Gibbs’s recent criticisms of the “professional left” illustrate just how much he and parts of the White House do not understand why the progressive/liberal branch of the Democratic party is upset.
Gibbs defends enacted legislation and all that has been accomplished in the last 18 months, even alluding to the tired overused sentiment that it was “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” It’s like the Great Depression is Michael Jordan and everyone is so quick to find its equal.
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 understand.
But in 17 months, we have seen Wall Street reform, historic health care reform, fair pay for women, a recovery act that pulled us back from a depression and got our economy moving again, record investments in clean energy that are creating jobs, student loan reforms so families can afford college, a weapons system canceled that the Pentagon didn’t want, reset our relationship with the world and negotiated a nuclear weapons treaty that gets us closer to a world without fear of these weapons, just to name a few. And at the end of this month, 90,000 troops will have left Iraq and our combat mission will come to an end.
Even so, we will continue to work each day on the promises and commitments that the President made traveling all over this country for two years and produce the change we know is possible.
So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies, and instead work together to make sure everyone knows what is at stake because we’ve come too far to turn back now.
I don’t think anyone is arguing with all the positives that Obama and his team have made. I also don’t think anyone, a sane person anyway, would disagree that America is in a better position economically, politically, and socially than at the end of Bush’s term.
Gibbs notes that change has not come as quickly as those in the progressive wing would like to have seen or felt they were entitled/promised to when Obama was elected. Here Gibbs has a point. I think that people were expecting too much too soon. Expectations were set too high and rather than applauding the victories, the setbacks and failures get too scrutinized.
Where Gibbs really whiffs is on the impetus for the progressive ire. It manifested in this group out of a feeling that Obama sold them out for some token bipartisanship or nod to those who caused the problems in the first place. Obama was supposed to stand up for those who had been kicked around and overlooked for too long. He was supposed to hold off a fierce onslaught of Republican attacks on his policy. He was not supposed to wilt against healthcare reform, leaving the argument in the hands of town halls and tea partiers. Progressives were looking for a reversal on the repeal of Glass-Steagall and an assurance that never again would the economy be left in the hands of those willing to do anything to make the most money. It’s not that it didn’t come fast enough, it’s that we feel it never came at all.
Why do we think this??? Not only did the man campaign on these and similar issues but he came out and said we needed change and hope and things were going to be different this time. He inspired groups who had no reason to be inspired. Instead of ushering in a second Era of Good Feelings, we were left with a man who couldn’t decide if he wanted Cheerios or Froot Loops for breakfast and with an administration whose political backbone was an illusion. Progressives feel they were promised a lot because they worked tirelessly for him. People who had never donated to a campaign before, myself included, gave money to him thinking he served their interests.
The fact that Obama’s administration doesn’t get why progressives are out for blood demonstrates either a lack of insight or, as George Carlin often said, they just don’t give a shit.