Sunday, August 15, 2010

Robert Gibbs’ Strange Outburst at the “Professional Left”

It’s much ado about nothing in the grand scheme of things. Mostly, it’s one of those stories that resonate inside the beltway, like a giant particle accelerator whipping overheated matter and energy around the nation’s capital before dissipating of its own accord. As beltway particle accelerator stories go, this one fell short of the breathless POLITICO feverish critical mass and Armaggeddon standard.

Still, while generally a yawner, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s General McChrystal moment last week had its teachable nuggets. For the Left, “professional” or not, there was mostly bemusement at gaining such an elevated station in Gibby’s eyes. Michael Moore said it was the first time he’d heard the Left referred to as “professional” so he wasn’t sure he’d take offense. Gibby said he watched too much cable (‘because he had to’?), hence that nasty MSNBC trio (who else is there?) must be responsible. Although I’m not quite sure where Gibby heard President Obama compared to George W. Bush. For once, Gibbs left the wingnuts speechless when he said we ought to be “drug tested” and would only be satisfied if “Dennis Kucinich was president.”

Gibbs cried into his beer that we in the Left weren’t being good little foot soldiers like the Fox-Republican-wingnut axis when the Unitary Executive-Patriot Act torturers were in power. As if to justify the White House selling out to corporate interests, Gibbs was dismayed that we might look favorably on Canadian-style (Medicare) universal healthcare. Why is the happiness index of Canadians and every other country that provides universal healthcare to its people higher than the U.S.’s? And they live on average three-to-five years longer than us, too. Only in this country would aspiring to the pursuit of happiness, the American Dream, stolen from us by modern, healthy, affluent, HAPPY 21st Century states be considered a sign of drug-induced madness. We get the fife-and-drum crowd with the powdered whigs (sp. intentional) -- but Robert Gibbs?

Ultimately, Gibbs’s frustration is one of perception. He thinks that the non-professional coalition of netroots, young people, students, and community activists differs in its attitudes from the so-called “professional Left.” Well, he’s wrong and he needs to step outside and test the winds. Just because we like the President personally and write nice things to him on his birthday doesn’t mean we agree with the White House when they continue to push half-measures and incremental change, while caving to those who wish only to see the President fail.

There was calculation in Gibbs’s outburst. It wasn’t entirely spontaneous. The next day he did not apologize or walk back his remarks. But he’s miscalculated the level of discontent out in the netroots that were key to the President’s election. And Robert, FYI, Firedoglake is the libertarian “Left” and Jane Hamscher’s patron, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, is a libertarian conservative with an agenda that is closer to the Pauls (Ron and Rand) and Republican Ayn Rand follower Paul Ryan’s slash-and-burn voodoo economics than to the President’s.

So you might have your labels mixed up if you believe a wingnut site’s hilarious labeling of Ratigan as a liberal. Ratigan has so much wingnuttery bottled up inside just waiting to burst out that he lashes out at the White House in barely coherent rants while the Mike Pences of this world suck up to him as an expert on economics. The absolute pits is Ratigan appropriating a Truman quote to spread his libertarian bullshit. When Truman said, “I don’t give ‘em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell” ... he was attacking a Republican Congress not unlike the GOP bastards who populate it today.

If that’s Robert’s complaint, then I’m totally with you, pal. Labels don’t matter much, it’s true, unless you totally get them wrong.


JimboW8 said...

I think you mean "Unitary Executive." A Unitarian Executive would be a much different thing.

Carlos said...

Ha. You're right ... Freudian slip already corrected!