Shorter Gibbs: Left Wing Pressure is Working

No one likes to have to do all of the work of changing paradigms in the middle of the stream.

When Obama took office, the voters had had enough of Republicans. But as a nation we were still trapped in the very powerful cultural and political atmosphere of fear imposed by the Republicans after 9/11. The paradigm of the Right Wing had been shoved down America’s throat for so long that everything…and I mean everything was approached, examined, and acted upon from a RW viewpoint.

All issues, policies, statements and actions were not based on what was right for the country, what was morally right, or even what would work.

All issues, policies, statements and actions were determined by how they would be viewed through the imposed Right Wing Paradigm that had been established, with the help of appealing to and exploiting deeply primal fears, by eight years of Cheney/Bush.

This is not a condemnation.

That sort of ‘politickin’ was necessary for political survival in the paradigm that existed then.

A politicians job is to blow in the wind.

Whichever wind (Left or Right) of political pressure is stronger, that is the way they blow. Again this is not a condemnation, it is the reality of politics. Their jobs literally force them to do this, to respond to the ‘mood of the country,’ or in other words the present political paradigm.

When that paradigm changes, the politicians have to change.

And the paradigm is changing.

Out of political necessity, each and every statement and action from the White House for the past two years has been carefully parsed, judged and formulated to play against the imposed and deceitful RW paradigm.

But now with the Republicans out of political power, and thus unable to effectively ratchet up the fear without the bully pulpit, and with a new generation rising that does NOT buy their divisive wedge tactics such as gays are evil or mosques are evil and Muslims are coming to kill you in your bed or that Christianity is the State Religion. And with the rash of Republican sex scandals that have forced them to back away from claiming the mantle of Family Values….

And with the undeniable evidence that democratic economic policies, however imperfect, are far far better for most Americans than Republican economic policies….even if they haven’t yet turned the economy around and created jobs for Main St…..

The Republican Paradigm has been, or more accurately is now in the process of being, broken.

Or to put it more bluntly….no one is buying the Republican Bullshit anymore.

And so the political paradigm is changing. It has in fact, changed at the root of the American psyche, but just like another immense Republican failure, Climate Change Denial, the symptoms of that change are just now starting to show up.

In the new paradigm, the once vitally necessary political position of “supporting gay rights” while at the same time not “supporting gay marriage” now looks, well………stupid.

Supporting killing Afghan children in order to “stop terrorism”, once again a position that was absolutely necessary politically two years ago under the Republican Paradigm, is now being seriously questioned in all quarters.

Especially the part where we spend billions of dollars a month that we don’t have to create more terrorists…..while turning off streetlamps, firing police and firefighters and unpaving roads here at home.

What was a vital necessity under the old paradigm, fighting terrorism in foreign lands no matter what the cost in blood and money….now just seems foolish. Or at least is starting to.

Because the paradigm is changing.

And in part it is changing because of Left Wing pressure. Because the professional AND non-professional Left just will not shut up about it.

All the years of loud annoying Lefties standing up and pointing a finger at the utter stupidity of the Right Wing Paradigm is starting to pay off.

With the help of the Obama Administrations “No Drama” approach to governing. An approach that has shown the American people who the real “radicals” are, the Republican obstructionists that want to return to the fear and horror of the Bush years. Of course in order to pursue that political strategy, they had to embrace or at least accommodate the Bush Paradigm, especially on issues of “National Security.” The “Soft on Terror” part of the paradigm absolutely, well,  terrorized them.

The cost of being forced to pander to the Republican paradigm on absolutely everything from national security to health care has taken an immense toll not only on the sensibilities of many of the folks who would like to support Obama….but even worse, on the policies themselves. Pre-compromising to the Republican paradigm, going way too far, farther than was absolutely necessary, to pander to the Republican paradigm lost Obama a LOT of goodwill. And that and that alone makes the arguments that “Obama has achieved more than any President” ring false to aware lefties. We KNOW we could have gotten much more through Congress if it wasn’t for this pre-capitulation to the existing paradigm.

