For 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.