Politico asks: Who are Obama’s ‘whiners’?




Apparently, the whiners are me and you. From Keach Hagey at Politico:

The vice president told Democrats to “stop whining,” the president told them to “buck up,” and if there was any remaining doubt that press secretary Robert Gibbs’s exasperation over the summer with the “professional left” was the official view of the White House, they dispelled it this week.

But who, exactly, makes up this “professional left” that is so bothering President Barack Obama and his advisers? On Tuesday, Gibbs’s deputy, Bill Burton, made it clear that the occasionally critical cable personalities originally associated with this comment have the administration’s blessing.

“If you’re on the left, if you’re somebody like Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow or one of the folks who helps to keep our government honest and pushes and prods to make sure that folks are true to progressive values, then [the president] thinks that those folks provide an invaluable service,” Burton told reporters.

Noticeably absent from Burton’s embrace was anyone from the blogosphere once courted so avidly by the White House. Peter Daou thinks he knows why:

“With each passing day, I’m beginning to realize that the crux of the problem for Obama is a handful of prominent progressive bloggers, among them Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Digby, Marcy Wheeler and Jane Hamsher.”

The article goes on to cite a series of essays by Peter Daou about the power of the liberal blogosphere, and its effects, and relationship, with the Obama administration. You can read Peter’s quite interesting essays here and here.

The role of the blogs in Obama’s falling popularity is a complicated one.  To some degree I think criticism of Obama by the blogs did eventually hurt the President in the public eye.  The top blogs may not collectively reach that many people in a country of over 300 million, but we reach the right people.  We are read by the White House, Congress, political campaigns, reporters, donors, celebrities, and more generally, politically -connected and -aware people across the country.  Our views disseminate to the right people, and if those people agree with us, the message spreads.

But I also think the blogs simply saw what was coming, that it wasn’t good, and provided an early warning that was ignored by the administration.  For twenty months now, Joe and I have been warning of an impending rupture between the Democratic party and the gay community.  And a rupture is now clearly brewing, especially with the Obama administration not having achieved any of its top three promises to our community.  Did we cause that rupture or did we simply predict it?  To some degree both.  We not only alerted the community to what was coming – to the fact that the President was neither interested in our issues, nor in trying to advance them – we also informed the public every time the administration or Congress did something to set back our civil rights movement.  The Obama administration can choose to blame the messenger, but our message has proven true time and time again.

And even when you say “the blogs helped cause the President’s problems” what does that mean?  The Obama administration and its apologists would have you believe that the liberal blogs have an almost svengali-like power to trick our readers, and Democratic voters generally, into being disappointed with the President and Congress.  I’m not convinced that our readers are so stupid that they’d believe “lies.”  We could only get away with lying once or twice before our stories simply wouldn’t pan out, our predictions wouldn’t end up happening, and our readers would realize that we had no clue what was really going on in Washington politics.  Except we ended up being right.

On gay rights, Joe and I have an almost perfect track record of predicting everything the Obama administration and Democratic Congress were going to do on DADT, DOMA and ENDA, and ultimately, in predicting just how much trouble our community would be in as a result of the Democrats’ disinterest in our issues.

But the gay community isn’t alone.  Glenn Greenwald and the ACLU surely haven’t been wrong about their early warnings regarding Obama’s civil liberties policies.  And were environmentalists wrong to question whether Team Obama would act forcefully and quickly on global warming?  Have Latinos been wrong to worry that Obama wouldn’t keep his promise to pass immigration reform last year, and now this year?  Then there’s health care reform – yes, the President and the Congress did something, but not nearly what they were capable of doing with the majorities and the public support we gave them.

Perhaps the reason the President’s voters-turned-critics have influence, and perhaps the reason the President and the party are increasingly less popular, isn’t because we’re consistently wrong – but rather because we’re right.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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