Bob Woodward

Love him or hate him, Bob Woodward is what we call a journalist. A real journalist. He’s old school, which means he came from a time when reporters of all political stripes lived to expose corruption. And yes, even though they’ve always generally been liberal, they knew how important really speaking “truth to power” was.

That was then. This is now. While Chris Matthews focused on his leg tingles for the past four years, and while the rest of his pals in the media slurped up whatever sick dish of propaganda the Obama administration slopped into their bowls, they neglected to tell voters the true nature of our commander in chief. He’s the type of guy whose inner circle threatens reporters mafia-style when you dare to disagree with them:

Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,” the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.

Got that? You voted for hope and change, and instead you got a thug administration trying to push around Bob Woodwardthe man who helped bring down Nixon.

Now ask yourself: If the Obama administration is willing to tell Bob freakin’ Woodward “you’ll regret this,” then who else have they shut up along the way? You know he’s not the first.

Now ask yourself: How safe do you feel living under an administration that tells investigative journalists they’ll “regret” taking a principled stand on an issue — especially when that administration has a drone program that gives one man the authority to kill Americans?

Now ask yourself: What kind of administration would use an argument over a 3 percent budget cut (“cut” defined as going deeper into debt, but at a slower rate) to allow hundreds of illegal immigrants out of detention centers. There weren’t any paper pushes making $85K in these federal agencies? They HAD to let illegal immigrants go … before the sequester deadline even hit?

For those late to the game, this all started when Woodward wrote ‘Obama’s sequester game-changer’ for the Washington Post, in which he called out the administration for lying to the American people about sequestration’s inception.

[T]he automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.

The Obama administration didn’t like that. At all. It’s hard to threaten airport delays, the release of illegal immigrants from detention centers, spiking jobless rates and a host of other economic maladies all on Republicans when a guy like Woodward won’t play along.

Even worse (and this appears to have happened after the threats), Mr. Woodward went completely rogue on MSNBC, highlighting that if the worst of President Obama’s predictions were to come true, it would essentially be a case of premeditated pain since the commander in chief has the power to prioritize essential services and get things done. A leader would find a way.

But Barack Obama is not a leader. Instead, what we have is “madness.”

“People’s heads are about to explode about all of this. What the hell is going on here? And it’s very confusing. I’m not sure the White House understands exactly what happened in all of these negotiations at the end of 2011 with the sequester and the Super Committee and who knows what else because they were on the sidelines. I think it’s possible to take one example here where President Obama came out and acknowledged we are not sending the aircraft carrier Truman because of the budget agreement … Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, “Oh, by the way I can’t do this because of some budget document”? Or George Bush saying “I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need”? Or even Bill Clinton saying, “You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters … because of some budget document”? Under the Constitution the president is commander in chief. … We now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement saying, “I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country.” That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Can you say “Nixonian”? I can.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

33 comments

  1. This was incredibly stupid on Obama’s part… Woodward already brought down one President. Although in today’s day and age these things just get swept under the rug. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc.

    1. They’re already saying that he doesn’t know what the administration meant by “regret,” as if the same guys who gave themselves authority to kill Americans (and then tried to keep it secret) would never, umm, threaten a fellow American they disagree with.

      Woodward has been around the block. I think he knows when someone is threatening him.

    1. By prioritizing what gets done with less money just like any private enterprise has done for ages? By finding a creative way to get the result he wants while still upholding the rule of law? I’m not sure how that’s breaking the law to make sure essential services get to where they need to be.

      Maybe the administration will argue that everything they’re doing now is essential to completing mission objectives across the Executive Branch. Actually, that’s basically what they have been doing…

    2. I only skimmed it, so forgive me if I missed something major. But it seems like you’re completely missing the point (that is, Woodward’s point).

      From the piece:

      “Contrary to the fear-mongering from the government and its media, the military cuts compelled by sequestration are extremely modest…”

      And Woodward and you and me all know this! $85 billion is a drop in the ocean. That’s why the president is clearly fear mongering. The government is big enough so he can shuffle resources around or do away with non-essential programs/personnel to do what he needs to do. But instead he says the sky is falling and that the country won’t be secure. His point was that if Bush didn’t have aircraft carriers, he’d find another way (e.g., looks like we’re using a lot of C-130s, boys). Before sequester hit Obama’s administration let out hundreds of illegal immigrants. Again, this is BEFORE the deadline. And all the while he and his surrogates were saying stuff like that would happen if sequestration hit. In order to show the Republicans they would “regret” not doing things his way, Obama inflicts pain on the American people. What a bastard.

