Time for Gibbs to fail upward

Robert Gibbs is not an uncommon operative. He's proved himself a professional laggard at understanding new media over the years. After failing at his job to stop Dean in 2004 while John Kerry's communications director, he failed upward to become the spokesperson for the Gephardt-led Torricelli-financed infamous hit-job Osama bin Laden ad that cycle. This is where Gibbs has made his expertise plain-- bashing the Democratic partisan progressive.

Obama liked what he saw. So for the past 6 years, Gibbs has been the voice of Obama. There's little doubt they get along great in private, and anyone who thinks that Gibbs is voicing something that Obama himself doesn't also voice has loyalty that's beyond mere stupidity.

Gibbs has been prepped for a while now to become a more "senior adviser" to Obama. It's well-known that he's slated become the chief strategist once Axelrod leaves the WH, and for the '12 re-election. Does this endanger that role? Put another way, has there been a peep of his being in dis-conjunct with Obama? Beltway mentality, Brooks & Gergen, without a doubt, have told Obama that Gibbs is correct.

If anything, this will likely turn out to be part of the "new reality" tapestry after the post-'10 blowout of the Democrats by the Republicans. The fault of the '10 losses will be the professional left.

There's actually some truth to that reality. The combined strategy of tarring Tea Partiers and beating the straw out of Bush again has been in play for over a year now, as the main oppositional message of attack, with no tangible results (I would argue its actually empowered conservatives and enlarged their megaphones). Remember when Rush Limbaugh was going to be made the face of the Republican Party? Yea, right.

So for all the professional cable blowhards that has been participating in that strategy, then yea, own up. Its time to fail upward, right alongside Gibbs.

That said, the failure of this tar & stick attack has to be understood within the failure of the Democratic trifecta. A party in power, or any politican, can only run effectively for re-election on their record. Anything else admits failure at the onset, and expects the voter to embrace a lesser argument than achievement.

Democrats had another route. They should have said no to the bank bailouts; the stimulus should have been less about funding status quo and more about innovation; healthcare reform should not have turned out to be a mandate of buying corporate insurance; pulling out of Iraq should not have become the bait to switch on the the surge in Afghanistan.

You can argue the opposite, and many Democrats did as these happened. Certainly Robert Gibbs falls in that camp. In both practice and politics, the facts now show those people were wrong. There's not a record of accomplishment to run on.

So now, in the face of that failure, and the impending '10 losses, bozo the spokesman blames the ones that argued to take the other route-- for not cheerleading their failure enough.

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Problem here is the arrogance

The inner circle is too arrogant to acknowledge that the "professional left" were right. We have billions of bailout dollars unaccounted for as Elizabeth Warren testified (needless to say that's the reason the WH inner circle hates her, because she has guts), a mandate that no one likes and will likely face multiple legal challenges (and may even fall to that), a stimulus that was too small and filled with goodies for Republicans (none of whom voted for it anyway), a stagnant economy with booming Wall Street profits, an interior department that is just as incompetent and corrupt as it was under Bush, broken promises to gays and latinos, and a WH inner circle that still caters more to the right than to its base. I guess they are so insulated in the echo chamber reading glowing reports by professional hacks like Jonathan Alter, that they don't realize that there is a discontent base that might not turn out for them anymore. They can blame the professional left all they want but if the Democrats lose in 2010, it's because the professional left did not spend their time, money and effort like they did in 2008, while the center right that this administration caters to just gave them a big fat middle finger.

As for Robert L. Gibbs, he belongs in a striped clown suit and not in the WH, but hey stranger things have happened.

by tarheel74 2010-08-12 10:16AM | 0 recs
If the Democrats lose in 2010 ...

If the Democrats lose in 2010, it more than anything will not be because progressives did or did not do anything.  It likely will be because the adminstration misjudged the severity of the Great Recession, relied on Summers and Geithner, and pursued too small of a stimulus.  

People need jobs.  In the end, this adminsitration and Dem Congress will be judged on that.




by TomP 2010-08-12 03:11PM | 1 recs
Politics can be simple if you keep it simple

First of all, I will admit that the professional left as Gibbs likes to call them will most certainly demand that Obama implement policies that are to the left of the general population's ideas and probably obama's. That doesn't mean most of them are angry at Obama because he didn't follow every single one of them. It's that he doesn't follow MOST of them, even those that are common sense non-ideological related demands like a watchdog over Wall Street which most Americans support. Plus, it is the professional left's DUTY to espouse ideological related policies because no one else will promote those causes. It is upto the President to sift through them and find acceptable versions of them after doing a sincere job of trying to sell the ones that pass the cmmon sense test. And I do not think Obama has done that. He has given up on many of them after doing a very lame initial selling job of some of those causes.


