Robert Gibbs is the new poster boy for Dem cowardice
Like many other Democrats, I puzzled for a few days over Robert Gibbs’s scornful remarks about the “professional left.”
Is President Obama’s press secretary just another beefy bureaucrat who lost his temper after catching flak too often, or was his outburst part of a strategy to reassure “moderates” that Obama leans only slightly more to the left than George W. Bush?
If Gibbs’s weirdly right-wing rant was OK’ed by his boss — apparently it was, because Obama had no public comment about it — then we’re looking at a president who’s way out of touch with the core values of the Democratic Party and at an administration that will remain content to offer the poor and middle classes almost nothing in the way of real change.
Some analysts think Gibbs was only jabbing at cable news outlets — specifically, at talking heads on MSNBC. It hardly matters. If his remarks were sincere, he’s barely in the same party with most Democrats. He represents a faction that is Democratic only insofar as it helps prevent reactionaries like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner from running Congress.
Gibbs got my attention when he said the professional left, whatever that is, seeks “Canadian health care.” My guess is that most Democrats think Canadian-style health care — publicly funded, efficiently administered — would be vastly preferable to our country’s current system, which leaves us all at the mercy of health insurance companies that charge exorbitant fees and routinely cheat customers who think their medical costs are covered.
Most of us who aren’t DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) would have liked to see Obama make a real fight for health care reform instead of settling for a bill that was watered down to a thin gruel. We also hoped he’d fight to put the jobless back to work, crack down on Wall Street thieves, pursue progressive conservation policies, scale back America’s futile war in Afghanistan and, in general, make us notice that Dubya was no longer in office.
Democrats want and need representatives who act out of conviction rather than fear. The last thing we need is a spin doctor who goes out of his way to pander to right-wingers and woo an imaginary legion of moderates.
Quotable: A tweet from David Frum, former speechwriter for Dubya, regarding Gibbs’s outburst — “More proof of my longtime thesis, Repub pols fear the GOP base; Dem pols hate the Dem base.”