    3. Woodward says:

      “Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement, I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country. That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

      the “piece of paper” is a law, passed by Congress. this “reporter who brought down Nixon” for acting like he’s above the law is declaring Obama can act as though he’s above the law. do you not see the problem with that?

    4. A law to cut budgets has absolutely nothing to do with the legality of prioritizing what can and can not get done. The point is that the president can cut the budget and still do what he wants if he’s smart about it.

      Have you ever been in charge of a budget before? Have you ever had your budget slashed, but still had to do certain mission-critical things to keep the project alive? Apparently, not.

      Obama’s doomsday predictions as to what will happen if sequestration hits will only become reality if HE does not properly reallocate resources in the face of budget cuts. He is the master of the false dichotomy. (e.g., Either I get the budget I want, or the world will end.) Ummm, actually, no. Not really, Mr. President.

      The liberal mind is incapable of distinguishing between “needs” and “wants.” I listened to Rep. Jackson Lee and her friends on the House floor yesterday. Apparently, if sequestration is triggered, children, minorities, disabled people, women with cervical and breast cancer, people who run food plants, “disturbed” children, teachers and the entire region surrounding DC will crumble. Over $85 billion in a budget of trillions. Really? When you elevate everything you want to a civil right, you set yourself and your community up for failure, Rep. Jackson Lee. What a bunch of losers.

  2. Woodward is playing you guys. Read the original emails at Politico. Where is the threat?

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/exclusive-the-woodward-sperling-emails-revealed-88226.html?hp=t1_3

    From [White House economic adviser] Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

    Bob:
    I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

    But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

    I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

    My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.
    Gene

    From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013

    Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

    Woodward then goes on to say on CNN’s The Situation Room:

    “It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this… It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters ‘You will regret’ doing something that you believe in.’ I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communications strategy—let’s hope it’s not a strategy, but as a tactic—he’d say look, we don’t go around saying to reporters, you will regret this.”

    What a load of crap. Woodward lied to get his face on the news.

    1. You forgot the bit about the 30 minute screaming match. That’s kind of important to the context of the whole debate, isn’t it? Woodward isn’t ideologically friendly to guys like me. There is no reason why he would create this to “get his face on the news.” He’s Bob Woodward, in case you forgot. You know, that guy who brought down Nixon. He can get on the news any time he wants.

      Do I think a bomb was going to go off when Woodward put the key in the ignition? No. And he didn’t either. But the message was clear: If he continued on with his current line of attack, the administration would see to it that all the leaks … the network he belongs to … the information would dry up if they had anything to say about it. It was a legitimate threat. DC is a very small town. Sorry to pull that card on you, but I know. I live here. And if you piss off the wrong people, word gets around fast. If you talk shit about people, everyone who “matters” on your side of the fence knows in a heartbeat. And most of the people with power are the douches who spend every waking moment at networking events.

      And guess what? Some of them will probably read this comment, and it will get back to people. But most of the people in the conservative movement I interact with already know that I don’t care. I can think of a few very specific instances where I’ve probably shot myself in the foot (again, if I cared), by essentially calling out these narcissistic fame-whores face-to-face.

  3. Woodward needs to get a few ex-Seals to watch his back and he should stay out of Fort Marcy Park.

    The Chicago Outfit is not pleased with Bob’s outburst.

    1. I like that after all we know about President Obama — particularly his Chicago politics roots — people act as if his crew would never try to intimidate the press. They’re the same team people who gave us the “Romney gave my wife cancer and doesn’t care” campaign ad. These people have no shame.

  4. Lightbringer says: Woodward is playing you guys. Read the original emails at Politico. Where is the threat?

    Besides what Doug has already mentioned, look:

    But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.

    1. As Woodward explained last night — Gene Sperling isn’t just “some guy” — he’s Obama’s economic czar. He also said he was “flooded” with emails from reporters who said they have encountered the same sort of tactics.

    2. That quote means what exactly? That the source of the regret will come from within or without? I’ve regretting things, and sometimes others have made me regret things.

      Did everyone skip Woodward’s reply? Did he call out the “threat?” He certainly didn’t sound like someone responding to a threat. No, he was as civil and polite. If he felt threatened, I would have shot back a reply and released the emails immediately to the media as proof of this “threat.” He didn’t. The administration released the emails, because it clearly showed Woodward being full of crap. Convincing me that a very well-known name in journalism is going to be blackballed from the DC scene today, especially AFTER TAKING DOWN A SITTING PRESIDENT in the past. Sounds ludicrous at best.

