Monday, October 12, 2009

Did White House Dismiss GLBT Critics As Being Part of "Internet Left Fringe"?

Is there a grand leftwing conspiracy harassing President Obama? Maybe, according to a report by NBC news.

John Harwood, CNBC's Chief Washington Correspondent, reports that the White House is unconcerned with "the Left." Harwood, responding to a question regarding yesterday's GLBT rights march in Washington, explains that Obama is "doing well with 90% of Democrats" and that the White House views "this opposition" as part of the "Internet Left fringe."

Harwood also reports that one White House "advisor" told him that "those bloggers need to take off the pajamas, get dressed, and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult." I have several responses.

First, it is unclear whether the White House advisor used the "Internet Left Fringe" language, but it definitely clear that someone in the White House believes that the Left is merely a political irritant.

Second, it is unclear whether the "fringe" language was directed towards GLBT protesters alone or to the Left as a whole, but many bloggers have interpreted this as a slight to GLBT demonstrators. [Update: Harwood says that the phrase describes the "grumbling" Left in general.]

Third, the "pajamas" language is absolutely bankrupt and really demonstrates how "elite," "out of touch" and smug some politicos are. The "demeaning your critics" card is an old and pathetic approach to debate.

Fourth, the belief that Obama would do something extraordinary for progressives actually got him elected, in part. So, it is extremely ironic for this unnamed White House source to dismiss Leftists as pajamas-clad imbeciles.

Fifth, I am a proud member of the Internet Left Fringe (if that means "progressive critic of Obama"), but I never put much stock in the sweeping liberal rhetoric that surrounded Obama's election. I agreed with Hillary Clinton who said that "you campaign in poetry but govern in prose." I said a long time ago that the liberal euphoria surrounding Obama's candidacy was misguided and that Obama was going to govern from the center because the country was politically divided and that he was a moderate -- at best.

Nonetheless, I have always argued that progressives must push President Obama to implement progressive policies (which involves more than speeches). The history of progressive change in this country has always involved progressive social movements pushing moderate presidents and other politicians for liberal policies. The White House official's comments demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of history.

The comments also contradict the nation's current political climate. On some issues, like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a majority of Americans support the "liberal" outcome (repealing the discriminatory policy). So, by remaining sluggish on this deficit-neutral policy, Obama is catering to military brass, not to the public at large. Of course, a fight with the military brass could erode some of Obama's public support, but this does not mean that GLBT people who want an end to discrimination are fringe elements. Instead, we are simply reminding President Obama what he said before he was elected and issuing him a "call for action."

Here is the NBC footage, courtesy of YouTube:


Stray Yellar Dawg? said...

What's a PUMA to do?

First we were "conservatives" now we are the "left wing fringe."

Whatever suits the Holy One's needs, I guess.


Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Stray: I say -- keep fighting!

Anonymous said...

It is for posts like these that I though very much a person of the right am very pleased to have you on my blogroll.

I disagree with you a lot but at least you actually believe in something and won't be played for a fool just because someone has a D next to his name.

RealityZone said...

I personally was and still am very anti w/cheney regime. That said; i believe now more than ever the Obama regime has to have their feet held to the fire. None of their campaign rhetoric fooled me. As soon as i saw that ZBIG, and Albright were his foreign policy advisers. THE JOKE WAS OVER !! imo; so far. Obama is more center right, than even center. We shall see, if he escalates the troops in AF/PAK to the point of no return. He will be a one termer, and justifiably so. If he can not pull this economy out, he will be a one termer. He has all retreads running his economic policy, the same banksters that got us into this mess in the first place. We shall see. TICK-TOCK-TICK-TOCK

Anonymous said...

Lets give a challenge, on my blog I am asking if president doesn't come through what Republican candidate would you be willing to vote for instead in 2012?

Can you name one? If not then I guess the left will have to live with it and take what the party is willing to give them when they give it

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Datechguy: I would vote for an antiwar Republican, who supports gay rights, who believes in gender equality, who does not believe that racial inequality is the fault of lazy persons of color, and who does not believe that government should exist only for the purpose of incarcerating criminals and waging war.

Anonymous said...

Darren (at 5:13), I would too. The name does not matter, the stance on issues does.

As to that "left fringe" comment -- wow. Why not go a tiny step further and just state that the GLBT movement is a figment of one blogger's-in-pajamas imagination? Poof! All gone. Easy to make it disappear -- from Obama and his advisers' awareness at least.

Same with the public option, which Obama characterizes in so many of his speeches as some radical idea that galvanizes only the far left.

Well, that would mean that just about 60% of the country, if not more, is far left.

Perhaps Obama and his people should get out more often and actually talk to real people once in a while.

liberal dissent said...

In traditionally liberal NYC and NY state (which is obviously strongly driven by NYC voters) moderate and liberal Republicans are frequently elected; I personally would vote for a very pro-environment, anti-unitary-executive even if I disagreed with a lot of their other positions.

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