Gloomy Gibbs' Daily Downer
4:48 PM, Mar 5, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
We try to fire up the ol' flatscreen in the Weekly Standard headquarters every now and then to watch the daily press briefing. In so doing, we've noticed Gibbs' almost comical tendency to make a bad economic situation sound even more demoralizing. Since Obama's nomination, the White House has been so persistent in its negative rhetoric about the economy that the first question at Obama's first prime-time press conference was whether he was in danger of "talking down" the economy.
While Obama's rhetoric is heavily dependent on the word "crisis," the examination of when said crisis might become a "catastrophe," and other similar flourishes, Gibbs prefers to talk the economy down in his characteristically everyman tone. While Obama focuses on the big picture, Gibbs likes details. He focuses on specific badly performing stocks, naming them repeatedly, and forecasts bad numbers for reports that haven't even been released yet.
Today, when asked about the viability of GM, Gibbs didn't just address GM. Oh, no! Instead, he drubbed one of the few car companies not asking for federal money:
Is that important to remember, or could Gibbs have covered the GM question without dragging Toyota into the mess, by name, on national TV? Gibbs needn't avoid serious economic truths, but his habit of busting out overly specific, demoralizing soundbites in the service of excuse-making for the administration's failures leaves something to be desired.