this one to signify the one I mean in this context).

    Geithner has this to say about Warren:

    “She, I think, would be a very effective, very capable leader of that new entity because she, more than almost anybody else in the country, was early and strong in pointing out the need for better consumer protection,” Geithner told the ABC News program “Good Morning America.” But he added, “The president hasn’t decided yet who’s going to lead this.”

    Gibbs had this to say about Warren (same link as above)

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later told reporters a decision on the consumer job was not imminent and would probably not come this week. He said he didn’t know whether President Barack Obama would make an announcement before he leaves for a 10-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard on Aug. 19.

    That leaves Obama and friendsters just 9 more days or a ruined vacation. No wonder they are angry.

  42. Leen says:

    When Obama/Gibbs start meeting with Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler, Phillip Weiss, Prof Cole then they will be meeting with liberal reps of change. Rachel Maddow is extremely selective and limited in what human rights issues she is willing to focus on. Corporate media owns Rachel

  43. fatster says:


    “In a surprise announcement, the Department of Justice announced today that Leondra Kruger, a 34-year-old assistant to the solicitor general, has been named acting principal deputy solicitor general — the so-called “political deputy” position under Acting SG Neal Katyal.”


  44. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Quite obviously, Mr. Obama’s electioneering skills were exceptional. His legal, political and administrative management of the federal executive has been pretty much a wet noodle. His principal leadership achievement in those areas has been to institutionalize, to assure the replication of, the prior bad acts of the prior administration.

    As Jane, EW and others have said, had Obama credibly tried to recover more energetically from the prior administration’s bad acts and failed owing to obstruction from that administration’s supporters, his most left-wing supporters would be applauding him and signing up to work against the GOP, and the monkey would have remained on the backs of the Obama administration.

    Obama chose to say to his Republican forebears, “Let me take those problems off your back and make them mine.” Doing the opposite, making the public keenly aware – as a matter of political strategy and responsible management – that those problems were created by the GOP and will take work and joint sacrifice to fix, would have left Mr. Obama two problems: The right would have been angry at him for spelling out to the nation the crap CheneyBush left in its wake. (See how nice they play and share with him for having done them such a huge favor?) And Mr. Obama would have been expected to have his own, separate agenda, which included cleaning up that ugly residue.

    Instead of making the clean-up act Job 1, the sort of thing candidate Obama promised to do, his political handlers articulated for him that that would “distract from his agenda”. They never said too clearly, though, what that unspoken agenda really was, in a way that matched their deeds. They implied what it might be, but their actions have been limited to following Goldman Scratch’s lead on financial issues, and following the CheneyBush playbook on legal issues.

    • Leen says:

      “Instead of making the clean-up act Job 1, the sort of thing candidate Obama promised to do, his political handlers articulated for him that that would “distract from his agenda”. They never said too clearly, though, what that unspoken agenda really was, in a way that matched their deeds.”

      And the working class along with leftie professionals all know down deep that the absence of accountability for the crimes committed during the Bush administration has been extremely corrosive. There is really no way to really move forward without accountabiliy or at the very least effort made. From the folks in the nursing homes that I am spending time with to the coal miners in SE Ohio that I was talking with in Glouster Ohio the other day…everyone knows the Bush administration has gotten away with horrific crimes.

      Moving forward while stepping over the hundreds of thousands of unnecessary dead and injured in Iraq rings hollow. Even if many Americans are unable to articulate just why they have no faith in our leaders

    • Jesterfox says:

      I think you meant

      and the monkey would have remained on the backs of the Obama Bush administration.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      What you have summarized, in my opinion, is an oversimplifcation of the facts to fit your narrative.

      There is truth in what you said, but Obama was faced with a fucking financial meltdown and an entrenched, in-your-face Republican minority.

      This country is divided, any Democatic legislation is an improvement.

      Sure, in retrospect, he should have done things better.

      In my view, this constant nagging is counterproductive.

      • Mary says:

        I think the oversimplification is maybe more in your comment, which reduces any criticism of what Obama is doing (much of which has nothing to do with an in-your-face Republican minority or a financial meltdown) into the talking point of “bad financial times, bad Republicans, therefor nothing is Obama’s fault.”

