As many of you might know, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had a bit of meltdown this morning.
"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."
Based on Gibbs walkback, where he used the word "inartful" to describe his outburst, it seems that what set him off was an MSNBC segment with Dylan Ratigan.
So here's Gibbs "reality" -- something that a pseudo-conservative says on MSNBC says means that liberal bloggers want Canadian healthcare and the elimination of the Pentagon. Oh, and we wouldn't be happy even if Dennis Kucinich was president. Because the blogosphere is a hotbed of Dennis Kucinich supporters. Sheesh.
Whatever. Gibbs is clearly locked up tight in his DC bubble. There's no other way to explain how he'd think that Ratigan was somehow liberal. Why? Because he was on MSNBC? The same network that blacklisted me because I criticized Joe Scarborough? Criticism, by the way, that was defending the administration from his (and GOP) bullshit attacks?
I don't care whether he likes me or other bloggers or "the professional left" or whatever. But fact is, the administration has a problem with its base. They can point to Obama's favorability numbers among liberals all they want, but fact is there has been slippage.
In 2008, according to exit polls, 89% self-identified liberals voted for President Obama. Over the past four weeks, according to Gallup, President Obama's approval rating among self-identified liberals has averaged 74%. That is a decline of 15%.
In 2008, according to exit polls, 60% of self-identified moderates voted for President Obama. Over the past four weeks, according to Gallup, President Obama's approval rating among self-identified moderates has averaged 54%. That is a decline of 6%.
In 2008, according to exit polls, 20% of self-identified conservatives voted for President Obama. Over the past four weeks, according to Gallup, President Obama's approval rating has averaged 24% among self-identified conservatives. That is an increase of 4%.
Furthermore, that slippage is likely a primary drive of the intensity gap that threatens to kill Dems this November.
The percentage of registered voters "very enthusiastic" about voting this November fell to 31% for July 26-Aug. 1 from 34% during the July 19-25 period. However, the decline was steeper among Democrats. Their latest 22% "very enthusiastic" figure is the lowest seen thus far in 2010, whereas the Republicans' 44% matches their average for the year.
That intensity gap is among rank-and-file Democrats, not among bloggers or Dylan Ratigan or Ed Schultz or Jane Hamsher or whoever.
If the White House thinks their problems are reserved among a handful of progressive critics, then I'm afraid, because it tells me they're really out of touch with the undercurrent of discontent faced by Democrats this year.
The unemployment rate is brutal, while high-profile cave-ins to nefarious interests, like the Cornhusker Kickback during the health care debate did more to drive the Democrats' numbers down than any blog post or MSNBC segment ever did.
It may be easier to blame the dirty fucking hippies and kick them in the face, but that sure won't address the root cause of Democratic malaise, and it sure as heck won't better motivate base Democrats into helping close this November's intensity gap.