I think Robert Gibbs needs to be drug tested if he thinks whining about liberal critics in an interview with The Hill is going to help him or Barack Obama in any way:
“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.”
Longtime readers and followers of various squabbles with FDL bloggers will know that I have some sympathy with the substance of what Gibbs has to say here. But you don’t improve your relationship with same-team ideological activists by attacking them in red-baiting terms. What’s more, we’re seeing a serious confusion here on the role of political activists in the system. As I said during the health care debate, it’s not the job of the President of the United States to stand up for a pure ideological vision—his job is to cut compromises to implement policies that improve on the status quo. But by the same token, it’s not the job of activists to be “satisfied” with compromises premised on the current boundaries of political feasibility.
I’m excited about the Affordable Care Act, but it’s completely true that I won’t be “satisfied” with American health care policy until it’s made much much better. What’s wrong with that? Being satisfied with the status quo never got anyone anywhere.