White House Attack Dogs? The Left Devours One of Its Own

untitledFor better or worse, Bob Woodward is an icon of American journalism. He and Carl Bernstein did their original investigative reporting for The Washington Post on the scandal that eventually brought down the administration of President Richard Nixon: Watergate. Not only did that reporting influence American politics, it changed our national culture. Hints of scandal are forever being referred to as thisgate or thatgate.

He has been a prolific author.  He and Bernstein co-authored All the President’s Men in 1974, their accounting of the Watergate affair. It became a blockbuster movie a couple of years later, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein. His latest book is The Price of Politics. It’s described by one reviewer as offering a chronicle of secret budget meetings in summer 2011 between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner along with descriptions of tensions between Boehner and other GOP House leaders.

Though Mr. Woodward and I would probably disagree on what it means “to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition,” I give him credit for writing a book in which he argued that both sides have responsibilities to meet.

It takes great emotional and intellectual energy to write a book such as The Price of Politics. Perhaps for that reason Woodward went on the offensive yesterday on MSNBC’s early commentary show, Morning Joe. There he took aim at President Obama’s decision not to deploy a naval aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, supposedly because the president is concerned about the sequestration budget cuts looming for tomorrow. Some might argue that he got too personal regarding the commander-in-chief, calling his actions a “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Previous to this he published on opinion piece at The Washington Post (where he is still employed as an associate editor), blasting the Obama administration for its handling of the sequestration negotiations. There he rightly pointed out that the sequestration idea came from the White House. “Obama personally approved of the plan” and had it sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Woodward then went on in the article to demonstrate that Obama and his Democrat allies have been unfaithful to their promises to Republicans and have, as he says, been “moving the goals posts” ever since.

These well-targeted criticisms of his fellow Democrats and their imperial leader may give Woodward a taste of the true price of politics; it appears that the most powerful man on earth wants to bring him down. You see, at some point after his morning remarks were aired on MSNBC, Woodward received a warning from someone in the White House who is among the “very senior” staff. Referring to the criticism of Obama, the email warned that he “would regret doing this.” That “very senior” person is reported to be director of the White House Economic Council, Gene Sperling.

Woodward now says he’s “very uncomfortable.” He should be be. The political long knives are out. Like certain species in the animal world who eat their own, the pro-Obama, left-wing press intends to devour this veteran journalist. Their goal is to chew him up and spit him out as a worn-down, bumbling leftover who should have retired long ago.

Over at the Daily Intelligencer they’re asking “What the Hell Happened to Bob Woodward?” He’s just a proponent of “weird philosophy,” they say. The folks at the Huffington Post accuse him of “Gangland”fantasies. Over at Slate they say “he’s going the full wingnut.” A writer at The Week says Woodward is waging a “ridiculous war with the White House.”

There is no room on the left for criticism of the Great Leader.

In addition to published remarks, numerous reporters have blasted Woodward in the Twitter world. “All of these reporters combined might equal one tenth a Bob Woodward in the journalistic pantheon,” according to Breitbart News.

For his part, Woodward knows a few things about how the political game is played in DC. He has not accused Obama of approving of the “threat.” Instead, he condemned the action as a possible misguided tactic or strategy that “somebody’s employed.” Would Obama approve of such tactics?  I’ll let you be the judge of that.


9 thoughts on “White House Attack Dogs? The Left Devours One of Its Own

  1. John, I am surprised that Woodward made that claim because it shows such a fundamental misunderstanding of DoD financial management systems that it brings his credibility as a well-researched author into question. Moreover I sincerely doubt that the President, while being informed of the decision, was involved in the decision not to deploy a CVN.
    HOWEVER, that said, the machinations that resulted in that decision are reprehensible at the personal level for thousands of service men and women in the upending of their lives for political gain. This should properly be laid at the silvery trail of slime which is all that is left after Panetta oozed thru the closing door leaving wreckage behind.
    If I may step to the podium for a moment, the Primary accounts which fund the Navy are SCN (shipbuilding) WPN (weapons procurement), and OMN (operations and maintance). There are others, but those are the biggies. By specifically restricting by direct order any responsible fiscal preparation and restructuring well in advance, Panetta was ensuring that the only place which the Navy could go for money on short notice was the OMN account and that would have to be plundered on an egregious scale to recapture a full year of reductions in the remaining half year. Thus ensuring political drama even if the Navy were inclined somehow to carry on and “make do” in the interest of national security. That option was now precluded.

    Politics aside, what enrages me is the “Little People attitude” – total disregard for servicemen and women which this administration (althought not alone in that regard, certainly) never fails to say it is serving. To those who have never deployed there are significant personal preparations and in some cases major financial outlays in that regard. Cars to be stored, housing leases terminated, child care/guardianship arranged, families moved and on and on.

  2. Now suddenly within a week of that deployment occurring, all of those individual non-trivial preparations had to be reversed as a result of a calculated series of decisions made at the highest levels for the lowest of reasons. The result of Panetta’s forbidding proactive preparation could be clearly predicted and in fact, was probably the effect sought, no doubt with the justification that Sailors’ personal lives were being set up for sacrifice to a greater good – political points in the Beltway game. I don’t usually comment but the stench of the real gamesmanship and its consequences compell me to vent here. Bah!!

  3. Germane to your comments on the threat: I quote from Wikipedia:
    Upon hearing reports of Becket’s actions, Henry is said to have uttered words that were interpreted by his men as wishing Becket killed.[9] The king’s exact words are in doubt and several versions have been reported.[10] The most commonly quoted, as handed down by “oral tradition”, is “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”,[11] but according to historian Simon Schama this is incorrect: he accepts the account of the contemporary biographer Edward Grim, writing in Latin, who gives us “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”

  4. John, I read this opinion piece by Peter Orzag today and thought it would be nice to hear your thoughts on moral responsibility and education. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-05/the-diploma-gap-between-rich-and-poor.html . Orzag suggests that economic successis the cause of the diploma gap, potentially confusing correlation with causation. Perhaps it is ambition, and self discipline that lead to success in both education and employment. I agree with his observations about the lack of high school achievement being a significant factor. I have been told that high school graduation rates peaked in the 1960s and have declined since then. If I can find my source I will send it along. Please share your thoughts on morality and where responsibility should rest for education.

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