      Not helping Woodward’s case is the fact that some of the conservative media is backing away from Woodward. One of Doug’s favorite sites to quote, Hot Air, claimed “it’s a threat so veiled I can’t see it.” Byron York at the Washington Examiner agreed that it “wasn’t close to a threat.” Matt Lewis at the Daily Caller wrote that Woodward “played” conservative media.

      Many administrations have thrown their weight around and tried to influence the media. Is Obama’s administration any different? Surely not. Is his administration capable of veiled and overt threats? I don’t doubt it. But I don’t trust Woodward.

      Oh, and Woodward? He isn’t afraid of using intimidation himself.
      http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/02/when-woodward-intimidated-a-young-journalist.html

    3. I would have thought that my own “off the grid” message to you regarding issues I don’t particularly want to get into here (for professional reasons) would have moved the needle. I guess not. Oh well.

      For those who are interested: Lanny Davis. That’s all I’m saying.

    4. There is no needle to move. Can you see how I agreed with you above?

      “Many administrations have thrown their weight around and tried to influence the media. Is Obama’s administration any different? Surely not. Is his administration capable of veiled and overt threats? I don’t doubt it. But I don’t trust Woodward.”

      I still don’t trust Woodward. Did nothing I write move the needle with you?

    5. I don’t need to “trust” Woodward because I know he’s right. (See:Lanny Davis) I don’t plan on moving the needle when it’s pointed at reality. My issue is that you downplay the nature of this administration, which is understandable because I think in the comments section of this blog you said you were going to vote for the guy.

    6. You “know” he’s right because Obama’s team threatened Lanny Davis’ editor? Do you not visit my link at all? Is Woodward unimpeachable in his integrity? Are you really so sure?

      Downplay? That’s picking and choosing what you want to believe. I think Lizard and I both wrote something to the effect that we were going to hold our nose and vote for Obama, because we considered Romney a worse choice. Let’s put it in coarse terms for some of your creative readers: I’d rather eat drink urine than a eat a dog shit sandwich. Doing so doesn’t make me a fan of drinking piss (I’m not exactly uberman Bear G.).

      I know you understand the difference.

    7. Obama’s team threatened the paper. It’s a little bit more serious than “Lanny’s editor.”

      Your link reenforces my earlier comment — Washington is filled with a bunch of power-hungry, fame-addicted narcissist-whores (and that includes Bob Woodward, which I thought was implicit in my earlier comment). And they WILL try and keep you out of the loop if you cross them. The difference between Woodward and Team Obama is that “Team Obama” is arguably the most powerful team in the world.

  5. I work in social services, so while you ridicule the partisan framing of the cuts, I will be seeing and talking to real people who will actually be affected.

    and for your information, Doug, I actually do know about budget constraints. I’ve dealt directly with cuts in payroll, and have had to make tough decisions about reducing hours and changing around schedules to absorb the cuts.

    I know the deficit is your number one concern, but there are lots of people barely hanging on in this country, and for them the cuts will mean much more than they obviously mean to you.

    1. Bravo. Your answer indicates that you now understand that there is no nefarious connection between budget limitations and the legality of prioritizing resources so that presidential prognostications of catastrophe don’t become reality.

      I wish you would have just said what your real concern was from the get go.

      I would suggest that you watch my Chris Kyle video, where you can see that my living space is slightly bigger than a cardboard box. But it has a nice little pink ceiling fan. It helps when the DC humidity hits in August.

    2. I have no problem with an overhaul of Medicare and Social Security. But only smart changes that allow them long-term solvency. Administrations of both stripes have been underfunding them for years figuring it will be some future administration’s problem. Now, the chickens have come home to roost.

      We should also cut the military funding significantly. The world economy is such that small, regional conflicts will be all that there is. A massive world war is extremely unlikely given how the world economies are inexorably linked unlike in the past. Nukes also prevent invasion. Given that, why do we have dozens of bases in Germany to prevent the Red Menace? And don’t get me started on the F35 and F22. Two overpriced and overfunded pieces of shit. Funny how the A10 is still a major part of our arsenal. Why not built a ton more of those instead of getting the F35 to try to become a magical do-it-all platform?