        That doesn’t work. He promised transparency – we didn’t get it. It would have been very interesting, for example, if he had come out full square for a Krugmanesque program, then, just as publically, had the program pulled back and down to what it is because of Republican pushback – if he’d staked his territory first as to what he thought was necessary. But then, of course, you’d have to do what leadership requires and be willing to take the hit if you’re wrong. If he had pushed for the bigger bailout first and explained publically why it was necessary, then explained publically that Republicans just wouldn’t allow the necessary program at the necessary level to go through, he’d be in a different position now.

        But it isn’t on that front that he is really getting so much pushback and certainly not where he is getting his comparisons to Bush. It’s on the things that are within his control that he gets the criticism and especially on the things where he very much tried to engage in coverup politicking. He never allowed his opt out of the public option to come out, even when he had already traded the baby away up front. Instead, despite campaigning on it and despite campaigning on transparency, he was cutting a deal that was a stupid deal to boot and he didn’t even cut members of Congress in on the deal. So in addition to a stupid deal – one that traded away the only “centrist” position that had overwhelming support in the program – he also stupidly put Dems who were out there working hard for not only their constituents but, they thought, their President’s campaign promises – he very stupidly put them in a crappy crappy crappy position. ANd he learned nothing from it.

        He had a forever campaign period, during which time he had some of the best advisors anyone could have offer up their input, to actually come up with some plans on how he was going to deal with things, but instead he opted for empty rhetoric with no plans, leading to a pen flourish moment on “closing GITMO” but with Congress having the very real response “so, ok, if you want to do that, what’s the plan?” ANd he still has no plan – just a hodgepodge assortment of assertions of Presidential power, assertions of US military power over all Muslims anywhere in the world, assertions of Executive power to conduct torture based trials, and a Streetcar Named GetemouttaGITMO where he goes around the world looking for either countries to bail him out or even, as with Naji, disappear his problems for him, all so he never, ever ever ever has to actually DEAL with the problems.

        GITMO required, flat out REQUIRED – a President who would have released the Aug 2002 CIA memo explaining to the WH that a lot of mistakes were at GITMO; sat down and explained to the US public that while we had some bad guys, we also had some people who were mistakenly purchased and treated very very badly and that this is the very reason why trials are needed.

        It would also have benefitted if he had explained that there are some serious issues involving the use extraordinary rendition and the use of even bad guys, like al-Libi, to put one over on the world – again why we need trials and not Executive black holes; and explained that we have been in Afghanistan so long now without accomplishing the purpose of the original AUMF (capturing Bin Laden) and with so many changes in mission and approach that the purpose of the original AUMF is being subsumed by having to deal, day in and day out, with the worldwide fallout from having America’s Executive abandon the Geneva Conventions and Torture Conventions and how it has convinced many that the only justice for Muslims who are being denied access to courts and even protections of the Geneva Conventions and Torture Conventions, is to take matters in their own hands. So we either need a new AUMF that is much much much expanded in scope (and you know the Republicans wouldn’t want to give that to him) or a complete revamp of our approach to institute use of military force directed to accmplishing the AUMF and limited by the Geneva Conventions and Torture Act and a re-commitment to the rule of law and the transparency of the judicial system.

        It wasn’t Republicans or Congress or an economic crisis that set the path of the invocations of states secrets and privilege that Obama continued in case after case, from torture cases through habeas cases through unconstitutional surveillance cases. It wasn’t Republicans or Congrss or an economic crisis that made the arguments that lawyers should be jailed for representing the wrong clients – it wasn’t Republicans or COngress or an economic crisis that sold the courts on Obama’s right to kidnap or purchase people from around the world and take them to Bagram to put them outside of the reach of habeas so he could do whatever he wanted; it wasn”t Republicans or Congress or an economic crisis that caused Obama to threaten the UK directly to try to keep the US torture invovlement in Binyam Mohamed’s case under wraps; it wasn’t REpublicans or Congress or an econmic crisis that caused Obama to begin to seek and assert Executive powers much greater than even Bush had asserted – from assasination plans for Americans to increased whistleblower harassment to increased unconstitutional surveillance to having his DOJ refuse to anything but inhoused investigations of its horrible cadre of torture lawyers.

        That’s just a few things, off the cuff. He not only weilds incredible and individual power, he has flat out asserted claims to power way beyond what Bush ever even asserted. Based on the REALITY of what he is doing and has done, vs. the rhetorical flourishes and talking points of ‘poor me, the Republicans are just so much stronger than me that I can’t do the right thing ever’ – he’s not leader and isn’t worthy of a vote.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Good points.

          He doesn’t deserve your vote.

          So give me a person that does?

