Press Secretary Gibbs perfectly exemplifies nanny state thinking

At first, when I watched White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, I thought he was a buffoon. I then began to think that his gibberish was a rather clever approach to hiding unpalatable news.

I’ve now realized that Gibbs is, above all, the perfect symbol of the Nanny State:  he believes that he and his fellow Obama are wise adults, and that all others in the world are children.

“Duh,” I hear you say.  “That’s the nature of Leftism, which is that it believes a wise and powerful government will care for the immature citizen children in its charge.”  True.  But usually the Leftists reserve this attitude for laws that sap individual initiative and freedom.  To our faces, they preserve a simulacrum of respect.  Gibbs is different,because he is so cocky that he has dropped the mask of respect, and actually treats citizens like children to their faces.  I’m aware of three times when Gibbs has done this, although there may well be more.

The first incident concerned cell phones.  A cell phone went off during his press conference.  Gibbs, instead of treating the reporters like adults, and reminding them to turn off their phones, confiscated the phone.  That’s what we do with children and chewing gum, not with adults.  The reporters, predictably, acted like children, with the exception of Jake Tapper, who looked alternately bored and appalled:

Gibbs’ next adventure in infantilizing those around him occurred when he reprimanded a black, female reporter, who was pushing for more information on the White House gate crashers.  Unable to give decent responses to actual questions, Gibbs went on the attack, and expressly compared the reporter to a child:

APRIL RYAN: Was there a concern in this White House that she came out being, some might have called her the ‘belle of the ball,’ overshadowing the first lady at the…

ROBERT GIBBS: I don’t who some are. I’ve never heard that. Again…

RYAN: Well, it’s been bantered around Washington, and it’s been in Democratic circles as well as Republican circles, high-ranking people.

GIBBS: April, I, I, that’s not a station I live in in life.

RYAN: Just answer the question, please.

GIBBS: Are you done speaking so I can?

RYAN: Oh yes, I’m done.

GIBBS: I’ve not heard any of that criticism. I’ve not read any of that criticism. The president, the first lady, and the entire White House staff are grateful for the job that she does. And thinks she has done a terrific and wonderful job pulling off a lot of big and important events here at the White House.

RYAN: Did she invite herself to the state dinner or was she a guest? Did the president invite her or did she put her… No, that’s a real question. Do not fan it off. I’m serious.

GIBBS: I, I, Jonathan-

RYAN: No, no, no. Did she invite herself or did the president ask her? Her name was on that list, and social secretaries are the ones who put the names on the list.

GIBBS: Right. Was she at the dinner? April, April, calm down. Just take a deep breath for one second. Now see? This happens with my son. He does the same thing.

(Here there is an Audible reaction from other reporters as, Ryan mouths, “I’m older than your son.”)

RYAN: Don’t play with me. I’m being serious. Do not blow it off.

GIBBS: I’m not… And I’m giving you a serious answer. Was she at the dinner? Yes. She’s the social secretary.

RYAN: Social secretaries are not guests of the dinner.

GIBBS: She had the primary responsibility for running the dinner. I’m going to get back to weightier topics like 98,000 men and women in Afghanistan.

Here’s the video, so you can watch Gibbs’ condescending attitude in real time:

In the above two incidents, Gibbs reserved his condescension for the press. And perhaps the press deserved that treatment, giving its thoughtless fawning over the Obami since they first appeared on the political scene. If you don’t act like a thinking adult, you don’t get treated like a thinking adult.

But what about the entire American nation? It turns out that Gibbs thinks we’re also pretty dumb in a child-like way:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at President Obama’s 47 percent approval rating in the Gallup daily tracking poll, the lowest the firm has recorded at this point in a presidency.

“If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs told reporters in his morning gaggle.

Gibbs said the swing in the poll could be duplicated by a “six-year-old with a crayon” and said he doesn’t put a lot of stake in the daily poll and “never have.”

Gibbs repeatedly reveals himself to be an arrogant man with the utmost disdain for anybody who doesn’t completely agree with him.  Indeed, as he showed to the fawning White House press, he even thinks those who agree with him are pretty damn stupid and need to be controlled.

