Joe Biden's "Stop Whining" Remark Incites Backlash from the Left

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the annual Tennessee Democratic Party Jackson Day on Friday, July 16, 2010 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP Photo

Vice President Joe Biden
AP

The White House's latest attempts to mobilize liberals ahead of the midterm elections have once again generated a backlash from the left.

Progressive bloggers and activists were up in arms after Vice President Joe Biden said at a Democratic fundraiser yesterday that the party's base should "stop whining." His remarks were echoed by President Obama in a newly-released Rolling Stone interview in which he says his supporters need to "buck up."

The liberal community is pointing to the remarks as the latest examples of the Obama administration's disinterest in listening to its core backers -- and they it's an unwise move so close to the midterm elections.

John Aravosis of Americablog.com charged that belittling the Democratic base is "now clearly a White House strategy."

"I can't for the life of me understand what the White House thinks it gains by continually poking the base - the people who actually vote in mid-term elections - only five weeks before the election," Aravosis wrote. "The President, rather famously, routinely refuses to stand up to conservative Democrats and Republicans, and it's likely the primary reason we're about to lose the House."

Aravosis contends that Mr. Obama should have made the economic stimulus package bigger but instead chose to compromise with moderates.

"The entire country, all of us with friends and family members currently out of a job, are paying dearly for this mistake," he wrote. "So for him and his to tell us and ours to stop whining is pretty pathetic."

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, suggested the vice president should be thanking, not chiding, groups like his, for their fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts. PCCC recently raised $100,000 for progressive New Hampshire House candidate Ann McLane Kuster and is organizing hundreds of thousands of phone calls to voters ahead of Election Day.

"The 'professional left' is busting our butt to mobilize progressive voters in 2010, picking up the ball that this White House dropped when they refused to fight for the overwhelmingly popular public option, refused to break up the big banks, and demobilized Obama voters who expected this president to at least fight for big change," Green said.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald, a critic of the Obama administration's record on civil liberties, took to Twitter to point to evidence that Mr. Obama has continued the anti-terror policies of the Bush administration. He then asked, "Do they really think 'stop whining' is an effective message? Apparently."

Marcy Wheeler, another critic of the president's national security policies, said on Twitter, "As much as I focus on torture & assassination, I'd buck up a lot faster if the Admin focused on helping people save their homes."

Mr. Obama's and Biden's recent remarks come on the heels of a confrontation between the White House and liberal bloggers, who accused the administration of "hippie punching." In other words, they accused the White House of relying on liberal voters to mobilize on Election Day while ignoring liberal goals like ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said on the CBS "Early Show" today that Democrats will have to mobilize the base but also appeal to right-tilting independents this November.

The Democrats' Biggest Challenge: Enthusiasm (or Lack Thereof)
CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010


Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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