But now the political paradigm has shifted, the cultural paradigm has shifted, the economic paradigm has shifted.

Now when the Left Wing stands up and points at something stupid that the Obama administration has done, the Obama administration no longer has the cover of the Republican paradigm to hide behind. They are forced to listen. They are forced to react.

They are being forced to deal with a new paradigm…..and that is…. uncomfortable, shall we say.

You don’t yell at people, as Gibbs did, who aren’t affecting you.

You don’t insult people whose criticism of you isn’t effective and truthful.

You don’t, if you have power, react strongly to people who have no power.

The changing times we live in, the abject failure of every Republican policy, and to a lesser extent the voices from both the ‘professional” and non-professional Left, are finally forcing us out of the Republican paradigm.

As the old paradigm fades and a new one is established sans the Cheney/Bush/Religious Right influence, the Obama administration will be forced (kicking and screaming apparently. in Gibbs’ case) to adjust to the new paradigm. A paradigm where the horrific, ineffective and just plain wrong policies and views of the past have far lesser currency.

A paradigm where the effective, humane, sensible, and equitable ideas and policies of the Left, ideas and policies that actually work for all Americans, cannot be denied any longer.

This is the cyclical nature of American politics and culture. But in that cycle, someone is needed to stand up and point out that indeed things have changed. As uncomfortable as that may be to Mr. Gibbs.

Left Wing pressure is starting to work.

The White House had fallen into the habit, the politically necessary habit, of listening to, appeasing, and performing for the old, Right Wing paradigm. And we all know how annoyed we get when we are forced to break a habit.

A new paradigm has….occurred. One that will force all of us to break old habits, to rethink our approaches, to Change. Including the White House.

This will be doubly true after the imaginary Republican Wave of 2010 breaks harmlessly upon the shore of this new paradigm, and the Democratic Establishment has to adjust to the fact that they have no more excuses for pandering to the obsolete Republican Party. They will have to govern, they will have to implement new ideas and new policies that reflect and account for this new paradigm. And where will they get those ideas and policies? The same place they always have, from those loud, impolite, annoying Lefties! The ones that keep insisting that doing the Right Thing IS the right thing to do politically as well! And who have been proven historically right time after time as to what the right thing is.

Heck they might even find that Hippie-Punching is not such a good idea anymore! That working with and embracing the Left, instead of openly despising them, might be the new political necessity!

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! That is a bridge too far to a paradigm that only exists in a parallel universe! For now.


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  1. Photobucket

    Note: I have been out of the loop, lol, please excuse any lapses in Left Wing Orthodoxy I may have unwittingly engaged in!

    • Edger on August 10, 2010 at 22:43

    about November?

    Maybe he should get himself a lifejacket.

    On second thought, he’s probably a carrying member of  both major political parties already anyway…

  2. The testosterone-fueled stimulus measures are paradoxically shrinking their stimulus packages.  M3 shrinking at 8%.  Impotent rage ensues.  Lockers get smashed.

    Things are not going so well, and they know it.  The century-long attack on liberalism, broadly defined to include the greatest trend in modern political thinking (The Enlightenment), is meeting its capitalist Maker, and the capitalists need to blame somebody.  

  3. You give a lot of seeming credit to folks who are feckless, but that’s probably to be expected.  If the administration were half as good as you seem to suggest, I probably would stop complaining about them.  Not likely.  

  4. and Im overdue for a dose of your optimism Buhdy, but… gah! Im just not feelin’ it.

    I see the corporations {google, verizon} telling the gov’t, {FCC} (or substitute BP::EPA, MMS, etc) how to regulate the corporations, or more accurately, not regulate.

    I see the Judge allowing the confessions obtained by torture at the first trial starting up in Guantanamo… (opening arguments tomorrow).


    Im thinking that Team O is being set up to have even more excuses after the 2010 midterms, to continue to be almost totally ineffective on almost everything except furthering the Bush/Cheney policies and the empire… so this little outburst by Gibbs just seems… laughable to me. Ya know…kinda “Oops”.

