Friday, December 10, 2010

Move Over, Baghdad Bob

By Alan Caruba

Move over Baghdad Bob and make room for White House Bob. Robert Gibbs, the official spokesman for the Obama administration, master of the daily briefings, and quite possibly the biggest dufus to hold the job since Scott McClellan, formerly of the G.W. Bush administration.

It is noteworthy that W’s new book has sold well in excess of the backstabbing McClellan’s version of what occurred while he was press secretary. Happily, Dana Perino, who replaced him now adorns the Fox News Channel.

The infamous Baghdad Bob gained fame during the 2003 invasion of Iraq in which, while U.S. soldiers were occupying one of Saddam's many palaces, he kept insisting that Saddam’s glorious Republican Guard had the enemy—the U.S.—on the run. I don’t know what happened to him and I don’t much care.

Robert Gibbs is embarrassing to watch. Lately he dismissed the massive WikiLeak data dump of purloined State Department cables as just “some guy with a laptop.” It doesn’t get more moronic than that.

To be fair, press secretary for the White House has to be one of the most challenging jobs on earth, but it helps if one is the spokesman for a reasonably popular president and not one being vociferously rejected by the far Left of his own party along with a growing majority of all Americans.

Gibbs has been close to the president from the days he served in a comparable position during the 2008 campaign. He appears to have the confidence of the president, but the usual tension in the White House press room appears to have morphed into a bored acceptance that he is a fairly useless source of information.

Gibbs is relentlessly cheery no matter the size and scope of whatever new crisis has hit the White House and that is either a coping mechanism or reflective of how clueless he truly is.

It is instructive, too, to note the increasing rarity of appearances on the Sunday news shows that involve Gibbs and other White House advisors like Valerie Jarrett or David Axelrod. When they do appear, the total vacuity of their answer to any question renders them useless as a source of insight and information.

What is clear is that Obama’s presumed base in the Democrat Party’s Left has been disappearing for some time. In August, Gibbs called them “crazy” and then had to back off that evaluation of the ultra-liberal critics. At the time, he said, “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested. I mean, it’s crazy.”

Not really that crazy as we have seen Obama reluctantly embrace the extension of the Bush tax rates, in place now for a decade, while claiming it was the GOP holding Americans “hostage”. In fact, it has been the Democrats and the White House, desperately braying about “millionaires and billionaires”, that are still holding taxpayer’s hostage barely three weeks from the day they end.

Obama has also embraced the Bush policies regarding Afghanistan, at first promising to be out in 2011, but now setting that horizon in 2014.

At the heart of the administration’s problems, though, is the president’s “greatest achievement”, Obamacare, a piece of legislation that was opposed by the majority of voters going back to the raucous “town hall” meetings members of Congress had to endure and a massive protest of nearly a million who gathered near the steps of the Capitol building.

We have the tendency to infuse those who have gained control of the White House with a wisdom beyond our own understanding of events and issues. This almost always turns out to be wrong. Watching Gibbs trying to cope is in many ways watching an embattled and besieged president do the same.

It’s not pretty.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


Richard said...

It took me some time to realise that you were referring to Comical Ali, as he was known in UK. We all knew of Chemical Ali, and when we first laughed at your Bagdad Bob he was instantly dubbed 'Comical Ali'.

Enjoy your blog, lots of good old fashioned commonsense.

Alan Caruba said...

@Richard: Thanks. I am glad you enjoy my blog. I am delighted to have readers and friends in the UK.