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View Diary: Leaked deal memo from grand bargain talks show threat to Social Security, Medicare, safety net (633 comments)

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  •  Thank you. (31+ / 0-)

    I'm going to believe a supposed "confidential memo" given to Bob Woodward by whom exactly?

    Senior Editor of the New Republic, Noam Schriber rightfully described Woodward's "Anti-Obama Bias" in his review of Woodward's The Price of Poltics.

    Schriber thoroughly lays out Woodward's contempt for President Obama.

    Schriber also makes clear that our President learned a few things during the GOP's manufactured debt ceiling crises.

    The irony is that the only way to overcome these massive obstacles is by doing the opposite of what Woodward recommends—by searching for leverage over the other side and exploiting it. Woodward, like any good Georgetown denizen, is scandalized that Obama gave up on bipartisanship in September of 2011 to browbeat Republicans over more stimulus. “Instead of trying to work with Congress, he would attack,” Woodward huffs. “In speech after speech, he pushed for Congress to take up the bill, hammering particularly on the issue of the payroll tax cuts.” But, of course, all this attacking resulted in pretty much the only big legislative victory of Obama’s second two years. The Republicans crumpled. Obama signed a payroll extension worth over $100 billion in early 2012.

    At this point any reasonable observer would conclude that more, not less, ruthlessness would have helped Obama work his will. Woodward doesn’t see it that way. Instead, he takes yet another opportunity to mourn the passing of the baronial style of congressional back-scratching. “Obama celebrated the bill’s passage on February 21 in the White House’s South Court Auditorium. Surrounded by individuals who would benefit from the payroll tax cut, but no members of Congress, he was the champion of the tax cuts,” Woodward writes. Then he quotes Obama: “With or without Congress, every day I’m going to be continuing to fight for them.” The quote is intended to be damning, of course—what species of cretin would stiff-arm Congress and then crow about it?

    In truth, it is damning, except not in the way the author imagines. What’s damning is that the mythology of establishment Washington could exert such a powerful grip on its most famous chronicler. As it happens, “with or without Congress” was the most logical sentiment of Obama’s presidency. He could not be re-elected without it.

    This is November of 2012. A great deal has changed since the summer of last year. A number of lessons have  been learned, not least of which is viewing anything Woodward states with Charles P. Pierce's scathing denouncement in mind.

    I would quibble a bit with Scheiber's contention that this book is in any way a departure from earlier Woodward andirons. But I can't take issue with the basic premise as outlined above, since I had my own run-in with the great man a few years back, when I was working on a piece about a little boy who died because the Supplemental Security Income program on which his life depended had been devoured by a Beltway feeding frenzy in which Woodward's journalistic malpractice played a key role....

    Before she left, however, Porter contacted Bob Woodward, outlining her concerns, which was how Jonathan Stein came to be on the telephone with him. Stein suspected that Woodward was ready to cast Nora Cooke Porter as an embattled whistle-blower and suggested that Woodward might want to check with her superiors in Harrisburg to make sure that he wasn't hanging his story on the office crank. "He berated me," Stein recalls. "How come you're telling me this so late? My reply was that I'd just learned that they were going to use her and that I thought he should know. He just brushed me off, told me it was too late." Woodward declined to comment on this phone conversation. "How long have you been in the business?" he asked me when contacted for this article. "Can you remember everything about a story you did five years ago?"

    Since that day, I have relished every small chance I've had to tell Bob Woodward publicly to piss off and die. I'd like to thank Noam Scheiber for providing me with my latest opportunity.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:04:54 PM PST

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