    In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

    Hunter S. Thompson

    But…. good to see ya nevertheless! 🙂

    • Mu on August 11, 2010 at 00:56


      . . . lit into Gibbs and the Admin (in a Front Pager) there were some, but not a lot, of venom-strewn responses.  Not nearly what “mere bloggers” receive from those who are more worshipful than discerning about the Administration and the policies and practices that come therefrom.

      At any rate, Glen Greenwald’s take on Gibbs and the whole thing nails it — o.k., o.k., so does Buddydharma’s — I’m no fool.

      Anyway, an excerpt from Greenwald’s piece:

    So, to recap:  (1) The Professional Left are totally irrelevant losers who speak for absolutely nobody, and certainly nobody in Real America who matters; but (2) they’re ruining everything for the White House!!!  And:  if you criticize the President, it’s only because you’re such a rabid extremist that you harbor a secret desire to eliminate the Pentagon — that’s how anti-American you are!  You’re such a Far Left extremist that Dennis Kucinich isn’t far enough Left for you, you subversive, drug-using hippies!  You’re so far to the Left that you want to turn the U.S. into Canada.  As David Frum put it today:  “More proof of my longtime thesis, Repub pols fear the GOP base; Dem pols hate the Dem base.”



    • robodd on August 11, 2010 at 06:33

    perhaps much worse, before they get better.

    That is not to say this itself won’t be evidence of the paradigm changing.  Perhaps it’s a necessary part.

    And perhaps it is wise to put “things” in perspective again anyway.

    • sharon on August 11, 2010 at 06:36

    and what serendipity.  most excellent essay, buhdy.  so glad i came by.

    hope everyone here is as well as possible.

  5. air and on the ground being walked over. He, Axelrod and Obama attained their goal on Nov 4. The rest was and is ceremonial. Just waltz with the corporate establishment.

    Unfortunately, the independents and many liberals are peeling off pretty fast. And he can’t be angry with the independents….soooooo, it’s them lefties as the Obama team tries to hold the vast, silent center. What idiots.

    I’d love to be optimistic, but IMHO, Gibbs is living in a fantasy world and is only reacting to shadows in his own mind. Not much more. His job really ended Nov 2008. He’s clewless, and I wouldn’t attribute much meaning to his babbling.  

    • banger on August 11, 2010 at 16:51

    But it will take a lot more “pressure” to put this administration even in the realm of the rational.

    I’m not really blaming Obama, the political game in Washington is very, very, very rough. You don’t step on significant toes and expect to have a long healthy life-span.  

    The reason the Obama administration is being soft on the left is because there is an election coming up and it needs us to walk into the voting booth. Once the election is over it will be back doing the business of Wall Street and the MIC. That has been Obama’s constituencies and will continue to be–without them he has nothing. The left has not seriously pursued power or nurtured its own institutions, so I don’t see anything other than some token gestures. This makes Elizabeth Warren’s appointment more likely. She will be, once she is appointed, blocked and undercut in every way imaginable, we’ll see how she plays it.  

  6. seething

    Gibbs Stands By His ‘Professional Left’ Critique, Expects Liberals To Vote In 2010

    Ill have some things to say.

  7. I hope for is not that the Democrats will wise up but that the left will wake up. The Democratic Party is the left and they seem to have forgotten and are all talking like they are themselves the enemy of the good. what good? no good. Two legs better and double speak. The more people are screwed the less likely they are to believe that this is all you get or better then the worst ever.

    Cart before the horse politics where wining gets you nothing but an expansion of the powers that be, and the really scary fascists you voted out. It requires that you stick your head in the sand and believe that what you get is reform or accomplishments. Gibbs has just taken away the tar balled sand that the liberals had their heads stuck in and then demanded that they be grateful. Who the fuck does he think made up the coalition that got them power.

    Today he said we will vote, this batch is as arrogant as the last and I am drug free. Maybe they would be more tolerable if I wasn’t. Rachael, KO and Glenn Greenwald even kos did not take this well maybe it will relight their liberal fires that helped to rid the country of the bushie regime, or did it?          

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