The funny thing is Obama sacrificed a lot of political capital over the bank bailouts and healthcare reform(I know of quite a few conservative bosses taunting Obama in front of their employees over increased premiums next year, including mine). Thanks for nothing. While the effectiveness of the two policies have been debatable(I personally dislike the bank bailout and am clueless but skeptical about the healthcare reform), we do know that Obama could have led on some liberal positions that would actually have earned him some net goodwill if he had the courage to sell them well to the public. Something like healthcare reform has been explained so badly by the adminsistration that liberals are being blamed for a bill that is debatable on who it actually helps. Conservatives HATED the auto bailout. Hell some independents (and some fiscal moderates like me were skeptical too). But that seems to be one issue where Obama did the right thing. You don't hear much talk about that auto bailout hurting him now. So imagine if Obama led on other liberal issues that have been neglected for years.

Is the professional left  to blame for the bashing of Obama on BP? It wasn't just liberal pundits, but almost all Americans who were not right wing shills that bashed Obama for being too soft on this issue. It's funny, but this was the only issue where right wingers were actually divided on whether to bash the government for not doing enough on this.

The majority of the mainstream moderates just want to be led with confidence. If any idea is good, whether it is from the right or the left,  it is upto the politician to sell the idea to the public. Bush did a much better job selling his ideas and even got reelected mainly because he showed a lot of confidence in his ideas and it took moderates a long time to finally realize the true extent of how costly the Iraq war has been.

I am moderate who has been aligning with the professional left a lot these last eight years because they have been right on the issues that are of the most pressing concern right now. If Obama wants to disagree with the left, why is there a need to bash them? If he is willing to suck Lieberman's *&$# for politics, why isn't it good politics to treat the left with respect? Like it or not, the right think of Obama as a socialist. Bashing the left may seem like a good short term tactic, but it still wont change people's perceptions of him and will actually make their old smears of him more potent becuase his people are also joining in the bashing of the left. Besides, people like Huffington, Feingold, Olbermann and Al Franken(the type of liberals Gibbs is no doubt alluding to) are hardly prime choices to edit www.counterpunch.com.

If an idea is good, do not worry whether it is from the left. If Obama is truly a great communicator, as his advisors like to sell you as, then he should be able to sell liberal policies that also meet the overdue common sense ones that are universal. Obama so far has failed in that regard.


by Pravin 2010-08-12 10:18AM | 0 recs
OK, my previous comment was longwinded

Here is a simpler message to Obama and his people. Your only ally on cable news is the so called professional left. Regardless of the criticism you faced from them in the past, you want to alienate the only people who are going to bat for you against the birthers and racists on FOX NEWS which is the most watched cable "news' network? CNN wont. You are going to disrespect a section of your voters so much that you are in danger of creating another nader like spoiler in 2012??? What are your objectives with this kind of messaging? LIKE IT OR NOT, YOU ARE PERCEIVED TO BE A LIBERAL. DO NOT FUCK UP THAT BRAND NAME WITH YOUR SURROGATES BASHING LEADERS AND COMMENTATORS  WHO ARE LIBERAL. BECAUSE THAT IS AN INDIRECT BASHING OF YOURSELF.

by Pravin 2010-08-12 10:31AM | 1 recs
RE: Time for Gibbs to fail upward

Dead on.  "Democrats had another route. They should have said no to the bank bailouts; the stimulus should have been less about funding status quo and more about innovation; healthcare reform should not have turned out to be a mandate of buying corporate insurance; pulling out of Iraq should not have become the bait to switch on the the surge in Afghanistan." Dead on Jerome. Obama's handling of all these issues has proven to be exactly the opposite of what he claimed to stand for. The bailouts, stimulus and continued spending that benefits no one but the wealthy and corporate America are a betrayal of the american people.

We didnt get a new kind of politics, we got the same kind of lying politician. There is no way we should support this guy for relection. Nor will I support it him.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-08-12 12:47PM | 0 recs
Not surprised...

Ever click on the "contact me" button on the Whitehouse's comment page? Ever get a response? Did they ever contact you? I have and I've never gotten a response -- yet. Of course, if maybe I had been a sycophantic, pie-eyed, you're-so-great-Mr. President" type, I probably would have gotten a really nice reply.  But since I'm a strong liberal supporter of the President who is severely disappointed that he has chosen to abbrogate his contract with the American people and not live up to the promises he made in his election campaign, I am now a "drug using, crazy" who needs to be disrespected and ignored. I am to be taken for granted because they think I will be forced to vote for them again, no matter how bad or disrespectful they are to me and my brothers and sisters on the Left. 

They somehow think we can be punched and thrown under the bus, but that we'll just crawl out and say "can I have another, Mr. President?" And then when the election results in November show the stupidity of their plan to dis us, they will try to lay the blame at our feet for not being there in large numbers for them! What fools! 

If only they would attack their opposition half as energetically as they attack their own base, we might not be in such jeopardy of losing control of the Congress this November. If only they had done half of what they promised us they would do if they took office, the American people might be thinking how stupid it would be to go back to the idiocy of the rightwing nutjobs and Tea Party wackos. But alas, they have wasted so much time and capital on trying to appease and assuage the very people whose agenda it is to see their downfall, while lobbying attack after attack at the very base that supports them and helped them take office. That is shere lunacy, my friend!

