Not being one to jump on the current topic du jour, we could not pass up this one. The Obama Administration picks a major fight with the most famous journalist in America -- and we are not speaking about Bill O’Reilly or Ron Burgundy. It is rarely a good thing for political leaders to jump into hand-to-hand combat with the press.
Bob Woodward has been a liberal icon for forty years. After all, Woodward and Bernstein were the principals in bringing down the all-time boogie man of the left – Richard Nixon. How can you question a man played by Robert Redford in the movie about the whole escapade? How could anyone ever envision anything that would damage his reputation short of kidnapping Susan Sarandon? This guy could have driven a Hummer and never been questioned by the intellectual left. That is, until he decided to take on the Obama Administration.
As you are properly aware, Woodward had the goods on Obama. As the President was running around screaming fire in a movie theater about the dreaded sequester and blaming the whole thing on his political enemies, Woodward pointed out that Obama and his aides had told Woodward two years ago that they were the brain trust behind the plan. Back then Obama and his crew thought it was a brilliant way to box in the Republicans regarding the ever-growing federal expenditures. (We would refer to it as the “budget,” but Obama and his team have not allowed one to be passed in four years.)
Once Woodward tells the truth he begins to experience an Obama backlash. He has a 30-minute discussion with Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, which by even Sperling’s description turned into a screaming match. As part of an email exchange, Sperling writes “I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
There has been a lot of discussion and analysis of the email exchange and whether it was a threat. The left and even some mainstream and conservative commentators concluded Woodward’s reaction was out of line. That is not the way we see it. We are not going to analyze the word play. We are going to ride with Woodward. Here is a man who confronted the Nixon Administration and brought it down. He has reported on all aspects of our federal government and presidential administrations for forty years. He has written over fifteen books on such matters. He has had a relationship with Gene Sperling for twenty years. If Woodward says it was an attempt to intimidate him, we should take him at his word. He was the one there and he should know.