During an interview with The Hill magazine in his West Wing office, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs got into a fair amount of trouble with the president’s liberal base.
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs dismissed the base he coined the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”
President Obama has been under fire from both sides of the political spectrum. His critics on the right such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and basically the whole Fox News primetime line up complain that the president has been much too leftist while many in his liberal base argue that the president’s policies have been moderate to even Bush-like in some areas.
So is it possible that President Obama has been very Bush-like in certain areas?
Well, the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been quite identical to Bush’s atrocious foreign policy.
The President has of course continued the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts. Guantanamo Bay is still open and its promised closing is nowhere in sight.
What about domestic policy?
The Obama administration supported the renewal of the unconstitutional Patriot Act as well as supporting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill.
Both measures, Bush supported.
We can’t ignore how the Obama administration has been dragging its feet on gay rights and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
So where exactly is the huge change in policy Mr. Gibbs?
The Obama administration, without a doubt, has run public policy by giving in to almost every political position to their naysayers on the right. In the health care debate, for instance, the Obama Administration took the public option right off the table from the start. The package that was passed was very “insurance company friendly” and still doesn’t help cover millions of Americans.
Just weeks before the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf, the Obama administration chose to expand off-shore oil drilling, a position quite at odds with the liberal base and more in line with conservatives’ “drill baby drill” ideology.
It seems the Obama administration loves running to the center on every key issue. It’s as if they believe that by appeasing the radical right conservatives will support the President all of a sudden.
The difference between real liberals who voted the Obama administration into office and Bush supporters should be that liberals should stand on principles.
The Bush backers were blinded sheep who supported nearly every decision Bush made with cheers and applause, even when such moves were detrimental to the country. Liberals mustn’t act the same or continue to act the same.
Mr. Gibbs should be less concerned with criticizing the “professional left” and more worried about satisfying the concerns of the very base that helped the president become president of the United States. Without the liberal base, Obama would not be in the White House.
The administration would best serve itself by not lashing out against those who argue that the president’s policies are similar to Bush, and practicing what they preached instead.