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The Morning Plum

* Robert Gibbs blasts the "professional left": Was it intended as a clever experiment in triangulation, or was it just a momentary stress-related lapse of self-control? Whichever it was, the White House press secretary unloaded on the "professional left" for not being sufficiently enthusiastic about everything President Obama has done, and offered up this odd blast:

"They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality."

If memory serves, didn't the White House repeatedly insist Obama was committed to the public option, the central goal of those who Gibbs is now claiming want "Canadian healthcare"?

Also, didn't antiwar sentiment play a pretty big role in electing Obama as president, given that Obama's opposition to the Iraq War was almost singlehandly responsible for allowing him to rise from relative obscurity to defeat Hillary in the 2008 Dem primary? One wonders if the more-than-100 House Democrats who voted against funding the Afghanistan war are meant to be among those who are allegedly in favor of "eliminating the Pentagon."

Maybe the reporter Gibbs spoke to was trying to bait him into what Duncan Black and others call "hippie punching." Unclear, though, what exactly taking the bait and indulging in hippie punching accomplishes. Gibbs says the vast majority of the liberal rank and file remain fully supportive of the president, and that's probably true. But Dems need everyone to turn out, and all hands to be on deck, from the "professional left" on down, and browbeating folks into being enthusiastic seems like a questionable strategy.

* Obama and House Dems to act on state aid: Continuing to frame the debate with the GOP in advance of the midterms, President Obama will surround himself with teachers today as he delivers a Rose Garden statement urging the House to pass the $26 billion aid package.

Senate Dems leapfrogged a GOP filibuster to pass the measure last week, and the House has returned from recess to get it passed today. It's another data point for Dems to use as they make the case that Republicans have placed partisan obstructionism before the good of the American people.

* Rightward, ho: Bush administration officials blast today's Republicans for toying with changing the 14th amendment, arguing that the GOP risks squandering one of its historic accomplishments, another sign of how far to the right the immigration wars are tugging the party.

* Haven't we heard this from Rove before? He predicts that the midterm elections are going to deliver a victory for conservativism that's "durable and lasting." Rove's previous predictions of an enduring GOP majority, of course, unfolded exactly as planned, so...

* Shocker of the day: A poll paid for by Rove's group, and conducted by a GOP polling firm, finds Republicans could conceivably take the Senate back if everything breaks their way.

* But Dems are worried about the Senate: The White House is going all out to ensure the reelection of Patty Murray of Washington State, on the belief that it's a firewall against GOP control.

* Where's the urgency? Bob Herbert says policymakers aren't responding to the unemployment crisis with any sense that we have an emergency on our hands.

*Snark of the day: Steve Benen, on Rand Paul's threats of legal action against GQ magazine: "Maybe the Aqua Buddha offers legal advice."

* And look, ma, I can demagogue Cordoba House, too! Tim Pawlenty, late to the mosque-bashing party, scrambles to catch up with rival 2012 presidential hopefuls Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. Look for Islam-bashing, disguised and overt, to become central to the 2012 GOP primary.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 10, 2010; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , 2012 , House Dems , Morning Plum , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Flashback: Obama, White House repeatedly said they value pressure from left

Comments

Gibbs is conflating progressive desire for fair policy on drug importation etc. with unreasonable expectations. That's a mean dig.

On the other hand, what IS Gibb's thoughts about the larger Progressive agenda to tame the bloated Pentagon budget? Is that unreasonable? Then, Gibbs, why do we vote Democratic?

Posted by: Papagnello | August 10, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Ted Stevens in plane

BREAKING: Plane carrying 8 passengers crashes in Alaska; Former Sen. Ted Stevens reported to have been on board crash

http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/breaking-plane-carrying-8-passengers-crashe

Posted by: jeeze56 | August 10, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

But "professional left" is an improvement over basement dwelling cheetoh eaters. So, they're learning.

Posted by: Papagnello | August 10, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

If that's Gibb's assessment of the "profressional left"...I'm curious how he would describe the "profressional right".

Any chance you can ask the White House this question, Greg?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 10, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

If memory serves, didn't the White House repeatedly insist Obama was committed to the public option, the central goal of those who Gibbs is now claiming want "Canadian healthcare"?
======================================

Furthermore, the White House dealt away the public option early in the process, secretly.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/the-real-reason-obamas-pl_b_473924.html

By the way, if I am counted as a member of the professional left, my paycheck is waaaaaaay overdue.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 10, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

BBQ, I'm working on that.

and agreed, papagnello and thunder. bad misstep.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

As a liberal and a supporter of President Obama I would actually like to agree with what Robert Gibbs said. What you ahve quoted here matches a lot of my opinion of certain professional progressive pundits and bloggers. People who won't settle and are just as extreme in their leftward views as the right wing folk they attack every day. Can we deny this is true.

The purists who say they will sit out the midterms to teach Obama and Democrats a lesson... bunch of cry babies taking their ball and going home. If I am the White House and you come out and make common cause with Grover Norquist or call the President a wimp and the White House cowards and tell people to stay home I would call you out to. It's not just hippie punching if the hippies are punching too. I would tell Ed Shultz and the folks at Firedoglake and other professional left wing agitators to go shut up too. Purity trolls on the left are just as deserving of criticism as purity trolls on the right.

The people who would accept nothing less than single payer and forget that candidate Obama said we would excalate in Afganistan as we also pulled out of Iraq need to realize that if they are going to stay home or vote third party as some sort of lesson than they also need to learn the lesson that they are going to get picked on and punched. As their supposed allies attack the president is Gibbs supposed to just stand their and go "Thank you sir can I have another?" The professional left wants to get hits or viewers or make money off of being critics of the administration they should be prepared for the administration to criticize them.

Posted by: zattarra | August 10, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I was about to be upset before I read the article but I actually agree with Gibbs. I havent always been happy with the legislation or the process but when you look at the results so far you have to be impressed. That is unless you are Ed Shultz who is encouraging Demsnot to vote in the midterms. Or unless you are one of the professional left that was actually arguing against passing hcr. Or you are one ot the professional left constantly hitting Obama for doing what he said he would do in Af/pak

Could he have done better? Sure. But look at the alternative then look at how some of the TV and Radio and Newspaper left have regarded their accomplishments and the frustration is understandable.

But victims will be victims so expect a lot of fire breathing responses today.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | August 10, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

"'They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality.'"

Yikes. I'd file under things that are largely true but you just don't say them in public.

I suppose "professional" left is better than "the hardcore" left. At the same time, it's not impossible to imagine that many of these folks are working long hours doing their best to advance a pretty liberal agenda, and get tired of getting pilloried by their own side.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"[Karl Rove] predicts that the midterm elections are going to deliver a victory for conservativism that's 'durable and lasting.'"