          I like Weiner from NYawk…

          • bmaz says:

            I dunno exactly; unfortunately I am much better at pointing out what is wrong than engineering a plan to fix it. And, the reality is, a primary effort would likely go nowhere I suppose. But, in answer to your question, for what it is worth, I think it is time for a woman to take a stab at the job of President – beyond time – and I rather like the principles and voice of Elizabeth Warren. A lot, I think she is the real deal. Marcy met her in person and had a good chat with her at NN and what she reported really solidified what my impression was. She has every element you could ask for in a candidate, but I am not so starry eyed or radical as to believe -yet – that any such effort is viable. It may be getting there rapidly, or it may not be, I just don’t know. But I know this, it is far more than Obama/Gibbs’ insolence, we have real and concrete problems that are crumbling the very foundation of this country and they are being blithely ignored and/or worsening.

            • bobschacht says:

              What I like about Warren is her awareness of what her ancestors went through in hard times. She can relate to that, and speaks passionately about it (and did so at NN). She remembers, and respects, her roots, which are not all that different from mine. She is, indeed, the real deal. I’d vote for her for any office, including President.

              Bob in AZ

          • jerryy says:

            Clarence Page, Alan Grayson, Bob Herbert, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Elizabeth Warren…

            Any of these folks would be better than what we have now.

            • bobschacht says:

              Clarence Page, Alan Grayson, Bob Herbert, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Elizabeth Warren…

              I think this belongs on those intelligence tests that asks, “Which person does not belong on this list?”

              I’d answer “Clarence Page.” Or am I missing something?

              Bob in AZ

          • Mary says:

            Deep EPU, but if you’re around I have to say that I’m not going to buy into that framing – the “so give me a person who does” or the modification at 169 of, “Provide me with a candidate in 2012 that will provide more fire power for what you desire?”

            That’s not really the choice – finding someone who is going to have more “firepower” to make change than Obama. He went in with plenty of firepower – more than any other president I can remember except Ronnie. The framing I pick isn’t going to get sidetracked into who is more likely to win, more likely to do something decent, when it is a pretty proven matter that neither Republican nor Democratic candidates will be decent.

            I think the framing has to be bigger picture and longer game, and has to be personal. Really and truly – it has to be a matter of what is or isn’t important to you individually and what you are willing to sacrifice to get there. If the major candidates are crap for what is important to you, you have to go third party. If you are just po’ed and have no convictions that are truly being trampled, then you go with the flow.

            Mine have been trampled – with my eyes open I admit; I never had faith in Obama as a good man but he had so many lovely and wonderful people willing to work so hard for him, and I’m not living in Delphi, so I had to give them (more so than him) the benefit of the doubt.

            So for me it’s third party time all the way down the line, except maybe in very local races. And I’m no longer buying into the fear framing that the Dems have used as effectively as Republicans, but with the Republicans using terruhists and socialists and guns while the Dems use Republicans and Palin and the Sup Ct and Federal Courts.

            I know a LOT of voters (bc of they kinds of people I know) who go Dem over and over more for issues like USAs and especially lifetime judicial appointments and DEFINITELY Sup Ct appointments, but I have to say that while Obama may (or may not, who knows) have put someone on the S Ct now who is more likely to support gay marriage rights (and so, if that’s something that’s more important to you than anything, maybe you make the accomodations to back him, even with his betrayals on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and other issues), he’s basically put on someone that I am as unhappy with as I can imagine being over anyone McCain would have picked. So now that has happened, I really just don’t care if Republicans win anymore. All I care about is not voting for evil A over evil B and I’ll third party or write in with candidates that have no “firepower” if that’s the only vote that doesn’t creep me out.

            When people do things as outright evil as plot assasinations and torture cover ups from the WH – you don’t vote for them as the evil-lite option. Remember when we had a nation amazed at the possiblity of a bungled burglary coming from the WH? And now, BECAUSE of the Dems, who have never tried to stand for anything, we have a nation that shrugs over assassinations and disappeared children all being directed from the WH. You don’t vote for either of the vehicles that drove us there in my book.

            fwiw, ymmv.

      • bmaz says:

        And the overt hatred for fellow members of the Democratic party by Obama et. al is not counterproductive? There is a distinct disdain, disingenuousness and arrogance about Obama toward a significant and active portion of his own base; if he gives no respect, he should not be shocked that that which he receives is declining rapidly. I won’t shut up, and people that want me to can blow.