      Our nation’s long term health has a lot more to do with our viability as an economic powerhouse than it does military might. We’ve been very powerful since WWII due to our vibrant economy and strong middle class. That funded our 60-80’s Cold War defense spending. Now both the economy and the middle class are degrading significantly and we’ve created safety-net social programs that we’ve divorced from market forces allowing them to balloon and enable heathcare costs to grow in an unsustainable manner.

      Damn, I don’t feel like writing common effing sense. I just wish the public would get our government to roll up it’s sleeves and fix this mess instead of partisan bickering and deadlock.

  6. Great post Douglas. I hadn’t heard about the preemptive release of illegals, but such is the lengths the Manchurian will go in order to hurt the United States.

    As for who else received threats like this, I think we all know who must have been threatened in a very profound way: John Roberts. Maybe we’ll find out what the threat was a few decades from now. We know this: it worked.

    1. That’s why I like you, sasoc. You always bring up the different angle that’s staring everyone in the face that they don’t see. Good point on Roberts.

    2. Roberts MUST have been threatened. No way he could have taken whatever liberty he pleased and voted whichever way he choose for, in his mind, the good of the republic.

      Nope. If that possibility is not palatable to our political proclivities, we must go with a completely unfounded conspiracy theory.

  7. As some of you know, I do get private messages from readers on occasion, and I received one yesterday that made me crack up. In fact, it was a pretty high compliment. In regards to my exchanges with Lizard, I was told to reference this classic YouTube video: Marshawn Lynch (True Meaning of Determination).

    To that reader, I say “Thank you.” I will always try to carry the team on my back!

    I will add this bit from the email, though:

    “Though I’ll occasionally cede he has a semblance of a point; he is usually the product of [a] lack of cooperation … he just wants to say you are wrong,” (douglasernstblog.com reader).

    1. The same could be said about you. In all our disagreements, only once you said that the article you wrote was factually incorrect, but you couched it by saying you wrote it tired and late at night. I respected that deeply.

      I’ll be the first to admit you often make a good points, and I often say so, but you should do deeper research than what is written on the typical conservative sources and take criticism with a level head. When I can find easy refutations within 5 minutes, well, then you deserve to get excoriated. Though, I fear a lot of your readers made up their mind long before reading whatever confirmation they like from some of your posts. Funny how they are utterly silent for posts that lack what you call “red meat.”

    2. Perhaps some of my readers have better things to do than to joust with you and Lizard.

      I love when we discuss these big macro issues, $16 trillion dollar economies, etc. and you act as if because I don’t use the stats that you would prefer then I’m somehow “factually incorrect” on a number of things, but refuse to admit it.

      Weren’t you the guy who responded to my Michelle Obama post in a mocking all-caps rant, exclamation points included? I’m sure those who send me private messages would love to debate with you.

      If you spend “five minutes” on the internet, you’ll also see that I’m a pretty level-headed guy.

    3. Not at all, but re-posts from a handful of conservative sources don’t really count as research. There are often other sides, but like you said, level-headed bylines don’t capture reader interest.

    4. So if I pull a story from Hotair, and Ed Morrissey is using numbers provided by CBO or the IRS, it somehow doesn’t count because it’s disseminated by a conservative source? They get their stories from The Washington Post, The New York Times, AFP, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Reuters, the Associated Press and a host of other outlets — including conservative sites. Yes, I know that.

      In general it appears as though it’s not the numbers I use that bother you, but the interpretation of the data and the sources I’m pulling from.

      Please give me a few sites that I should add to my circuit. Most likely I already make it a point to check them out … but who knows.

    5. It is the interpretation, absolutely. You’ve heard the quote: there are lies, damned lies, and there are statistics. You’ve heard of confirmation bias, right? Once people have an opinion, they tend to discount or just plain ignore anything that is opposite that opinion.

      I think your best work is when you approach something from a conservative would, whether it be pop culture or a serious issue, and add your own unique perspective to that. I like reading that and am often engaged by it and even sometimes change my mind.

      Your weakest pieces (also IMHO) are when you quote large chunks of another site, add some of your own vitriol, and then rag on anyone with an opposing opinion in the comment section. Nobody benefits from echo-chamber thinking. Maybe some readers love to read more stuff about Obummer sucks and how ‘Murica is exceptional in every way except for the policies of those evil librul Democraps, but there is so much of that around, why bother stopping here?

      Do an experiment. Write one piece about a topic not in the news, something from a conservative standpoint with solid research and persuading message. Then write something shrill and angry about some trending topic with an underlying message that Obama sucks and ‘Merica would be better off shipping Democrats off to Antarctica. Compare reader response. Then know why Ann Coulter sells books.

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