Democrats maneuver into position for 2010 midterm battle…

Democrats maneuver into position for 2010 midterm battle…


… by cleverly adopting a circular firing squad formation.


Press Secretary Robert Gibbs raises his sights and gets a bead on the target:

“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.”


Glenn Greenwald takes it personally, almost as if Gibbs is aiming directly at him:

“Robert Gibbs — in one of the most petulant, self-pitying outbursts seen from a top political official in recent memory, half derived from a paranoid Richard Nixon rant and the other half from a Sean Hannity/Sarah Palin caricature of The Far Left — is here to tell you that the real reason you’re dissatisfied with the President is because you’re a fringe, ideological, Leftist extremist ingrate who needs drug counseling…

The Democrats have been concerned about a lack of enthusiasm on the part of their base headed into the midterm elections. These sorts of rabid, caricatured, Fox-News-copying attacks on the Left will undoubtedly help generate more enthusiasm — more loud clapping — for the Democrats. I know I’m eager to go canvass and clap for Democrats after reading Gibbs’ noble, inspiring vision. If it were Gibbs’ goal to be as petulant and self-pitying as possible, what could he have done differently?…

I hope there are enough drug testing facilities to accommodate Talking Points Memo reporters, Charlie Savage, the lawyers from EFF, Bob Herbert, Anthony Romero, Russ Feingold, and The New York Times Editorial Board. I don’t know anyone who asserts that Obama is the same as Bush — I don’t believe that and never asserted that — but if anyone needs to be “drug tested,” it would be those denying that many of Bush’s most controversial policies and actions have been embraced in full by Barack Obama.”


Nate Silver takes a shot at understanding the exercise:

“…the White House has had two incredibly cynical moments in the past several weeks — Gibbs’ rant today and the premature firing of Shirly Sherrod three weeks ago. Both reflected politics at its worst, the clumsiest possible efforts at “triangulation”.

I am taking it for granted, of course, that Gibbs’s comments today will prove not to be a cagey political strategy: they were so naked and inartful, such a Velveeta attempt at Sister Souljah moment, that I don’t see how they possibly could be. They will annoy the left but do nothing to placate Obama’s critics on the right or persuade those in the center.”

The full gun battle can be watched here.

From the sidelines, Matt Welch comments on the poor marksmanship:

“And though the existence of progressive-left criticism of Obama has been one of the few heartening things about political discourse these past 19 miserable months, I wish more lefties were making the George W. Bush comparison on things like bailouts and spending binges and military surges and WoT detentions and entitlement expansion and Old Europe-tweaking and drug raids and obscenity prosecutions and general bullshittery.”

Well Matt – I’m doing my part.

Although – strictly speaking – I guess I am not a lefty now.

But I was in 2006, and hope to be again in 2012. Does that count?

Mister Gibbs sheepishly “walked back” his earlier statement, describing it as “inartful”.

My question is not why his liberal base is frustrated, that is pretty obvious. My question is what exactly was Gibbs trying to do? The initial rant was not “off the cuff”. Let’s get real. Gibbs serves up exactly nothing that is not first chewed up, digested and excreted by Axelrod and Rahm.

Then I read this in his artful walk back from the interview:

“In November, America will get to choose between going back to the failed policies that got us into this mess, or moving forward with the policies that are leading us out.”

Now I get it. They want to run against GWB again in 2010 because – you know – it worked last time. I mean – Bush was not running then… Bush is not running now… What’s the difference?

But they really can’t run against Bush if the best and brightest in their base keep saying that Obama is acting just like Bush.

This was all about getting them to stop making that comparison – at least until after the election.

x-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall”

  • ascap_scab

    Whatever Gibbs’ (or Emanuel’s or Axelrod’s) motivation, he (they) succeeded in throwing me from the train. I’ll be sending Gibbs a vile of my piss so he can “drug test” it.

    Oh, I’ll still go to the polls between now and then, but as of now, I will not be voting for Obama in 2012. I voted for (and donated to) a Democrat (yes, even knowing Obama was a centrist at the time), not Bush-lite.

    Obama better turn this around, fast.

  • mw


    Heh. 2012 is a long way off. You’ll vote for him. They know your vote is reliable. That is why they can get away with this.

    Your comment is a little crude for the gentle sensibilities of the patrons of this blog, but – Dad appears to be away, so lets play.

    You reminded me of one of my favorite albums from the Reagan era – Mojo Nixon’s Bo-day-shus and the song “Ain’t gonna piss in no jar” You can hear the original track linked here

    I’ve taken a little liberty with the lyrics – should anyone with more musical talent than me want to mash-up Liberal Anthem for the benefit of Robert Gibb et. al.

    Ain’t gonna piss in no jar
    Special for Robert Gibbs
    with apologies to Mojo Nixon

    Well I’m a gonna pee pee in a cup
    And Robby Gibb’s gonna drink it up
    Say Yo Robby – we just say no, no, no, no, no, no
    Well go ahead and diss me doin’ your job
    There’s one little thing you ain’t gonna rob
    That’s my freedom, and my liberty

    Everybody should go to Washington
    We can have ourselves a little fun
    You know they want our piss, I think we ought to give it to them
    Surround the White House with a urinary moat
    So Rahm and Robby will have to float a boat
    Get across the stinky, steaming yellow pee pee sea

    You know Thomas Jefferson is gonna be mighty pissed
    When he finds out about this,
    I say Come back from the dead Tom,
    sock ’em in the head.

  • Chris

    ascap you’ll vote for obama (bush-lite) over someone who has bush’s policies, but is a complete moron like Palin. Unfortunately the two-party system forces us into this compromise of evil.

