Barack Obama's White House has plenty of problems these days, one of which is that they feel like they aren't getting enough love from the left. The people who should have their back, who should be touting their accomplishments, aren't -- in their view anyway -- doing enough to help. So press secretary Robert Gibbs apparently thinks the way to address this problem is to mock and insult them:
The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.
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."
But the left does have the White House's back. Read liberal blogs: They're filled every day with criticism of Republicans and defenses of many of the things the administration has done. But they've also got plenty of criticisms of the White House on matters where progressives think they've fallen short. And guess what? That's the left's job. They're supposed to encourage the president to be as progressive as possible. No Democratic president is going to be as progressive as the left wants, just as no Republican president is going to be as conservative as the right wants.
To a great extent, this is the bed the administration has made. They simply haven't invested the time and energy in the care and feeding of the base that they could have. They could decide to change that -- just as they could decide to take the left's criticisms with equanimity, instead of throwing a temper tantrum. But if Robert Gibbs really wants more support from the left, sitting down with reporters and complaining about how the left is a bunch of jerks is probably not the best way to do it.
-- Paul Waldman