Gibbs: Obama gave up trying to change Washington long ago

posted at 9:21 am on January 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Gave up, or simply couldn’t be bothered in the first place? Former press secretary and key Barack Obama adviser Robert Gibbs glibly blows off the notion of changing Washington as part of Morning Joe‘s preview of the State of the Union speech. Willie Geist asks Gibbs where the “hope and change” went, and while Gibbs doesn’t have an answer, he at least confirms its long-noted dissipation:

“Well, I think, you know, the ability to change Washington, I think, is something that long ago the White House sort of stopped trying to do and whether or not that’s a good thing, we will look back on history,” Gibbs replied.

I linked Ron Fournier yesterday, but his column hits this point directly. Obama never actually bothered to change Washington, except perhaps to think that it would change for him by the sheer dint of his personality:

The assessment concluded that Obama and his communications team allowed his fifth year to be judged too much by his dealings with Congress, which were poor.

A conservative Republican faction killed his gun-control proposals— joined by some Democratic senators — and eventually shut down the government for 16 days. “We still didn’t know enough about the Republicans,” said one senior administration official, who like others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal assessments.

Didn’t know enough? After five years in office? This official, like so many others in the West Wing, apparently is not sufficiently self-aware to realize that he confirmed an Obama critique – that the president is too removed and disinterested from the political process to affect it, that he doesn’t value congressional relations enough to give them anything more than lip service, and that, for his enormous intellectual gifts, Obama is handicapped by a lack of political curiosity. He chose not to know enough about the Republicans.

The story raises several other questions. First, why did it take this long for the White House to discover the power of executive orders and rule-making? (Republicans are warning of “tyrannical executive orders,” ignoring the fact that GOP presidents issue them, too.) For instance, Obama has refused to use the power of clemency in a broad way to correct injustice in crack-cocaine sentencing. He punted to Congress the most important questions about NSA overreach rather than taking executive action. And now we’re supposed to be impressed by his pen and phone?

Obama got elected in 2008 on the promise that he would rise above partisanship and heal a broken political process. Instead, he’s so disinterested in working across the aisle that he’d rather mope at not controlling Congress and fall back to using EOs. Gibbs senses the irony and hypocrisy of this, and offers the “let history judge” dodge, when the utter failure to engage in the White House is apparent right now.


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“I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that’s what I signed up to do,” Obama said. “But while I’m there mopping the floor I don’t want someone saying ‘You’re not mopping fast enough or you’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Grab a mop! Why don’t you help clean up?”

Good times…

Electrongod on January 28, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Obama got elected in 2008 on the promise that he would rise above partisanship and heal a broken political process. Instead, he’s so disinterested in working across the aisle that he’d rather mope at not controlling Congress and fall back to using EOs.

When you think that all you have to say is “I won” and that will cause Republicans conservatives to totally roll over, you’re going to be disappointed that it takes more effort than that.

Bitter Clinger on January 28, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Change Washington was a line he used to get elected so that he could pursue the real goal: radicalize the country.

Someone please convince me that the heart of the Democratic party is mainstream. They’re America-hating shiteheads.

BuckeyeSam on January 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM

“I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that’s what I signed up to do,” Obama said. “But while I’m there mopping the floor I don’t want someone saying ‘You’re not mopping fast enough or you’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Grab a mop! Why don’t you help clean up?”

Good times…

Electrongod on January 28, 2014 at 9:26 AM

How does he expect us to help clean up with the car in the ditch and and the floor being dirty and slurpees and Bush?

Gatsu on January 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Obama got elected in 2008 on the promise that he would rise above partisanship and heal a broken political process.

It was a false promise from the get go. Dear Liar had no intention of healing a broken political process. “[T]he Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. . . ” he never has believed in our political process, he wants a top down administrative state where all our blessings flow from government. to think otherwise is at best dangerously naive.

rbj on January 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM

“I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that’s what I signed up to do,” Obama said. “But while I’m there mopping the floor I don’t want someone saying ‘You’re not mopping fast enough or you’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Grab a mop! Why don’t you help clean up?”

Because you’re mop bucket is filled with mud. And you insist on using it.

kcewa on January 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

and then hotair will run out of material to bash the President on…that’s what you’re really afraid of, right?

nonpartisan on November 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Chris of Rights on January 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

*your*

kcewa on January 28, 2014 at 9:35 AM

As a chubby little boy he always got his way and was told he was Indonesian royalty. And he believed all the hype he was told to say by his handlers during his political campaigns. He still thinks saying something makes it so.