Well, I've got my fingers crossed that the Democrats take a serious drubbing at the ballot box this November, but let's be realistic.

Republicans are running on very little, and most of them are ideologically politicians, not conservatives. There's not going to be any durable and lasting victory for conservatism because a combination of hardball electoral politics on the part of Republicans and sloppiness on the part of Democrats end up winning a fair amount of seats.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

@sgwhite

"But victims will be victims so expect a lot of fire breathing responses today."

Ugh, no kidding. Between DailyKos and FDL alone I'm sure the poutrage level will be at 11.

There are days that I sit and daydream about where we'd be if, instead of assaulting the Pres. on every shortcoming, if the left pushed full bore in favor of his accomplishments. I think of how popular the Dems would be right now, how much more political capital they'd have to pass legislation, and how much better they'd be positioned for the mid-terms.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 10, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

It's politics, every side has their extreme and untenable flank that always threatens abandoning the tent. I'm less concerned about the fringe left though than I'm concerned about the deals that nixed fair policy on drug reimportation (the Dorgan amendment) and, to a lesser extent, the public option. What it boils down to is this: Dem votes against drug importation were bought.

It's beating a dead horse at this point: we got what we got, and I will vote for those candidates who will further the health care law.

What Gibbs is doing, however, is refusing to see the valid points many on the left are making. The Administration is prone to a defensiveness where NOTHING they do is wrong or dissapointing, and everything critical needs to be directed against the right wing machine as opposed to against them, even where it might be constructively intended.

Posted by: Papagnello | August 10, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

How well or how poorly teachers (and education) are thought of varies over time and location. In the early periods of US history, teachers were almost always women or they were males of questionable character - for the simple reasons that either could be paid very little and because schooling was often seen as frivolous (we need Biff working on the farm not reading poetry) or even dangerous in the eyes of certain religious groups (Biff and Sally might come out as unbelievers or even as Catholics).

But many European families brought with them a high regard for education for its intrinsic values and for the furtherance of their childrens' prospects. Likewise, certain religious traditions valued education highly (the Puritans set up the first universities and Catholicism has a rich tradition of rigorous education).

Another factor, as one can easily understand, related to how cities and rural areas would, in a general sense, perceive different needs for the proper inculcation/training of the young (a tendency we still can see today in the rural regard for 'the practical man' and a commensurate lack of regard for the 'academic type'.

In my lifetime (mostly in Canada) there was another change which I witnessed (I'm sure it's true here in the US as well) where, as more mothers moved out into the workforce taking on 40 hour work-weeks, the school came to take on a baby-sitter function previously not asked of it. If teachers have a day off or if they go out on strike, that presented a problem for working families where it had not before.

This change, I think, did much to denigrate the teaching profession and unions as well.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 10, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

BBQ,

Do you really think that the citizen left is the reason Obama's legislation isn't being passed?

I think it's more because of the likes of Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, etc. And, when the administration came out swinging for Lincoln, should we sit still and daydream, opposite of your daydream, of the day when progressives really are progressives?

Posted by: Papagnello | August 10, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

BBQ said: "There are days that I sit and daydream about where we'd be if, instead of assaulting the Pres. on every shortcoming, if the left pushed full bore in favor of his accomplishments."

It's worth noting here that the right is quite adept at filling the media space with anything and everything else (always negative, of course) such that the noise and distraction levels make such a narrative very difficult to achieve. That's really the game Breitbart admitted to playing last week.

We'll recall that during the Bush administration, it was unpatriotic to the level of treasonous to denigrate or attack the Commander in Chief during a period of war. That's the converse of the game they are adept at...quieting or bullying counter-narratives when they have the WH.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 10, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Shorter White House: The liberal beatings will continue until morale improves.

I agree with Atrios: if the "professional left" is so important to Democratic electoral success, maybe the White House and their allies ought to stop spending so much time catering to Republicans and big corporations and listen to their base more.

"Stupid crazy dirty hippies! We can't win unless you clap louder" isn't going to get it done.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 10, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

What in God's name is Gibbs trying to accomplish here? They absolutely have some monumental accomplishments to tout and they should. Further, I mostly agree with the view that the WH is very constrained by the economic situation, GOP procedural tactics, etc. But it gets harder and harder to stand up for them in convos with the "professional left" with the Press Secretary so off-message.

Posted by: jbossch | August 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@bernie

Its also worth noting that Repub talking heads would never dream of telling ppl to tank the mid terms because their feelings were hurt. There is no doubt that put into stand alone context rather than "butwe maybe could have had more and a pony" context this administration has done a helluva lot for progressives to be proud of and happy about. Instead you would think weve lost every legislative battle or that none of these bills are helping anybody. Funny thing is Ezra shows Obamas appproval mirtoring Reagans but firebaggers would have u think all or most progressives are mad.

Agsin it has to be repeated, firebaggers were trying to get ppl to vote against hcr so be mad at Gibbs if you want but some folks need a long look in the mirror.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | August 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure most folks here have seen it, but TPM has a piece on Andy Schlafly's Conservapedia (he's Phyllis' son, of course) and his entries explaining how E=mc2 is liberal misinformation. It's worth reading as an example of where paranoia can take the human mind and as an example of a particular religious tradition which deems education deeply dangerous.

One would love to hear Palin's opinion on this Schlafly bit. I'm guessing she'd sign on in flat second.

Then, of course, Bill Kristol would pen a column in the Weekly Standard lauding her intuitive grasp of Kuhn.

The chances that, in the next decade, this country might fall apart at its weathered seams, looks about 50/50 to me.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 10, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that while I think Gibb’s comments were clumsy, I do agree with the general premise. I follow a lot of those “professional left” bloggers on twitter. While I do enjoy hearing their thoughts (after all, I do choose to follow them), there are times that a select few can be unreasonable.

Just as an example from last night, after a month of this group championing Warren, when Katrina vanden Heuvel noted she was hearing a Warren nomination could be forthcoming as early as next week, instead of celebrating, Marcy Wheeler vented for over an hour about how a nomination doesn’t equal the job & knowing Obama it could just be for show and withdrawn later. She completely moved the goal post & it’s apparent that Obama is never going to do anything to make her happy – even by appointing WARREN! So I do get where Gibbs is coming from with his comments, though I found them to be grossly exaggerated.

HOWEVER, my main issue with Gibbs’ comments is that they once again made the story about themselves & these bloggers instead of the STATE AID BILL VOTE today! On a day where they would have gotten some positive press from these same voices, all they did was alienate them further & overshadow that WIN with more unnecessary drama (i.e. Sherrod & Wall Street Reg Reform). This is why I’m angry with Gibbs this morning.

Posted by: OKeefePup | August 10, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@sg - Always nice to see you. And I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 10, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@Papa

"Do you really think that the citizen left is the reason Obama's legislation isn't being passed?"