Now instead of apologizing publicly for the unwarranted and ill-considered slams against us, the liberal left, they double down and ante up for more insults, and then taunt us by saying, "Where else will they go in November?" We don't have to go anywhere, Mr. President. In fact, we can just stay home and let you try to garner a working majority out of the righties you seem to love so much. Sad, sad, sad!



by mcarnes 2010-08-12 04:20PM | 1 recs
This Whitehouse

Has squandered so many opportunities.


The newest one - the possible permanent advantage among the nation's fastest-growing voting bloc.

According to Gallup, Hispanic Approval of Obama is down to 52% from a high of 82%, and is in fact down 20 point just this year.

Deportations are way up, Congress just passed a $600 Million Border Security bill, and Spanish-language media has been crucifying Obama:



With the crazy hatred from the GOP, the opportunity to cement support from Hispanics was set up perfectly, and the Democrats are screwing it up.





by jeopardy 2010-08-12 05:51PM | 0 recs
RE: This Whitehouse

Yea, and its still their mindset-- that Latino voters will make up the Independent loss for the '12 re-election. The '10 OFA strategy is a big part of mobilizing Latino voters that haven't voted previously, through anger against the AZ immigration bill SB1070, in the SW. It was hatched as a response to not doing immigration reform. Obviously, they didn't have this in mind with having to battle.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-12 08:55PM | 1 recs
Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

What should we be doing?  I see that our trajectory is already set in terms of Primaries (Bennet in CO, Lincoln in AR for example).  So should we hand the Republican's a big victory by sitting out of 2010 or should we hold our noses and support the tone deaf Dems through another election?  Doing the former would keep a Republican Senate from trying to impeach Obama, doing the later would allow us to focus resources and energy on consistent messaging and drafting better Democrats in 2012.

That's really the question at hand right now.  Where do you stand?

by jlars 2010-08-12 06:12PM | 0 recs
RE: Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

I'm ready to refrain from voting for Democrats for the first time in my life.

by jeopardy 2010-08-12 06:36PM | 0 recs
RE: Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

I doubt it will matter much here, in the VA 8th where Jim Moran is pretty solid. I expect he'll be winning in double-digits again. I remember though, that I had checked out in '93-'94, just reading about the blowout the week after, and not really thinking about it much-- I imagine that reflects alot of the mindset of those who are not going to vote. They've already checked out.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-12 08:59PM | 0 recs
RE: Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

But one of these days you guys are going to have to shift from pitiful confusion to full opposition to Obama. He's not on our side, and he never has been. ( I should have voted for Ralph Nader.)

That post was a damned good start though. 

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-13 06:53AM | 0 recs
RE: Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

I'd love to get a primary challenger to Obama; and I am not going to be surprised to see a 3rd Party candidate, maybe progressive-libertarian emerge in '12 either.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-13 03:01PM | 0 recs
RE: Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

Have you wrote extensively about this? Cause if so that'd be great.

by Jack Landsman 2010-08-15 07:51PM | 0 recs
RE: Okay, so we all know that Obama/Gibbs are Failing

Just a bit. I wrote about the lack of a primary challenger to Obama a while back, for the '12 primaries. But basically, I think the ingredients are there, if the GOP nominates someone like Romney, for a different kind of independent candidate to emerge. Will try to follow up.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-17 06:24AM | 0 recs
He hit the nail on the head.

Get over it.

by JimR 2010-08-13 03:12PM | 0 recs

Anybody have any idea why Obama has been resisting nominating Elizabeth Warren? She literally wrote the book on the stuff she would be doing, and seems extremely well-respected by just about everybody.

The base would love it, he's be nominating somebody extremely qualified.... and the only ones that wouldn't like it is Wall Street, who Obama doesn't care about, right?

by jeopardy 2010-08-13 05:06PM | 0 recs
RE: Question

The dynamics are strange here. Old Washington hands don't want her, which includes Chris Dodd. Among the Senators pushing for her are Kerry and Franken. Tim Geithner has been equivocal, he has leaked attack points about her while at the same time praising her. The WH at least nominally supports her, even though they are exploring other options. However because the progressives are her staunch supporters and the arrogant WH insiders hate catering to progressives, it might just be that they will let this play this one out and at the first sign of Republican opposition nominate someone like Sheila Bair.

by tarheel74 2010-08-13 05:44PM | 0 recs
RE: Question

I suggest we follow the money. Has Dodd received a lot of money from Wall St? Has the White House?

by jeopardy 2010-08-13 06:04PM | 0 recs
ACLU on Obama



ACLU Report: Obama Enshrining Bush-Era Torture Policies

For disillusioned Obama supporters, the ACLU's July report "Establishing the New Normal" is not a heartening read.

After being voted into office on promises that included undoing abuses carried out under the Bush administration - promises to protect privacy, to end government-sanctioned torture and rendition programs and to end the use of military commissions for non-enemy combatants - President Obama's administration is proving it is far easier to toe the line than buck a trend.

According to a report by the ACLU, the current White House has not just failed to meaningfully follow through on its promises, but has also taken abusive policies, and, as shown in the case of targeted and interminable detentions, eroded civil rights to unprecedented levels.

by jeopardy 2010-08-14 05:54PM | 0 recs


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