Brat on January 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Gasp! It’s almost like a no accomplishment, political hack from Chicago was elected president.

Who knew?

GarandFan on January 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM

There could be a massive tome written on all the things Obama said he’d so, intended to do, or believed, that he’s gone back on. SOMEONE ought to write it. Ed, AP, MKH, Erica?

You could call it “Let Me Be Clear — A Compendium of the Empty Rhetoric of Barack Obama”.

This is but #745 in that list.

#745
What he said:
He was going to change the way business was done in Washington.
What he did:
Decided you couldn’t change Washington from the inside.

That is just a summary. It would fill at least a page. You’d have a book at least 800 pages long, and it would write itself. His 2004 speech on bringing America together, not a black and white America, or a red and blue America. His 2006 Senate speech, on how a $250 billion a year debt was immoral and a failure of leadership. How he was going to put deliberations prior to ObamaCare on C-span. His support for federal limits on campaign spending. How you can keep your health care plan. MOST of what he says, he doesn’t stand behind. Not some. Not a lot. MOST. He says what he’s going to do, or what he stands behind, you can pretty much take it to the bank he WON’T stand behind it.

Paul-Cincy on January 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Fundamental Transformation: gay marriage, smoking dope, and federal takeover of the healthcare system.

WordsMatter on January 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

WordsMatter on January 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Your HotGas handle is particularly apropos of this thread title.

/Words? Just words?

Paul-Cincy on January 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Gibbs: Obama gave up trying to change Washington long ago…

…as such, he’s switch focus, and is trying to burn the country down instead.

Thomas More on January 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Fundamentally, he never possessed the experience, skills, or temperament to ‘change Washington.’

All his life he’s never needed to do anything other than to manipulate the gullible.

Drained Brain on January 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Gave up, or simply couldn’t be bothered in the first place?
============================================================

Answer:
=======

Valerie Jarret – “After We Win This Election, It’s Our Turn. Payback Time.”
**************
**************


After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us
is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget.

The ones who
helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve.

There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us
this time.

No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges
ready to go.”
=============

http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/valerie-jarret-after-we-win-this-election-its-our-turn-payback-time-did-team-obama-just-show/question-3294603/?link=ibaf&q=&esrc=s

canopfor on October 5, 2013 at 4:59 PM

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM

OK, again — Obama was sold on the idea of running for president by Axelrod, Val, Plouffe and the others under the idea that all it would entail once the Obama deification process was complete was for him to go out and basically command things to happy. Harry and Nancy running the Senate and House would then do the grunt work and pass the law, give Obama the credit, which would then enhance his resume for the next big government project.

All opponents would have enough race cards dropped on them to fill all the casinos in Harry Reid’s Las Vegas, and would then be written out of the political discourse. That was Plan A, and when the Tea Party uprising and the 2010 elections destroyed the narrative, Obama and his team never went to a Plan B, because that’s not how constitutional scholar Barack Obama thinks the presidency is run. All but the most fawning Democrats in Washington know this by now, but will never say it until Obama is both out of office and stripped of his powers within the party (which may come pretty soon if the Clintons take back control of the Democratic Pastry’s apparatus and need an off-the-record scapegoat for the current problems when they talk to the media).

jon1979 on January 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Obama never actually bothered to change Washington, except perhaps to think that it would change for him by the sheer dint of his personality:

There is a lot of truth in this. Even Obamacare was pushed through without any pretense of bipartisan support. But the real textbook example is probably the gun grabbing attempt. He thought that he could use last year’s SOTU with those despicable Newtown parents (turned rabid activists) in the audience to launch an attack on the Second Amendment. He thought he was going to get the guns by sheer dint of his personality pushing the issue. He was wrong and we saw a temper tantrum in the Rose Garden when the legislation failed.

Similarly, he never actually tried to do something about the illegals stupidly called DREAMERS. He just issued an EO without any sort of attempt at a bipartisan compromise.

Clearly he and all Dems plan on looting the nation like a Louisiana Wal-mart during an EBT outage.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 10:02 AM

As my 7th grade Shop teacher used to tell us,

“This is the world’s smallest violin playing for you”

That was usually followed by,
“I’m going to start a shoe shop in your Azz”

ToddPA on January 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM

All his life he’s never needed to do anything other than to manipulate the gullible.