Lots of legislation is getting passed. But yeah, if the amount of effort being put in by liberals to attack Obama was instead put into organizing grassroots pressure on people like Nelson, Lincoln, etc., then we'd see much better legislation passed.

An example would be how we got stronger than expected derivatives reform in FinReg...it's basically universally accepted that this was a result of Halter's primary challange. Not perfect, sure. But better than anyone would have expected at the start of the process, much less seeing it come from the likes of Lincoln.

@bernie

I agree that the right is better at creating a narrative than the left...but I don't give them all the credit directly. The corporate media is more like a partner of the right, and an adversary to the left.

The attacking-Bush example is a good one. But I'd also point out that more GOPers got airtime during the Bush years - which media outlets explained was because the GOP had the majority so they got more airtime. But now, the GOPers still get more airtime - which media outlets explain is because they need to show opposing views to the majority.

That has nothing to do with how good the right is at messaging. That's all corporate bias, tilting the field in favor of the GOP.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 10, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Have a fine day, fellow Muslims.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 10, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, I haven't decided that Obama hasn't made gains. I often end up believing that Obama has an interior agenda to start restoring trust between the two sides of both legislative bodies and that he feels this is more important than how progressive his various legislative accomplishments ultimately are (i.e. rekindling trust has a better long-term picture than divisive progressive policy, esp. in a period with severe economic constraints that breeds mistrust).

But that said, and regardless any grievances I might have with the administration, I agree with jbossch above. Why is Gibbs even saying this? He should be recounting their successes. And, if it's not as visible as he wishes, it certainly isn't because of the left, it's because of the right. Witness the finreg. Who among the common public knew about it over and against all the Sherrod noise?

Posted by: Papagnello | August 10, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

to those who are agreeing with Gibbs, couldn't he have made the points you all agree with without the gratuitous swipe at antiwar lefties? it's unacceptable, in my view.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"couldn't he have made the points you all agree with without the gratuitous swipe at antiwar lefties?"

I totally disagree with you Greg.

Not only was it called for, he should do it more often to remind certain Leftie ideologues who happen to have a blog that there is a wide swath of Democratic electorate that bears the blogs no mind. Not only that, but if those people defect just because they can't get exactly what they want (DEAL-MAKING? FOR REAL? THAT'S THEIR COMPLAINT? HELLO!) then they are handing over the government to the same people we ALL fought so hard to beat.

Well done Gibbs! Keep everyone honest. I think it was a great call to kick the hive. Now people who give a knee-jerk reaction will actually have some time to contemplate the administration's accomplishments.

Better this now than later, that's for sure.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

If there was ever any doubt how Obama and the White House viewed the Left Wing of the Democratic party it is now gone. The Left is now set up as the fall guy when the Democrats gets whipped in November which will, in turn, signify an even sharper turn to the Right by the Administration. Goodbye Obama. Goodbye Democrats. You are committing suicide and blaming it on those who were your most vehement supports. As I said the other day, the Left must look elsewhere to effect change. Obama and the current Democratic Party are Moderate Republicans (if the GOP were still sane), co-opted by corporatism and Big Money.

Personally, I'm not angry about Gibbs' comments. I am relieved. It affirms what has been increasingly evident since health care reform: Obama and the White House hate liberals and progressives. Now we all know where we stand.

Time for a Third Party. Time for a revolution.

We'll see in November whether vilifying the Left will help the Democratic Party in November, or thereafter. But I leave a fuller analysis of whether the White House's political strategy is wise to those who care.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 10, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"Time for a Third Party. Time for a revolution."

Whatever.

From The Hill piece:

"""Larry Berman, an expert on the presidency and a political science professor at the University of California-Davis, said he has been surprised that liberals aren’t more cognizant of the pragmatism Obama has had to employ to pass landmark reforms.

“The irony, of course, is that Gibbs’s frustration reflects the fact that the conservative opposition has been so effective at undermining the president’s popular approval,” Berman said.

“And from Gibbs’s perspective, and the White House perspective, they ought to be able to catch a break from people who, in their view, should be grateful and appreciative.”"""

Agreed. 1000%.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

Excuse my french but HELL NO!

Right now Rachel Maddow et al are busting his chops every single day over doing EXACTLY what he said he would do in Afghanistan. None of them are giving the plan any chance to succeed and some like Greenwald are actively seeking to undermine any confidence in the mission.

Am I sure it will work? No. Did Obama say he was going to try to make it work when campaigning? Yes. Should anybody be surprised? No.

But to read some of these people you really would think he is the same or worst than Bush and some of them have explicitly said so.

And people who are just anti war rather than anti Iraq war weren't exactly lining up for Pres Obama during the primaries. He made his intentions very clear. But you would think he's "betraying" the left by following through. Its BS

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | August 10, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I would say that the fringe left won't be happy until they've got as much attention from the Democratic party as the teabaggers are getting from the Republicans.

But somebody has to be the grown-ups. Glad it's the administration.

Posted by: converse | August 10, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@Papagnello....I second everything you've posted this morning. Amen brother or sister!

I am not a PROFESSIONAL on the left. I am a registered Independent. I voted for Obama and if an election were held today I would vote for him again.

Having said that I could not be more embarrassed for my nation!!! We haven't addressed our largest problems in a meaningful way. This is not intended as Obama bashing because as posted earlier perhaps his actions are simply part of a larger plan to restore the trust in our nation's government that has been ripped to shreds by the R's since Reagan.

My wife and I will spend over $40,000 on our health care next year...WE ARE HEALTHY FOLKS! Our major crime is that we are both in our early 60's and the actuarial tables crucify us.

Obama's HCR....LAME...I give it an F..it's not REALLY going to FIX anything..it will moderate some pain at the margins but we still have NOT REALLY addressed our Health Care Crisis. It's still a time bomb and until we have at minimum a P.O...better still Medicare for all we are in a mess!

Foreign policy...REALLY what would have been the difference under Grandpa McCain?
Perhaps 50,000 troops to Afganistan instead of 30,000. I am a Vietnam vet I love my country and my fellow citizens. But it's getting embarrassing to continue with the Bush doctrine..WHICH UP TO THIS POINT...is exactly what Obama has done.

That makes us the arrogant arseholes of the World who believe anytime WE wish to say a nation is a theat because of our PERFECTION we are free to invade and occupy.

I know I'm pretty special and very smart and so if one of my neighbors starts collecting weapons and threatens me with bellicose language then in the true spirit of the American way I'll simply remind him of how WONDERFUL I am and then invade his home and shoot him...and oh if his innocent wife and kids die in the gunfire...oh well...collateral damage...and after all he did threaten me..he did possess weapons...SO IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT I shot him and and that his wife and kids also died accidentally in the crossfire.

Ahhh yes don't humans around the globe love a good bully! No wonder we're so freaking popular! Just as I would be on me street after killing my neighbor and his wife and kids...EVEN IF THE REST OF STREET HATE HIM I would still be viewed as a pariah.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs just called out all the whiny professional complainers. Don't get your hemp panties in a bunch about it Greg. I've heard you mention the liberal "circular firing squad" many times before, so why get all huffy about Gibbs' comment?

Posted by: MrInternational | August 10, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

the bushies are condemning the republicans in their march ever rightward.
This ties in with Gibbs frustrations with the left.
both parites are seeing a sharp turn to their extremes and an ever wrongheaded thinking that trying to compromise for the good of the country as weak
I understand Gibbs frustrations. I am and have always been to the left. No moderate but, not extreme either.
I also am old enough to remember how good legislation came about from compromise and working for the good of the country and not hard core ideology.
Frankly, for many on the left, nothing is good enough.
No matter the facts, no matter the reality of things, the left refuses to understand real life. they refuse to be happy about anything.
Many on the left are professional depressives.
foot stompers who demand a magical unicorn everyday and when they don't get one, hold their breath.
the rightwing is very much the same way.
I suppose the two extremes are so far to the extreme that they are bumping into each other and finding they behave exactly the same way.

And to tick my fellow left leaners even more: I do wish the best to Ted Stevens.
I do hope he was not on that plane

Posted by: vwcat | August 10, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This is really very simple. The White House wants a Republican congress as their foil for 2012. Rahm Emanuel 101.

Posted by: gjcomm | August 10, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

You all realize this is the break point, right? The Democratic Party is cracking open. You can be sanguine and blase and pretend it's all good to attack the most passionate members of your party but this is a critical moment in political history. You are kidding yourselves if you think this is good for Obama or for Democrats.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 10, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@sgwhiteinfla: "Its also worth noting that Repub talking heads would never dream of telling ppl to tank the mid terms because their feelings were hurt. "

No, they wouldn't. In fact, quite the opposite, but it makes no difference. The Republican base will tank the midterms, or the presidential elections, because their feelings are hurt. If 2008 was not an example, certainly 2006 was. But the talking heads were all, "no, no, vote for us" and most of the Republican base was dissatisfied, and sat it out.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I don't think Gibb's statements were just a release of frustration, more like a set up. I hope I'm wrong but I get the feeling they're pissed about all the grassroots efforts to nominate Warren to head the CFPB, regardless of the public niceties they lavish on her.

"But yeah, if the amount of effort being put in by liberals to attack Obama was instead put into organizing grassroots pressure on people like Nelson, Lincoln, etc., then we'd see much better legislation passed."

bbq, I have to take exception to this. There was a huge grassroots effort to primary Lincoln after months of her voting against what we thought was Obama's agenda. The WH turned around and undermined that effort and then criticized the supposed waste of money that went into it. How's that working out for them.

The problem IMO is not the "professional" left, which is an odd way of putting it, but the economy and the frustration and disappointment that what little recovery we've had has not reached over 10% of our population. And the WH made a huge miscalculation by moving to deficit reduction before the recovery was on solid footing.

I doubt there will be many calls from the "professional left" for third party candidates or sitting out the elections. But there will be people whose lives have not improved or have gotten worse that may not be too excited to get to the polls in November. I don't think you can blame that on the "professional left".

Posted by: lmsinca | August 10, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Greg. There are ways to handle this divide in a way that will shore up liberal turn-out in November (and contributions and vol hours) while subtly redirecting their anger where it can be more productively applied. I can understand why the WH would be frustrated by criticism from the left (and I can understand where that criticism comes from) but I cannot understand why Gibbs would choose to escalate the conflict a couple months before an election. They are big boys and girls over there and should know this is not some kids game where you cry to mama because one of the playground kids was mean.

Look, liberals and the WH need each other and I find it very unlikely that they don't come to that realization eventually. The question is whether it happens in enough time to save the House and some semblance of a progressive agenda. Gibbs' comments do not hasten that day.

Posted by: jbossch | August 10, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Since it is now officially hippie hunting season I'll see y'all later.

Peace out.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 10, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"The chances that, in the next decade, this country might fall apart at its weathered seams, looks about 50/50 to me."

Bernie, I'd argue that this already happened.

Posted by: SDJeff | August 10, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Greg: "Rightward, ho: Bush administration officials blast today's Republicans for toying with changing the 14th amendment, arguing that the GOP risks squandering one of its historic accomplishments, another sign of how far to the right the immigration wars are tugging the party."

Greg, check this out:
http://minnesotaindependent.com/63120/gop-deletes-14th-amendment-as-an-accomplishment

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 10, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Not only was it called for, he should do it more often to remind certain Leftie ideologues who happen to have a blog that there is a wide swath of Democratic electorate that bears the blogs no mind.
...
Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:04 AM
====================

So let's remind those stupid lefty bloggers that no one cares what they think. Also, we can't win in November without them.

That makes as much sense as "keep your government hands off my Medicare", Ethan.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 10, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"pretend it's all good to attack the most passionate members of your party"

That's crap. Pretty much proves what some of us are saying. You worked hard to get Obama and Democrats elected, just like pretty much every Dem I know, and now the sense of entitlement comes out. What horsesh*t. We live in the real world where the country is governed by what happens in Washington D.C. not by what progressives want out of their elected leadership.

The amazing thing, to me, is that you have these people on the left being called out and being reminded that they are free to walk away and hand the Congress over to the GOP, and yet their positions harden. Ya'll need to get over your egos and wake up.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article.

Too bad it is from journolist.

Note to Editor: Stop letting the journolist prigs cover topics that people actually might want to read about. If they want to read about they do not want to wander how much was fabricated.

Posted by: TECWRITE | August 10, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

'There are days that I sit and daydream about where we'd be if, instead of assaulting the Pres. on every shortcoming, if the left pushed full bore in favor of his accomplishments. I think of how popular the Dems would be right now, how much more political capital they'd have to pass legislation, and how much better they'd be positioned for the mid-terms.'

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 10, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse
--------------------------------------

may I second that view.
what the firebaggers in their never ending poutrages refuse to understand is that they are the ones responsible for the weakening of our party and the driving down of Obama's ability to get through more progressive legislation.
their pouting plays right into the hands of both the media and the right. The more they whine and throw tantrums the more they weaken our side and make more progressive legislation that much harder and further away in acheiving.
If they had Obama's back rather then sticking a knife in it, Obama and the dems would have grown in approval of the people and made the passing of legislation easier.
The party and agenda would have been taken more seriously and the right's game playing condemned.
But, as usual, their selfish and self obsessed narrowminded views and inability to see the long game has agaain sabatoged our side.
The professional left keeps shooting our own side in the foot and you can't help but wonder whose side they really are on.
the republicans could not have been more effective in strengthening their side and weakening ours as the left has done on their own

Posted by: vwcat | August 10, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

at least journolist's demise forced sargent and his buddies to collude in the open. plum line...HA WAPO is full of idiots.

Posted by: batigol85 | August 10, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"So let's remind those stupid lefty bloggers that no one cares what they think."

That's nuts man, you should settle down and take a deep breath. He never said anything even remotely like that. He said that the Left should be MORE PROUD of the accomplishments. He did NOT say "no one cares what they think." Just another example of the brinksmanship games some people are playing. It's a false argument. Be proud and strong about being a Democrat because look at what we've done over ENORMOUS Republican objections and obstacles. Remember, I wanted single payer and if not that, a public option. I was totally disappointed that we didn't get that. But we DID get a strong HCR bill that has tremendous benefits for the American people. Again, if you cannot call that victory in a 75 year struggle a success that you can be proud of, then that is just bizarre imho.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"to those who are agreeing with Gibbs, couldn't he have made the points you all agree with without the gratuitous swipe at antiwar lefties? it's unacceptable, in my view."

Nothing gratuitous about it, and he isn't talking about "antiwar" sentiment, but irrational and extremist calls for some sort of overnight revolution in how the US does business in national security matters. That's nuts, and should rightly be dismissed at this point.

I'm glad the WH, trough Gibbs, is speaking up against all the abuse it's taken from each extremist side of the political spectrum. Both assign malicious (if not worse) intent to the administration, and personally vilify the president consistently. Neither is constructive to the national agenda, they both need/deserve to be left behind indeed. In my view.

Posted by: Mag3 | August 10, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "'And from Gibbs’s perspective, and the White House perspective, they ought to be able to catch a break from people who, in their view, should be grateful and appreciative.' -- Agreed. 1000%."

Finally, something we can agree on! At the same time, I agree with Greg's comment that Gibbs could have found another way to make his point, if Obama wasn't getting anything done, there wouldn't be Tea Parties and all that jazz. You can judge a politician's success in advancing an agenda in part by how many people show up to protest him or her. There wouldn't be all this "Obama Regime" and "Obama = Socialist" if Obama was getting nothing done.

He's actually gotten a lot done against stiff opposition, and archaic senate rules that makes a significant party majority almost a handicap in the senate. From my admittedly biased perspective, I don't see a lot of difference between his harsher critics on the left and Tea Party protestors calling him a socialist.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff here from all sides. I'm enjoying reading this even though it's depressing.

I find myself in the middle of the left. On one hand, I've never liked Gibbs and feel he should be replaced. On the other hand, we all say things we sometimes wish we could take back. It's possible Gibbs said something and it came out wrong. We're just looking at a few selected quotes, right? And he's said dumb stuff in the past too, so I can give him a pass on this.

I won't address each poster by name but in response to some of the comments....

Dr. Larry Berman was my PoliSci professor at UC Davis in the mid 90s, glad to see he's still there.

No third party. Not right now. Totally ridiculous.

Yes, Obama is one of the few adults in Washington.

Obama's positions on Iraq and Afghanistan have not strayed one bit in the 1.5 years of his presidency, his 2 years of campaigning, and his 5 years of statements prior to that, going back to his speech at an anti-war rally in 02 when he announced his support of the Afghan War but his opposition to the "dumb" Iraq War. It looks like Afghanistan is a lost cause at this point, but we owe him the same last chance Bush got with the surge.

Finally, democrats may have done all they can to right the ship since Jan 09, but if they have, they haven't convinced too many people. Things are bad, and they deserve to lose seats in November.

That doesn't mean republicans deserve to win any.

Posted by: SDJeff | August 10, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

My God,

If the hippie hysterics is all so commonplace, then:

why wasn't the administration better prepared for hippie hysterics, aren't they effective managers as you keep saying?

Posted by: Papagnello | August 10, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@SDJeff: "Things are bad, and they deserve to lose seats in November. That doesn't mean republicans deserve to win any."

Indeed. Unfortunately, they have to, if the Democrats are going to lose seats. Don't worry. Unless something changes in the GOP, they won't stay there long.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

This is what is frustrating all of we commie/pinko/bedwetting/Marxist/Socialist..
Oops I'm sorry that's right we're not getting attacked by the R's it's the Dems this time.

OK let's start again...here's what all we "professionals" "extremists" "purists" feel about Gibbs. We hope Auburn goes winless this year! LMAO May his alma mater never win another SEC game! snark snark

Seriously..Ethan..you know how much I respect you...zattara and the rest of the Obama supporters why are you so upset with us. Are we not allowed to oppose the Wars?
Are we not permitted to keep pointing out the foolishness of spending 50% of our budget on defense...MORE THAN THE NEXT SEVEN NATIONS COMBINED!

http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

Are we wrong for being beyond disappointed that candidate Obama campaigned on a P.O.
I don't want to hear about the Senate or the right. The TRUTH a SOLID MAJORITY of our citizens supported a P.O. or even a single payer solution.

Armed with all this public opinion behind him Obama couldn't even get a P.O. much less a single payer system.

If you're going to respond please take the time to look at this chart which reveals survey after survey from groups as diverse
as Kaiser Health, Time, Yahoo, Quinnpiac, various physicians groups.

http://www.wpasinglepayer.org/PollResults.html

Seriously how is it Obama and the Dems got their butts kicked so BADLY in the messaging dept? Again check out these surveys...the plurality of support for a single payer solution is really quite amazing!

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Nice post Kevin_Willis, I agree with pretty much everything you said.

Now if only the mainstream Republican side was as interested as the mainstream Democratic side in moving America forward, we could move forward together. But no. That is the truly sad aspect of this story, that the extreme left should be placated because we overcame a total rejection of solutions from the GOP. The left's complaints wouldn't have nearly the resonance if more GOPers were willing to cross the aisle even just on procedural/cloture votes.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Kevin can't you convince other republicans to think more like you? What's it like when you talk to them when we're not around?

Posted by: SDJeff | August 10, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin W.....and here is another place we can agree Kevin...I think this point you make is spot on...

"if Obama wasn't getting anything done, there wouldn't be Tea Parties and all that jazz. You can judge a politician's success in advancing an agenda in part by how many people show up to protest him or her. There wouldn't be all this "Obama Regime" and "Obama = Socialist" if Obama was getting nothing done."

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't really care for Gibbs and I wish President Obama had a more charismatic mouth piece. Though in this case I agree with him. Here we have an intelligent preident for a lovely change, who may not be as left as we desire--and I count myself as way to the left of the president--but who is considerably more left than his predecessor and the Republicans who have way too much control in the senate. The "progressives" can keep bashing this administration until the Republicans take over the house and senate. Then they'll be happy and come out in droves to protest their victimhood. Progress has been slow and incremental, but we are headed in the right direction for a change. We have passed an imperfect health care bill and it's aheck of an achievement. Student loan reform. Bank reform. But all I hear from the left is it's not enough. Seems like my fellow progressives are happier when they're miserable.

