Gibbs Swings And Misses

The incredibly thin skinned Obama administration once again showed their hypersensitivity to any criticism yesterday when White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took umbrage at the fun CNBC’s Rick Santelli had with his Chicago Tea Party stunt on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Santelli’s message could be distilled to one basic point: the White house mortgage bailout plan promoted bad behavior. In contrast to the colorful Santelli’s brevity, Gibbs wandered around the subject variously noting that…

“I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives,” Gibbs said during the daily briefing. “But the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their jobs, pay their bills to send their kids to school, and to hope that they don’t get sick or somebody they care for gets sick that sends them into bankruptcy.”

If that stemwinder didn’t cover the expansive political landscape Gibbs intended, he layered on the now tired Pelosi bromide that “Democrats won” while inserting a subtle yet outrageous lie:

I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it was good for a derivatives trader, that it was good for main street. I think the verdict is in on that.”

Yet to be found is the White House press corp reporter that reminded Gibbs that it was those same derivatives traders who larded Democrat campaign reelection bank accounts with their own cash. Democrats soaked up disproportionately more cash from these Main Street derivatives traders than Republicans. But why let the facts get in the way of Gibbs’ righteous indignation at having been shown up by a business reporter from a cable network.

Gibbs’ performance yesterday was a classic example of misdirection; shoot the messenger or make him the subject of debate when there is no substantive response to the challenge. If that fails, simply lie. Interestingly, a Tony Snow or Mike McCurry could have pulled this off, but Gibbs is in way over his head.

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