You may have heard this story already, but White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs recently attacked the President’s critics on the left.
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 heâ€™s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
Gibbs later walked back his remarks partway, but the outburst is telling.
First, attacking criticism from the left is just stupid on his part. It’s certainly not going to stop it. And none of the critics on the left are saying that Obama is like George Bush. They’re saying that many of his policies are like George Bush’s, as Glenn Greenwald has exhaustively detailed, and that he has reneged many of his campaign promises, particularly in the areas of civil liberties and government secrecy/accountability.
But Gibbs is also tone-deaf in a second way. By using the phrase “Those people ought to be drug tested,” he is showing a lack of respect for the huge portion of this country that is calling for a serious dialogue on drug policy.
It’s reminiscent of Obama’s glib Townhall response last year
“There was one question that voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation,” he said. “And I don’t know what this says about the online audience, but … this was a popular question. We want to make sure it’s answered. The answer is no, I don’t think that’s a good strategy to grow our economy. All right.”
Add to that the drug czar’s “legalization is not in our vocabulary” nonsense, and you have a White House that is not only unwilling to engage in the important questions about drug policy, but is also uninterested in showing anything but cluelessness.
True and necessary change is not going to come from the top. It’s going to come from the people rising up for something better for the kids, and it’s going to come from California challenging the U.S. Government.