To Robert Gibbs, the "professional left," should, in his words, just suck it up and back the administration and stop bellyaching about what the Presid
August 10, 2010

To Robert Gibbs, the "professional left," should, in his words, just suck it up and back the administration and stop bellyaching about what the President is doing:

The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

Robert Gibbs should resign immediately. He just spit on the face of those who helped Barack Obama get elected and routinely defend him day in and day out against vicious smears from the right. Where did he come up with the term professional left? I thought we were the Cheetos-eating basement dwellers? Has Gibbs looked at all the polling data? As Chris Bowers pointed out, Obama lost 13 points of support from the Liberal community.

BOWERS: Well, currently, Chuck, President Obama‘s approval rating, according to Gallup, among liberals is 76 percent. But in 2008, he received 89 percent of the liberal vote, that‘s a drop of 13 percent. When you compare that to what he received among moderate voters in 2008, he got 60 percent of their vote and his approval rating among moderates is 54 percent.

He got 20 percent of the conservative vote in 2008 and he‘s currently has a 13 percent approval rating among conservatives.

So, even though he has a much higher approval rating among liberals, he actually has a more significant drop among liberals than among any other ideological group.

If you add that to his latest job approval rating of 46% then he would be well over the 50% barrier. This is Politics 101. You never spit on your base. You never saw Bush do that, even though his base destroyed his plans for immigration reform. And his mea culpa was ridiculous.

Robert Gibbs, under fire for his attack on the "professional left," sends over a statement walking it back, conceding it was "inartful," and clarifying that the views he expressed frustration about are not widely held:

I watch too much cable, I admit. 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.

So what I may have said inartfully, let me say this way -- since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path. Most importantly, to dig our way out of a huge recession and build an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle class more secure. Some are frustrated that the change we want hasn't come fast enough for many Americans. That we all on

Hey Robert, I watch too much cable too, but I don't lash out at C&L's team (Team Crooks,) or Digby or Howie. Why would republican talking points said by republicans make him attack us? If they are so mad at what they see then they should stop being the great compromisers and take it out on the Party of No. We're the ones that want to see real change implemented in our country, not Republicans. I never attack my closest allies. That's not my personality anyway, but if I thought about it logically---it's still counterproductive.

I think he should resign over his inartful words since it wasn't an apology and I also think it's time for President Obama and the White House to hold a meeting with the "Professional Left." It's time to clear the air. We have the midterm elections coming up and as disappointed as we are because this administration seems not to care about his progressive base, we do. We want to elect more and better Democrats while weeding out the ones that side with Conservatives. That's what Gibbs should have been worrying about.

Digby writes:

But what's dangerously myopic about going ballistic as Gibbs did in his statements is that just 10 years ago we had a little event in which only a tiny portion of the base went with a third party bid from the left --- and the consequences were catastrophic. Democrats, of all people, should remember that every vote matters.

It's embarrassing to have David Frum point out the obvious --- that the Republicans fear their base and the Democrats hate theirs, but it has been so since I was a kid --- a long time ago. At some point they are going to realize that their demanding activist base is the way it is and that they need to figure out a way to deal with it rather than rail against it. You cannot browbeat people into loving you and you can't argue them into being enthusiastic. Certainly characterizing them in cartoon terms by saying "they want to eliminate the Pentagon", they are on drugs and --- worst of all --- suggesting they are not part of America --- isn't going to get you there.

Glenn Greenwald has more.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.

Explore more


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.