  • Tully

    I’m not the only Mojo Nixon fan around here? Kewl! (“I’m Living With A Three-Foot AntiChrist” should resonate with ALL parents…)

    The initial rant was not “off the cuff”. Let’s get real. Gibbs serves up exactly nothing that is not first chewed up, digested and excreted by Axelrod and Rahm.

    Yep. WH Press Sec’y is one of the worst political jobs one can have, consisting of being the designated Noisy Mushroom while being kept out of the loop of what’s really going on so as to be able to spout the prepared manure-jets with a straight face. My sympathy is somewhat bounded by the fact that he took the job voluntarily, knowing what it was.

    The WH is trying to position itself as “centrist,” both to (hopefully) create some seperation from the far left for Dems this year and to start positioning for a bruising 2012. Only fools and True Believers will buy the propaganda. Sadly, said groups form a large part of the overall electorate.

  • kranky kritter

    Hey! Mojo Nixon! I have that on vinyl.

    I have a hard time imagining any liberal or progressive refusing to vote for Obama in 2012 supposing he’s running against say Mitt Romney or Sara Palin or Mike Huckabee. So IMO, anyone who says they will bail on Obama is demonstrating their utter lack of political realism.

    Gibbs? Either his outburst was a genuine spontaneous expression of frustration, or it wasn’t. If it was, I don’t blame him _or_disagree with him.

    If it wasn’t spontaneous, then it was calculated. If so, its purpose was to attract additional attention for the 2nd statement framing things essentially for 2012. Back or forward. This framing matches pretty closely an imaginary Obama speech I riffed over at Stubborn Facts the other day. The frame? To ask folks whether they prefer to go forward or backward. Garden variety but effective stuff.

    I predicted from the GET-go that the more liberal wing would quickly become frustrated when Obama proved himself to be much more mainstream and moderate than liberals had convinced themselves. I wish there ha been a way for me to bet money on it at the time.

    Look, Obama wants the middle. He needs the middle. Every President does. I’m pretty middle. And I really like what Gibbs said. The FIRST time. So contra the mw spin that it makes no one happy, I think it’s a shot clear aimed at the sentiments of the middle, and think it scores a hit. Obviously Obama doesn’t win (win back?) the middle with one outburst by a press secretary. But this is likely where he is going.

    Bear in mind that the GOP has so far assiduously avoided anything that addresses the tea party take on things, unless you count preaching to that particular choir. They’ll need to go after the middle votes too, ya know.

    Scab’s comments suggest the possibility that we’ll see some sort of lefty true believer run at the Presidency. Wouldn’t that be grand theater?

  • theWord

    Debbie Gibson is pregnant with my two headed love child Now that was a song

  • theWord

    Obama is in a tight spot
    When he does what he said he was going to do he is attacked.
    When he caves on what he said he was going to do he is attacked.

    To the cynics who are happy that we are here, wouldn’t we all be better off when there was an honest debate between two sides with different opinions rather than the machiavellian twist everything, distort everything lie about everything, be true to nothing state we find ourselves in? Basically assures that the slimiest come out on top, the good are dissuaded and we end up with mediocrity instead of greatness.

    Happy Wednesday

  • kranky kritter

    I owe Mojo Nixon a big debt of gratitude for the simple fact that he was the one who made me find out who Howling Wolf was:

    I’m gonna dig up Howling Wolf, give me a big leg bone… .

    In the days when I was just learning to play, that meant a lot. One WTF moment helped open a huge Pandora’s box…the journey though old blues legends. Which I’d take all over again, every time.

  • mw

    Hmmm. I had no idea that that there were so many crusty old farts like myself commenting here. This seems very odd. Mojo Nixon was not a particularly widely known or appreciated artist. I didn’t think anyone here would know who I was talking about. Do you think there is some weird freakonomics Donklephant self-selection process for Mojo Nixon fans going on here?

    Anyway – my Mojo Nixon story:
    It was ’89 or ’90 and I’m selling enterprise software in Silicon Valley with the end of the fiscal year closing in. I’m tearing up and down highway 101, going from one business conference room to another, dealing non-stop with corporate lawyers and accountants, in a panic to close a few more deals. I spent a lot of time in the car in traffic between those meetings, and in the car I would listen to exactly one cassette tape – Mojo Nixon Bo-Day-Shus at full volume. I mean FULL VOLUME.

    In particular I would always play “Gotta have more soul” before going into a meeting. In the middle of the song, with a bass guitar pounding a beat in the background – Mojo breaks into this rap –

    Gotta, gotta, gotta, have more soul.
    You know sometimes I get the feeling that accountants and lawyers are in cahoots with the devil, yeah, they’re in the cahoots with the devil, to cover the earth with this wretched swill. Gutless, mediocre, middle of the road sleep inducing homogenized pablum! Background music for the slavery of daily drudgery. Sometimes I get that feelin’ man but I know its a lie. I know its not true!
    Gotta. gotta, gotta, have more soul.

    It always got me in the right mood.

    I’ve got think to think there are more than a few young-uns here who are thinking – WTF? Mojo who?

    BTW – I recently learned that last year Mojo put his entire discography up on Amazon in mp3 form, and for 3 weeks gave it all away for free. Over 1 million downloads. I completely missed it. I’ve been in a bad mood ever since.

    You can listen to Gotta Have More Soul on Rhapsody HERE

  • Aaron

    MW I’m afraid I got distracted from your post by the photoshop you posted at the top. Now I want to see a movie with all of these characters in one place. :)