Drained Brain on January 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Even that isn’t true. He’s exactly everything that is wrong with affirmative action hires. He’s lazy. He’s stupid. He’s got no ability at all other than knowing how to shuck and jive and make the most of the fact he is half black. He used it to get into schools he was in no way qualified to attend. He used it to sell books (when he was selling himself as Kenyan). He launched his political career on his race. It should be no surprise that he doesn’t know how to lead.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Fundamental Transformation: gay marriage, smoking dope, and federal takeover of the healthcare system.

WordsMatter on January 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

And all student loans, mortgages, banking, and INFORMATION.

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 10:06 AM

He finally realized that he couldn’t just repeal the Constitution, so…

Akzed on January 28, 2014 at 10:11 AM

It was a false promise from the get go. Dear Liar had no intention of healing a broken political process. “[T]he Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. . . ” he never has believed in our political process, he wants a top down administrative state where all our blessings flow from government. to think otherwise is at best dangerously naive.

rbj on January 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Exactly.

Jeff Weimer on January 28, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Obama gave up trying to change Washington telling the truth long ago

albill on January 28, 2014 at 10:12 AM

There is a lot of truth in this. Even Obamacare was pushed through without any pretense of bipartisan support. But the real textbook example is probably the gun grabbing attempt. He thought that he could use last year’s SOTU with those despicable Newtown parents (turned rabid activists) in the audience to launch an attack on the Second Amendment. He thought he was going to get the guns by sheer dint of his personality pushing the issue. He was wrong and we saw a temper tantrum in the Rose Garden when the legislation failed.

Similarly, he never actually tried to do something about the illegals stupidly called DREAMERS. He just issued an EO without any sort of attempt at a bipartisan compromise.

Clearly he and all Dems plan on looting the nation like a Louisiana Wal-mart during an EBT outage.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 10:02 AM

It’s almost like he thinks the Presidency from the movie An President was real.

Jeff Weimer on January 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Direction of Country: 28.9%-right direction, 62.9 Wrong Track!

Brother, can you spare me some change?

Rovin on January 28, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Obama gave up trying to change Washington long ago

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Barry is quintessential Washington…… he is the poster boy du jour….all it’s ugliness an thuggery rolled into a purple lip’d ward boss goon ah la boss Tweed.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM

So isn’t Gibbs saying Obama’s a quitter?

Doesn’t that also say Obama doesn’t have much
discipline, isn’t willing to sacrifice and can’t draw upon any courage, determination or commitment?

Obama couldn’t be bothered to find a way…so he found an excuse?

Sounds about right.

lynncgb on January 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Barack Obama
2m
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says President Obama likely has the authority to raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers; warns against any other unilateral steps that could encroach on the Constitution – @AP

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Barry is quintessential Washington……

donabernathy on January 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Yes I agree with you on that. Every time I hear him say “Washington is broken” I cup my hands like Elaine Benes yelling at George Costanza ‘you’re bald’ and scream “You ARE Washington!”

Brat on January 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I don’t know, it sure seems to me he’s changed Washington.

Supposedly apolitical bureaucracies are openly running interference for partisan purposes.

Bureaucracies are stonewalling congressional investigations to an extent never seen.

AN AMBASSADOR WAS MURDERED and no one seems to care.

I can go on, but he’s changed Washington for the WORSE. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but you have to remember, for as bad as Washington was, it wasn’t Chicago. It is now.

makattak on January 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM

This si easy a caveman could figure it out.

“Change” was never in the cards. The only “change” Obama expected to make was signing a bunch of liberal wish-list legislation sent to him by a Democratic Congress, while all he expected to do was jet around the country making speeches and appearing on Oprah and receiving mass adulation. He thought he could sell that liberal agenda later as “change.”

When the nation decided to “change” control of Congress, he was clueless. And still is. Working with Republicans was not the job he signed up for and he doesn’t know how to do it.

rockmom on January 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM

…Slops….don’t clean!

KOOLAID2 on January 28, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Obama gave up trying to change Washington in 2007 when he set his sights on the entire NATION, promising to fundamentally change the U.S. if elected President.

easyt65 on January 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM