I watch too much cable, I admit. Day after day it gets frustrating. Yesterday I watched as someone called legislation to prevent teacher layoffs a bailout -- but I know that's not a view held by many, nor were the views I was frustrated about.See, here's the thing: I do know what's at stake, and I still have fundamental policy differences with this administration. This constant assertion that I am (and people like me are) just too fucking stupid to understand politics and to grasp the importance of issues like healthcare reform is not endearing this administration to me. I am not a stupid person. I am not an uninformed person. I am not a naïve person. I am not an impatient person. I am not a person who insists on ideological purity.
So what I may have said inartfully, let me say this way -- since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path. Most importantly, to dig our way out of a huge recession and build an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle class more secure. Some are frustrated that the change we want hasn't come fast enough for many Americans. That we all understand.
But in 17 months, we have seen Wall Street reform, historic health care reform, fair pay for women, a recovery act that pulled us back from a depression and got our economy moving again, record investments in clean energy that are creating jobs, student loan reforms so families can afford college, a weapons system canceled that the Pentagon didn't want, reset our relationship with the world and negotiated a nuclear weapons treaty that gets us closer to a world without fear of these weapons, just to name a few. And at the end of this month, 90,000 troops will have left Iraq and our combat mission will come to an end.
Even so, we will continue to work each day on the promises and commitments that the President made traveling all over this country for two years and produce the change we know is possible.
In November, America will get to choose between going back to the failed policies that got us into this mess, or moving forward with the policies that are leading us out.
So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies, and instead work together to make sure everyone knows what is at stake because we've come too far to turn back now.
I am also not a person who appreciates being expected to march in lockstep under the guise of "working together." As I have said before: It is, simply, not the duty of any person who is repeatedly subjected to alienating language, images, behaviors, and/or legislation to nonetheless never complain and pledge fealty from the margins. Gibbs' statement here is nothing more than the words of an articulate bully.
And let us be honest for a moment about his list of successes: We have not seen historic healthcare reform, but historic insurance reform—which is not to take away from the millions of people who will be helped by that legislation, but calling it something it just isn't, while simultaneously ignoring that the president broke faith with women to get it passed, is just another way of pretending the legitimate policy disagreements that many progressives have with the administration don't exist.
It's easier to call dissenting feminist/womanist progressives a bunch of crackpots when you disappear the valid complaints many of us have about the legislation the president has made the centerpiece of his first term.
Back to that list: I was hugely excited (and remain so) about the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but to assert that this administration achieved "fair pay for women" is absurd. Women are still (illegally) being paid less than their male counterparts all across the country, and what the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act did was increase the statute of limitations in which women who discover they are being paid unequally can sue.
If this administration really wanted to endure "fair pay for women," they would advocate an employment law that required employers to make public their employees' salaries, so every woman working in the US would have the ability to see whether she is being paid equally.
But they're never going to do that, because corporations save billions of dollars every year underpaying women. And this administration cares more about corporations than women.
So claiming to have guaranteed "fair pay for women" is a real stretch, and, I don't know about any other working women in the US, but I frankly don't appreciate being told that this administration has given me something it flatly hasn't delivered.
No less to have them turn around and tell me I'm too goddamn stupid to understand the nuances of Big Boy Politics.
Now, I could go on, but my point was to dismantle Gibbs' bullshit, not assert that the Obama administration has had no successes—because, clearly, I don't believe that to be the case.
I do believe, however, that this administration has adopted the deplorable tactics of their most ardent defenders during the election. Trying to bully people with legitimate grievances and policy differences into submission, trying to extort their support by threatening them with Things They'll Lose, was shitty behavior coming from a bunch of privileged fauxgressive wankstains who can't abide uppity girls and queers who don't believe in trickle-down social justice, and it's even shittier coming from the White House.
And P.S. Gibbs: Stop saying "this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path" when Obama took 26 vacation days his first year in office (double that of the average US worker) and Congress is, as we speak, on its annual month-long summer recess. I don't begrudge Obama and Congress their time off, but get a clue, dude. The vast majority of people in this country (who are still fortunate enough to have a job) aren't getting a month off every year.
There are millions of US workers who get no paid vacation time at all. They're the ones "working tirelessly."
Well, actually, I'm sure they're fucking tired, but they don't have a goddamn choice but to keep working anyway—a reality with which Gibbs et. al. might be better acquainted if they weren't so ceaselessly occupied patting themselves on the back and whinging at their devastating lack of cookies.