I was all set to launch a long, snarky piece about Robert Gibbs’ Steve Slater wigout against the “Professional Left” and how some of them need to be drug-tested. I was even going to say that if this is how the Obama administration plans to lurch to the center amid shoveling $10 billion or so to the unions so as to boost Democrat campaign funding in the mid-term elections, they’re even dumber politically than we thought. And I was going to use that as a springboard to an aside about how, if these clowns are this bad and actually won the election, just how horrid is John McCain after all?
But it turns out I don’t really have to write all that stuff. Jim Geraghty at National Review’s Morning Jolt has already done it for me.
As I declared on Twitter last night, one interpretation of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s lashing out at what he calls “the professional Left” is that the Obama administration has, all too late, awakened and smelled the coffee, and is now trying to shift back to the center; the midterm elections are shaping up to be catastrophic for the Democrats, and the White House wants to mitigate the damage. But a deeper interpretation is that Gibbs is a congenital whiner.
The lefty blogs were, predictably, outraged — let’s face it, these guys greet the sun rising in the east with outrage every morning — but the reaction among the righties ranged from gloating to mockery to predictions of Gibbs’s departure. I’m a bit surprised no one actually defended his position, but I suppose the entire controversy starts from the premise that disapproval from “professional liberals” is a serious problem for President Obama. In the history of the modern presidency, very few activists have ever felt completely satisfied with the president they helped elect. Don’t believe me? The Washington Post, July 21, 1981, in an article about conservative response to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court: “For some of the most vocal leaders of the New Right movement, the nomination was the latest in a series of slights and insults they have suffered from Reagan advisers which raise questions in their minds about whether the president is really their kind of conservative.”
I guess those in Washington who aren’t liberal bloggers tuned out the complaints of liberal bloggers long ago; everyone else is surprised that Gibbs worries about it.
Mary Katharine Ham: “Washington was hot today, and Democrats were tearing at each other’s hair like a clatch of tween frenemies fighting for the front row at a Justin Bieber mall appearance. . . . Understandably, those who would totally be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich were merely head of HHS were tweaked by the press secretary’s mischaracterization of their position. So, then FireDogLake was all, ‘So, you have to be on drugs to want a single-payer health care plan. Was Obama on drugs in 2003?’ Oh, snap!”
At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson is in full gloat mode: “I haven’t had so much fun since never. . . . Oh, and no, you can’t get your money back. He broke you, now he owns you. If I were you, I’d stay home in November. It’s all you have Left.”
At The American Spectator, Joseph Lawler wonders if Gibbs has reached burnout: “It’s enough to make one wonder about the wisdom of maintaining the same press secretary for over a year. Gibbs’s job is to deflect tough questions and to withhold information that people really want. Given enough time in this role, he was bound to develop some animosity with his toughest critics. Now that animosity has surfaced, and it’s Obama who must deal with the fallout.”
At Hot Air, Allahpundit wonders: “He duly walked back his Kinsleyan gaffe a few hours later, insisting that he spoke ‘inartfully‘because he watches too much cable or whatever. Laying aside the fact that it’s moronic to antagonize your base three months before a major election, a simple question for you: Is he right about lefties never being happy with The One or not? PPP reports today that Obama’s support among liberals has been both very high and very consistent, topping out near 90 percent. (Then again, Gibbs made clear he wasn’t talking about liberals generally, just the ones who make their living whining about politics.)”
Gabe Malor, writing at Ace of Spades, expects Gibbs’s departure: “I’m surprised he lasted this long. After his hilarious ‘Baghdad Gibbs’ start, he settled mainly for answering press questions with variations of ‘I’ll have to look into that’ and ‘I left that information in my other pants.'”
Allahpundit wonders: “Gibbs’s comments would have generated the best JournoList thread evah, huh?” Way to go, Tucker Carlson.
I don’t want Gibbles gone, though – for the same reason I don’t want Salazar, Napolitano, Emanuel, Holder or Geithner gone. I’m into albatrosses. I’d like Obama to have a whole necklace of albatrosses hanging on him, so he looks like some Thuggee witch doctor from one of the Indiana Jones movies. Unlike those other incompetents, see, Gibbsy doesn’t actually hurt the country by being incompetent. He just hurts the administration. And while I accept the criticism of my stance that Salazar and Holder do real damage – which I counter by saying so would the next guy, since the problem isn’t the underlings but Obama himself, and what we’re looking for is the highest political price to be paid and that won’t come if some lesser-known lefty loon were to continue the same policies – in Gibblets’ case the only damage I see will be to Obama if he sticks around. Why, if the fools at Democrat Underground and the Daily Kos and the other “Professional Left” cabal jettison from the Hopenchange brigades because of the Gibbster, like Dick Morris says there is virtually no floor to Obama’s approval ratings.
So here’s hoping for a speedy rehabilitation, followed by more Charlie Foxtrots from the Walrus of Auburn.