kens*ten: a political blog

Obama Dances the Centrist Shuffle

Be Vewy Vewy Qwiet. I'm Hunting Centwists.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs got in touch with his Inner Child this week by throwing a tantrum. 

In an interview with The Hill website, Gibbs shot back at criticism from what he termed the “professional left”: 

They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality. They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president. 

I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested. I mean, it’s crazy. 

IMHO, most things are exactly as they appear… except in poker and politics. So, I’m not buying Gibbs’ snake oil. 

Consider that Gibbs wasn’t required to apologize or recant… or walk the plank for his tantrum. Which tells my jaded political mind that he is doing his master’s bidding. 

OK, so why does President Obama want to pick a fight with his own party? 

I can think of two reasons. 

The first reason is personal to Obama… which means political to Obama. The president is losing ground steadily and dangerously among self-identified “independents” in every nationwide poll. Yes I know, the prez ain’t on the ballot. But, he still needs political credibility to function in Washington. Besides, the man has an ego to feed. And, it’s very hungry. 

Obama isn’t going to gain with GOPers and he’s fine with most Dems. So, by attacking his “loony left” — Gibbs specifically mentioned Kucinich, remember — to appear more centrist and get those poll numbers back up among indies. Result: More leverage with congressional Dems. 

Actually the second reason is political to Obama… which means personal to Obama. The Dems are on track to get a good old-fashioned whoopin’ come November 2nd. Despite the studied cool detachment, Obama has no desire to deal with a Speaker Boehner and/or Majority Leader McConnell for the remainder of his first term. He needs to stop the congressional delegation’s bleeding in the polls.  

The best way he can help his beleaguered colleagues is to appear unpopular within the party so Dem congressional candidates can “oppose” him to improve their reelection chances. Once the election is over, everyone can kiss, make up and sing Kumbayah. 

The biggest problem with this plan: The president is unpopular with independents because he (deceptively) led them to believe he was a centrist during the 2008 campaign and then immediately began to govern as the elitist leftist he truly is. 

My conclusion: Independents will rightfully regard attacking the “professional left” as transparent political posturing… and the Dems will continue to hemorrhage support. IOW, the Obama “Centrist Shuffle” will have the staying power of the “Icky Shuffle”. 

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved. 

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NBC Sports / “The Icky Shuffle” 

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