Posted by: wd1214 | August 10, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

".Ethan..you know how much I respect you...zattara and the rest of the Obama supporters why are you so upset with us. Are we not allowed to oppose the Wars?
Are we not permitted to keep pointing out the foolishness of spending 50% of our budget on defense... MORE THAN THE NEXT SEVEN NATIONS COMBINED!"

RUK, I'm not upset with you, I just disagree on this. You are allowed to feel however you want to feel. But if you expected Obama to cut the defense budget by a significant portion and you are mad at him because he didn't, I just don't see that as a realistic position. Again, the point of all this for me is not to air a laundry list of idealistic positions that sound great, but for people who are disappointed that the administration hasn't been more overtly progressive STILL need to put those thoughts aside every once in a while and grasp what the man HAS DONE. Which in and of itself is pretty darn remarkable if you ask me. And again, I totally favor single-payer, slashing defense budget, getting rid of mercenary contractors, closing Gitmo, etc. See, I have a laundry list of my own. Green energy, cmon, that should have been passed by now. It's my #1 issue. Am I pissed off at Obama? NO. This is just the reality of politics of the last 2 years. I am fine with it and absolutely thrilled at the accomplishments and, like Gibbs stated, I wish more of my fellow Dems would drop their critiques every now and again and realize that the man has done an INCREDIBLE job given what he's had to work with.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Dear DFHs -

1) Nothing you do matters, but you are ruining everything! All the country's problems are due to the fact that you aren't clapping loud enough!

2) We can't stand you, but you keep donating your time and money!

3) We'll never defend you, but you must defend everything we do!

4) Obama campaigned on continuing the war in Afghanistan, so you knew what you were voting for! (however, when campaigning on closing Guantanamo Bay, we had our fingers crossed, so deal with it)

Eff you,
The Very Serious NeoLiberal Pragmacrats

Posted by: beenjammin | August 10, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"Kevin can't you convince other republicans to think more like you? What's it like when you talk to them when we're not around?"

Usually pretty pleasant. I know very, very few Republicans/conservatives who come across like the trolls--whose the guy who keeps talking about how nice it will be to burn the Ground Zero mosque when "the revolution comes"?--but that's in part because there is absolutely nothing there to start a conversation on.

Oh, yes, burning things down, that's awesome. I'd just love to get to know you, so, later, when we disagree about where to eat pizza, you can talk about burning the pizza place I like down. Because that's how rational people should relate to one another.

That being said, I like finding things I can agree with people on. It's a useful and interesting exercise.

And, Ethan, I agree that the GOP should agree to let stuff come to a vote, or--in fact--argue for filibuster reform. Agreeing to let things come to a procedural vote could work against them (especially with the base) because the base will be convinced the Democrats won't do the same thing for them, on any important issue, in the future. Establishing a new precedent for the filibuster, however, doesn't require good faith on the part of either side--both have to abide by the new rules. Easiest things might be getting rid of procedural holds and reducing the cloture rule to 55 votes, and also getting rid of mandated delays between votes, so that the whole process can move faster. Sometimes filibusters are used just to slow everything down, even when everybody ends up voting for cloture! That's just silly, and should be changed.

However, the elected Republican leadership are ideologically politicians, not conservatives (in my opinion), so it's not about governing so much as it is winning.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

He did NOT say "no one cares what they think."
...
Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 10:35 AM |
============

I was paraphrasing you, not Gibbs, Ethan.

These comments are filled with dead and dying straw men.

You guys really believe if the left applauded everything Obama and company did, more progressive legislation would be the result?

Read the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/the-real-reason-obamas-pl_b_473924.html

This is quite typical of Rahm Emmanuel/DLC corporatists. It's the same old sell out your voters to the corporations and their lobbyists after the election. And that isn't getting the job done.

Pretending that the likes of Blanche Lincoln are the insurmountable obstacles ignores the evidence that the White House is aligned with their views and those of the corporations they owe their souls to.

Moving on to national security,

"Nothing gratuitous about it, and he isn't talking about "antiwar" sentiment, but irrational and extremist calls for some sort of overnight revolution in how the US does business in national security matters. That's nuts, and should rightly be dismissed at this point."

There's one of those murdered straw men. Nice work, Mag3.

Bush and Cheney adopted radical approaches to civil liberties and the so-called "War On Terror". They didn't make us safer. Obama has changed all too few of them, and in some cases has adopted even more radical policies. I won't applaud that, ever.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 10, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Our children are dying overseas in absolutely unwinnable wars and we are not using the ONLY proven method of reducing health-care cost: single-payer.

If that is Professional and Left, count me in! What deep-thinkers are those who simply parrot what they hear, over and again, on TV. It's not a boob-tube, it's an opinion machine. Think for yourself.

I won't vote for an administration that belittles the death of our men and women in uniform and can't identify the fact that only, ONLY, single-payer healthcare solutions control costs. Facts are important.

Posted by: rjmmcelroy | August 10, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhh Ethan you're no fun to debate...largely because we are actually in agreement.

I am in complete agreement with the main thrust of Greg's point. While we all love O and realize how bad our nation would be if somehow Grandpa and Sister Sarah had won...

THIS NEEDS TO FREAKING STOP...bloggers are bloggers but the W.H. Gibbs, Rahm "the arsehole" and others need to shut their pieholes about the more progressive part of our coalition. This is not only counterproductive...it's stupid.

One of the things that irritates me more than anything else on this blog are the rightie posters who couch any discussion of their candidates as "bashing them"
That sucks! It's even worse when our own people start accusing us of bashing when all we are saying is give peace a chance.
Oops guilty of a little plagiarism there...of course if I was on Fox I'd claim that line as my own original thought after all who remembers that original commie pinko bedwetter John Lennon.

One of Obama's strengths is that he has handled an avalanche of criticism well.
Ohhh that his staff of wimps Rahm, Gibbs and the rest could simply do the same things. Nobody..."professional" or private has been blogging about finding a peace candidate...or a healthcare candidate to primary O. We are behind...but while we're here still stuck on the back of the bus (not O's fault but still true) please do not be sensitive about our screaming up ahead to the driver.
It's not like we're jumping off the bus.
Besides if I wanted to march lockstep with a political party then I'd be Republican...they don't think they simply do what they're told. Is that what the Democratic Party really wants?

Thanks though Ethan...you are one of the many rational people who if approached honestly doesn't take opposing viewpoints personally. Kudos to you and the others including people like Kevin and tao9 who approach our blog sometimes in disagreement but with well thought out positions and no personal attacks!

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The left, as usual, will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Once the House is lost, Obama will get nothing passed and will see H.C. overturned.