Gibbs’ attitude is not a coincidence.  That is, it’s not that he’s a perfectly fine Presidential Press Secretary who just happens to have a personal superiority issue.  Instead, he is the living, breathing embodiment of the mind set controlling those at the upper levels of the nanny state.  We, the American citizens, are not intelligent adults who can be charged with the responsibility of guiding our own destiny.  We are, instead, naughty and foolish little children who need to be controlled by those infinitely wiser than we are.

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  • Gringo


    I looked up the Wiki information on Robert Gibbs. He is the child of Auburn University (Alabama) librarians who were very involved in local politics. From Wikipedia:
    His parents, Robert and Nancy Gibbs, worked in the Auburn University library system and involved their son in politics at an early age.[6] Nancy Gibbs would take Robert, then known as “Bobby,” to local League of Women Voters meetings rather than hire a babysitter, and involved him in “voter re-identification” work at the county courthouse.
     
    IMHO, it is a safe assumption that he is the offspring of Southern liberals, which may say something about him. I have some experience with TX liberals of the generation of Gibb’s parents. My take on TX liberals of that generation is that they have the attitude that they are still fighting the good fight against the KKK a half century later. They have a very militant, self-righteous attitude, which got them successfully through their younger years in the belly of the Jim Crow beast. That attitude means that even today they implicitly assume that those who disagree with them are the equivalent of the KKK. IMHO, Robert Gibbs carries the attitudes of his parents: thus the Nazi remark without realizing it also applied to many of those afflicted with BDS. We are the good guys: of course. We who are Democrats could never call a POTUS a Nazi. Only evil KKK Rethuglicans do that.
     
    This background may also explain part of the inarticulateness of Mr. Gibbs: he assumes his political opponents are on the intellectual level of the auto mechanic who was the local KKK leader 50 years ago, so no need to polish one’s speech.
     
    The condescending attitude can also be traced back to the Southern liberal attitude towards their opponents: after all, JimRay of the KKK  was just an auto mechanic. While the condescending, self-righteous attitude can be found in liberals across the country, IMHO it is a bit stronger in liberals who directly confronted Jim Crow. The attitudes were a survival mechanism against Jim Crow, where as for most liberals who did not directly confront Jim Crow, the attitudes became a default mechanism  resulting from living in the bubble of liberal enclaves.
    Anyhow, that is my take as a North/South hybrid, born of Northern and Southern parents, who has split his life between North and South.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Gibbs
     

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  • SADIE

    Gringo
    In a word, I’d just call it a bad assitude.  No matter where or what he came from it’s indefensible.
    I was raised in an area of Philadelphia that had a pretty good mix of Irish, Italian, Jewish. For some reason, the Italian fellas would always announced their ethnicity with flourish … my name is, Bob and I am Italian. I got so fed up with it that the next time when I was a bit older (past my teens) the very next fella that introduced  himself in this manner to me, I let go and asked him:

    “Is this suppose to excuse anything you do and say in the next 5 minutes”.
    The same can be asked of Gibbs.

  • suek

    >>The condescending attitude can also be traced back to the Southern liberal attitude towards their opponents: after all, JimRay of the KKK  was just an auto mechanic.>>
     
    Even more important – his parents were _librarians_…the educated elite… and JimRay was _just_ an auto mechanic.  Educated = intelligent = better than the average bear.
     
    Big mistake.  I’ve always warned my kids – don’t assume that because someone is uneducated s/he is stupid.  Educated and intelligent are two different things.  There are a lot of folks who get suckered by “Bubba” because they make that assumption.  My guess is that the Dems today are making the same mistake about the people, and the strong support for Sarah Palin is a reflection of that.  If people use big words and long sentences, you have to consider why – is it because they like language, or is it because they’re trying to pull the wool over your eyes.  When you continually use big words and long sentences, don’t be surprised if people begin to suspect the latter.  Short direct sentences that can’t reasonably be parsed all kinds of ways tends to earn trust.  Of course, parsing tends to reduce trust in any case.  “Say what you mean, mean what you say.”

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