        And the feigned impotence because of the big hoary right is a fucking sick joke; look what Bush was able to do with far smaller majorities. It is not obstruction preventing Obama from being great, it is lack of desire and cowardice.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          I believe your are over-reacting.

          Hate is a strong word, he doesn’t hate…

          You can’t take back your vote, at least cut him some slack, like

          you would like slack cut to you, in similiar circumstances.

          Provide me with a candidate in 2012 that will provide more fire power

          for what you desire?

          Is there one?

          • bmaz says:

            And I think “fucking retards” and “crazy” and “drug addled” are pretty hateful. What do you call it? And why at this point do I owe him “slack”?

            • BayStateLibrul says:

              Cuz deep down inside, you are a Hippie (remember the love?) just kidding.

              Agreed. I like Warren and it’s time for a woman.

              When will the cuffs be placed on the Rocket?

              • R.H. Green says:

                “When will the cuffs be placed on the Rocket?”

                What are you smoking? If you mean by the Rocket,what I think you do, you must realize that the rocket takes the boy where he wants to go. The cuffs are in his desk drawer and they can be pulled out any minute. Now the excuse list is expanded from unpredicted bad economy and bad Repubicans, to include bad staff? The boy is self-indulgently unaccountable; this was clear as far back as the pre-election FISA Reform vote.

  45. bobschacht says:

    With the brouhaha about Charlie Rangel & Maxine Waters, if Holder has any Republican indictments waiting for approval on Obama’s desk, wouldn’t this be a good time to bring them up?

    Bob in AZ

  46. Mary says:

    It’s really all such an echo of Bush and Iraq, isn’t it? Assassains Gate has lots of passages about Bush planning the Iraq war (nothing about guys like Fareed going over for secretly plotting sessions that they would end up hiding from their readers while they dutifully sold the war). One that stood out was how Bush kept pushing to get his bubbling fonts to tell him that the Iraqis would “be grateful” I guess Jeff would be the better source on this, but for just my everyday take, both Bush and Obama have always struck me as guys who never got what they needed from daddy.

    bmaz is right that it isn’t Gibbs per se, though, it’s that Obama has built his own bubble, one where the Presidency is the equivalent of a begnin dictatorship and everyone should be so grateful that the PResident who has his own private torturers that he let walk and who had his own Yale and Harvard deans telling him he can assassinate Americans without check – everyone should be grateful that guy lets them speak.

    I think it explains a bit about why they are so nastily vicious with the whistleblowers they have at their mercy now – whipping boys for their frustrations.

    I just can’t get my head around the people who lined up and still do line up to work in “intel” that is nothing more than torture and presidential posturing and “justice” that is nothing more than criminal planning and viciousness – judicial and extrajudicial – vented on people who really were trying to do the right thing. I guess the same things that make working for criminal, torture regimes attractive to you, make crucifying the men and women who were better than you – and their families – so much fun.

  47. Justinajustice says:

    Gibbs’s arrogance is exceeded only by his political stupidity. The people he insulted are the same people who walked every precinct knocking on doors and phone-banked to elect his boss. Rahm called us “retarded”, while Gibbs called us drug-addled “hippies”. Brilliant politics to pick fights with those who consistently did the hard work for your presidential campaign, especially on the eve of difficult mid-term election. Perhaps these folks truly are out to destroy the traditional Democratic Party?

    This arrogance highlights the fact that the former Rockefeller Republicans, having been ousted by the religious conservatives from the Republican Party, have now, under their rubric of the DLC, taken over the leadership of the Democratic Party.

    We got Governor Dean, member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, elected to chair the DNC once, time to do it again. We need to send Gibbs, Emanuel and their corporate leader, Obama, back to the Republican wilderness where they belong.

    • Leen says:

      “retarded drug addicted hippies” / “professional left” which is it?

      All I know is what I have witnessed way up close over the last 10 years is that people have been crawling out of the cracks trying to stand up to the illegal, immoral and destructive policies of the Bush administration.

      Old as the hills teamsters, other union members, Vets, teachers, grannies, students, hell freaked out Republicans the last two election cycles have been pounding the pavement etc for Dems. This response has not been isolated to one easily defined group.

      Gibbs, Rahm and team trying to define and isolate is a mistake. If they want to harness this energy again they are going to need to have something more than “look at the alternative”

  48. timbo says:

    Oh, it’s starting to sink in. The economy isn’t going to keep propping up the lies coming from Wallstreet and Washington much longer.