Posted by: illogicbuster | August 10, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Guantanamo- still open.
DADT- still in effect.
Environment- legislation dead.
Health care- no public option.
Government sanctioned eavesdropping- still happening.
Supreme Court nominations- squandered.
Economy- Weak stimulus, high unemployment, & intact Wall Street bonuses.

Progressives should be upset & pushing the Obama administration.

Unless the Obama administration has been a sham from the beginning, Gibbs would be wise to direct his frustration elsewhere.

Posted by: PorkBelly | August 10, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin...."Easiest things might be getting rid of procedural holds and reducing the cloture rule to 55 votes, and also getting rid of mandated delays between votes, so that the whole process can move faster."

Amen brother. Can I add an abolition of SECRET holds. It seems to me that is antithetical to everything our Government is supposed to stand for...you know "sunshine" and all of that openness thingy.

Perhaps I am mistaken and I'll await an genuine purpose for SECRET holds if someone can explain it to me...otherwise I still think SECRECY in Gov't by the D's or the R's is not a good thing(CIA and intel orgs excepted of course).

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"And to tick my fellow left leaners even more: I do wish the best to Ted Stevens."

Classy vwcat.

"The left, as usual, will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory."

Yes, remember how the left blew it in 2006 and 2008!

Posted by: beenjammin | August 10, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "I'd be Republican...they don't think they simply do what they're told"

Arguably, that isn't true. If it were, they would have showed up in much larger numbers in 2006 and 2008. And sent the national GOP more money. I wasn't the only one who responded to solicitations to send the GOP money with instructions for them to call me back when the national GOP grew a pair. Many conservatives didn't like Bush for reasons like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, his amnesty proposals, the creation of the unfortunately named Department of Homeland Security, and the nomination of Harriet Myers. Remember the rebellion after the Myers nomination? Center-left pundits were calling it a conservative crackup. Whatever it was, it wasn't lockstep obedience to the party.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

All, my further take on this:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/flashback_obama_white_house_re.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@porkbelly EXACTLY!!!

Does laying out the facts mean porkbelly is "bashing" Obama?

Again until the firedogger/huffpo/wild eyed liberals amongst us start calling for a candidate to primary Obama I dont' believe we are being unfair, unkind, or inappropriate. AGAIN WE ARE NOT REPUBLICANS.
We do not march in lockstep.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"I was paraphrasing you, not Gibbs, Ethan."

Well isn't that a little ridiculous since we hold many of the same positions? That's my whole point. Some of us (me, I guess) can just deal with the reality of what has been accomplished. Some of us (you, I guess) are still upset at failures. That's where this "punching the dirty hippies" thing is just bullsh*t. Because I *AM* a DFH and I couldn't agree with Gibbs more.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin I stand corrected. I did misspeak.

I shouldn't have said "Republicans" I should have said Republican POLITICIANS. I sincerely do respect and understand that there are many many great Republican/Conservative folks who are not out with pitchforks trying to burn down the neighborhood Mosque, beating up Gays, shoving religion down our throat.

I made the typical mistake of painting you guys with far too broad a brush. I sincerely stand corrected.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks RUK. Thanks Kevin_Willis. Good posts. I think I can say to the both of ya's that I don't really think there's that much daylight in between our positions on this issue and re: filibuster reform.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

@beenjammin: "'The left, as usual, will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.' -- Yes, remember how the left blew it in 2006 and 2008!"

In all fairness, statistics make Democratic losses much more likely in 2010. Historically, the party of the president loses seats in off-year elections. Losses generally tend to be (and certainly are more likely to be) greater when the majority party enjoys a significant majority.

I don't think the "left" is going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Rather, the liberals have been doing what they can (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, in whoever's view) to advance their agenda, as best as they can, given the facts on the ground. However, they did (in my opinion, it probably wasn't the best idea) raise some very high expectations, and so when cap and trade, single-payer, and the end of all wars everywhere wasn't done in 3 months, disappointment set in. I know pragmatism gets a bad rap in some circles, but the Obama administration has generally tried to pragmatically achieve ambitious goals. And has succeeded, reasonably well, in many cases.

But there will be many base voters for whom that's not enough to get them out to vote in 2010. There will be some for whom hope and change meant something specific that it was never meant to mean, and those folks may vote against the Democrats for fairly arbitrary reasons. But the reality is, significant majorities are difficult to hold onto (even when the Democrats dominated the house for 40 years, they couldn't hold on to the Senate). Having all elected branches, it's inevitable that the Democrats are going to lose seats, and maybe lose quite a few (statistically, it's almost pre-ordained). That isn't the left snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, it's a common historical pattern playing itself out, with variations.

Given that Republicans are running on almost nothing (and most are devoted politicians rather than ideologues), the chances of them parlaying a historically inevitable victory into something more meaningful is actually not very good.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Answers to your first two questions: No and no.

Obama, from day one only said that a public option was a piece of the health care puzzle, but he never said it was the only solution. He was wise to never only claim one solution.

Obama fought against the ill-conceived war in Iraq, a war of choice. But he always maintained that the Afghanistan war was worth fighting. The realities of that war are complicated, much more complicated than many are willing to learn about and digest. That is why we have intelligent people running the country, those who are willing to understand what is at hand and what is at stake. That is why Obama won and McCain and Palin lost.

Posted by: pathfinder12 | August 10, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I'd be much more amenable to a list like PorkBelly's if he/she ALSO included accomplishments and weighed the totality of the picture instead of just perceived losses.

For the millionth time, I think that REALLY is what this debate is about. Be unhappy about issues, sure, but if you ignore the positives, you are not being fair.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@kw:However, the elected Republican leadership are ideologically politicians, not conservatives (in my opinion), so it's not about governing so much as it is winning.

Truer words were never written.

I don't watch Ed Shultz, but I haven't heard many other prominent leftys say boycott the election. Maddow actually spent an entire segment lauding the administrations legislative victories. Its disappointing that the White house expects the left blogosphere to be simpering toadies the way the denizens of rightwingnutistan behave when they have the white house.

The best strategy is to either ignore the calls for more progressive action or to say "We understand that some of the more progressive factions are not totally satisfied with our accomplishments and frankly we wanted to pass better legislation, but you legislate with the congress you have, not the one you wish you had. I am sure that the progressives would be even more upset if we didn't pass finreg, HCR, or ledbetter." No need to gratuitously insult the people that are trying to hold the administration to higher standards...

Fortunately, lefty bloggers have very thick skin...its required to repel the trollspew (like Techrite). ;-)

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Ethan - I think you make a great point, but it goes both ways. Be happy about the victories, but if you ignore the negatives, you are not being fair.

Posted by: beenjammin | August 10, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs got it exactly right, Liberals are supposedly smarter than, tea-baggers, and supposedly more interested in the greater good than just advancing their own narrow interests.

