The Hill posted an item at 6 a.m. EDT today, reporting on an interview with Robert Gibbs. Gibbs threw quite a tantrum, at the “professional left”. (I very much fear that includes liberal bloggers.)
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.”
The White House, constantly under fire from expected enemies on the right, has been frustrated by nightly attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in healthcare reform; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
Liberals have criticized Obama and his staff for moving to the middle and bargaining on healthcare reform, as well as the financial regulatory overhaul and even the $787 billion economic stimulus package, which some liberals said should have been larger.
Just last week, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow described Obama political adviser David Axelrod as a “human pretzel” for his explanation of the administration’s position on gay marriage. Axelrod had explained that Obama opposes same-sex marriage but favors equal benefits for partners in gay relationships.
While visibly frustrated, Gibbs did not specifically name any of the White Houses’s (sic) liberal detractors by name.
So was this a Robert Gibbs tantrum or a White House tantrum?
The Hill went with this paragraph as their lede:
The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.
Perhaps because of that lede, some bloggers are assuming that Gibbs’ remarks represent an official White House position. But I can’t imagine that he was actually authorized to sound off in those terms. Even if he was, there’s undoubtedly going to be a strong reaction from the professional left, which will probably lead the White House to disavow Gibbs’ remarks.
(For some reason, this isn’t yet a story at ThinkProgress or TPM, although there was a brief mention in TPMDC‘s morning roundup.)