President Joe Biden administered some tough love to his party's liberal base
yesterday at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, advising progressives to
stop "whining" and "buck up" before the midterm elections. For
left-leaning writers still smarting from press secretary Robert Gibbs's
evisceration of the "professional left" at a press conference last month, the vice
president's admonitions fell on unreceptive ears.
- Near-Sighted The most curious aspect of the Obama presidency is "the administration's persistent impulse to insult the most loyal Democrats", writes Salon's Joan Walsh. Biden, like the rest of the administration, seems to have forgotten that "inspiring voters works better than scolding them."
- No Upside It's one thing to make these remarks in the dog days of summers, but it is quite another to make them just weeks before an election, observes John Aravosis of AMERICAblog. "The thing is," writes Aravosis, "I can't for the life of me understand what the White House thinks it gains by continually poking the base - the people who actually vote in mid-term elections - only five weeks before the election."
- Foot-in-Mouth Moment The comments speak to the danger of letting Biden go off-script, muses Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor. "Joe, Joe, Joe," chuckles Grier, "your handlers have told you this over and over – it’s think first, then speak. Not the other way around."
- Disconnect Salon's Glenn Greenwald believes the comments matter, but not for the reasons you might think. Rather, Biden and Gibbs's complaints reflect the White House's belief that its record "merits gratitude rather than valid condemnation, and that anger over the state of the country is nothing more than irresponsible whining." Greenwald acknowledges Biden is working to sell the public on the administration's accomplishments, but finds it "just mystifying that they think they're going to accomplish anything other than feeling better about themselves with these incessant, name-calling attacks on those who are dissatisfied with their behavior -- their policies -- in power. Talk about 'self-pitying and self-indulgent.'"