The smarter approach, for the greatest good, is to deny the GOP, conservatives and the Tea-party kloaked klan from another shot at the controls. Theoretically, liberals believe in representative democracy- well, the broad majority of us want to keep the Palins, and Boehners, and Bachmanns, Pawlenty's and Angles at the extreme margins.

Besides, when Obama no longer needs to be elected, imagine how much he can push his agenda. For a guy that DOES need to get elected, he did an amazing amount in the last 2 years against scortched-earth, no-holds (or lies, disinformation, discrimination) barred opposition.

Liberals, progressives and the moderates have got to recognize what is doable, and who it is that wants to do what, and for what reason- on every point Obama comes out on top over the other options currently available and viable. Shape-up liberals! The conservative warrior Spartans slashed and burned their way into Athens while the liberal Athenians were debating against each other in the Senate.

Posted by: interactidiomas | August 10, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

On the Afghan invasion, I am afraid that Obama is reaping the results of 7 years of undersourced warfighting he inherited. I fear the US will be the latest corpse in the graveyard of empires. The combination of popular weariness with the war with the lack of enthusiasm from the Afghani people for the US occupation will most likely spell a face saving withdrawal that "claims" victory against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan but mostly leaves the country as we found it, somewhere in the 14th century with no strong central government, where smuggling is an art form, and the poor struggle under the lash of local warlords.

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - I agree with your post, and I was not arguing that Dems, because they won seats in 06 and 08, were going to win seats in 10. I simply hate that "the left, AS USUAL, will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" cliche. Sometimes, that is true. All the time, it's demonstrably not true.

Posted by: beenjammin | August 10, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

See, Republicans tell their presidents their the best thing ever. Ok, we on the left aren't boble heads like the right are. I get that. But it seems that the "progressives" tell this president(the closest we've had to a leftist president in a long time) that he's the worst ever. the more prgamatic and balanced of us say, "Well, you're doing a pretty good job, but you have a spot on your tie and you could use a little starch in your shirt." No he's not the most awesomest best president ever that the right thought Bush was, but Preident Obama is making progress.

Posted by: wd1214 | August 10, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@ interactidiomas : Liberals are supposedly smarter than, tea-baggers, and supposedly more interested in the greater good than just advancing their own narrow interests.

I don't see the antiwar movement, the push for more effective and less costly healthcare thru the public option, more robust regulatory reform, or actual reform of how Wall St. does business (financial reform as opposed to regulatory reform) as narrow interests. In fact, pushing these ideas is working toward the greater good. Its not like seniors pushing medicare payment increases at the expense of schools or something like that.

"Liberals, progressives and the moderates have got to recognize what is doable, and who it is that wants to do what, and for what reason"

No progressives have to push the envelope of what is doable and support people that are actually trying to push the envelope, without gratuitously slamming what has been accomplished, IMHO. Support the good that has been done, while simultaneously expanding the definition of what is "doable."

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@swr3: "expects the left blogosphere to be simpering toadies the way the denizens of rightwingnutistan behave when they have the white house."

Maybe you didn't hit the same sites, but there was a lot (if not as much) dissatisfaction with Bush and the congressional Republicans when they had the majorities out on the righty blogs. Red State, Hot Air, even true denizens of rightwingnutistan (as you so colloquially put it) like Moonbattery. Some were simpering toadies, but many were not. Especially on issues like Harriet Myers. You would have thought Bush was Ralph Nader and George McGovern wrapped into one during that debate.

"No need to gratuitously insult the people that are trying to hold the administration to higher standards..."

Very true. Especially, when you are the administration, it's a better idea to take the high road.

Speaking of press secretaries, conservatives familiar with Tony Snow from Fox and his writing (and subbing for Rush Limbaugh) were excited when he got the press secretary gig, and then deeply disappointed when he didn't take it to the press every day like Bill O'Rielly or Sean Hannity. Certain pundits (like Rush) tried to explain than being a pundit is different from being a press secretary, but the base was never quite happy with that explanation.

This little Robert Gibbs mis-step is an example of why press secretaries just cannot conduct themselves like pundits.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@wd1214: "No he's not the most awesomest best president ever that the right thought Bush was"

Really, guys, I realize there were some rightwingers for whom Bush could do no wrong, but no less a luminary than Bill Buckley was opposed to the Iraq war. Bush did plenty wrong, from proposing amnesty and Harriet Myers (universally reviled by the base, or nearly) to No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D, which many Republicans and conservatives were opposed to. To the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Which plenty of rightwingers didn't care for. And everything I mentioned was at least frowned out by the rightwing punditocracy. Even Rush Limbaugh said, about the Department of Homeland Security, that more bureaucracy just wasn't the answer, that No Child Left Behind expanded the federal government into educational matters that were rightly the province of the states, that Medicare Part D was just Republicans saying they could do entitlement boondoggles better than the Democrats, etc.

Give Obama his due, certainly, but to suggest the Republican base, and even the pundit class, was hopelessly in love with Bush is not to have listened, read, and interacted with Republicans outside of comment-trolls. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 10, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010

I am happy that health care reform passed as well as the finreg stuff. It is definitely an improvement from the status quo.

However, I wouldn't call either of them "progressive" by any means. HCR was incredibly similar to Chafee's '93 plan which was the Republican alternative to the Clinton plan. Obama's legislation has been centrist, at best.

I understand the political realities of a cowardly or obstructionist congress but Obama doesn't even seem willing to have the argument over these issues.

A number of them; Guantanamo, Patriot Act surveillance, DADT, could be rectified with the stroke of a pen. Is he worried about angering Republicans?

I like Obama and will continue to support him. But he has not engaged in the arguments regarding the role of government that are important to progressives.

Posted by: PorkBelly | August 10, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@Porkbelly...word up.

@Kevin

"Give Obama his due, certainly, but to suggest the Republican base, and even the pundit class, was hopelessly in love with Bush is not to have listened, read, and interacted with Republicans outside of comment-trolls. ;)"

I agree with your comment Kevin. I think the big difference here is who is in power.
While the R's held the W.H. I heard plenty of them carping at Bush most notably over his spending. While I am not a fan of Mike Pence's policies I do respect the man for his consistent and I believe principled approach to his views. He voted against much of Bush's budget busters and he still admits mistakes were made.

When a party wins however they do have the luxury to hold their reps to high standards. Those in the back seat out of power tend to get more in lockstep in order to win power back. I believe this to be true of both R's and D's. It's just the way it is.

And so when Bush was in power..challenges from the right...it's only natural that O should get challenged from the left.

I think the same is true of the vitriol and hatred directed at Presidents. It's been a while since I've seen a bumper sticker that said...'Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing it's Idiot" and I suspect within a couple of years of O leaving office the birthers, will disappear...as will all the hateful invective about race, being a Marxist etc.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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