The Right's new best friend
by Sam Hanna, Jr. - posted Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 @ 1:02 pm
Any reporter or columnist or editorial writer who came of age in the past 35 years or so knows the story about Watergate.
We're well aware of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post, two unknown reporters at the time who took aim at Richard Nixon. Through some dogged reporting, Woodward and Bernstein exposed the president's scheme to cover up a break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington. Facing impeachment, Nixon resigned, stepping down Aug. 9, 1974.
Overnight, Woodward and Bernstein, or "Woodstein" as their editor Ben Bradlee called them, became heroes in the eyes of the Left. They were celebrated for bringing down the 37th president of the United States, a Republican, who the Left viewed as an evil man. Nixon gave them ample ammunition.
You may recall that Woodward and Bernstein wrote a pretty good book about Watergate called All the President's Men. It was made into a movie starring Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein and Robert Redford as Woodward. Jason Robards played Bradlee. You know the drill: the book was much better than the movie, but the movie was good nonetheless.
Woodward parlayed his newfound notoriety into a stellar career at The Post, enjoying unfettered access to presidents from Reagan to Obama, writing a host of excellent books about politics in Washington along the way, including his latest offering, The Price of Politics, released last year. Take it from me, it's excellent.
In The Price of Politics, Woodward takes a close look at 44 days in the summer of 2011 when President Obama, his underlings and the Republican leadership in the Congress engaged in some fairly intense negotiations to curtail entitlement spending and raise taxes. They failed to reach an agreement.
Instead, Team Obama and the Republicans crafted a compromise that kicked the can down the road, so to speak. The compromise delayed any agreement on reforming entitlements and raising taxes in lieu of some across-the-board "cuts" in federal spending that would take hold in early 2013, or after the 2012 election cycle. The "cuts" would settle in if the two sides did not get together again and strike an agreement on the aforementioned sticking points.
That compromise is what we have come to know as "sequestration."
In spite of Obama's and the national media's best efforts, sequestration amounts to nothing more than a 2.4-percent "cut" in federal spending. Truth be known, the 2.4-percent reduction in spending, or some $85 billion in fiscal year 2013, does not amount to "cuts." It simply slows down the growth in government spending. Nothing more, nothing less, though the Left, including Obama and his allies in the media, would have us believe that some people may fall out in the streets and starve to death at any moment.
And in spite of Obama's and the national media's best efforts to convince the people otherwise, sequestration was Team Obama's idea. Gene Sperling, the president's chief economic advisor, and Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget in 2011, proposed sequestration and Obama signed off on it. After all, they had more important things to do, such as conduct a re-election campaign in 2012.
After watching Obama and his minions blame Republicans for sequestration for months, Woodward obviously got a bellyful of the lies and wrote an op-ed piece about the topic for The Post, which was published Feb. 22. In his column, Woodward debunked the notion that the country faced sequestration thanks to the Republican leadership in the Congress. Sequestration was Obama's baby, Woodward wrote.
Woodward should know. He was granted unlimited access to the White House when he conducted his research for The Price of Politics, including those 44 critical days during the summer of 2011. Republicans, including Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, opened their doors for Woodward as well.
Yet, that didn't stop one of Obama's henchmen, Sperling, from dog-cussing Woodward when he telephoned in advance to inform the administration that his op-ed would appear in The Post. It also didn't stop Sperling from firing off a snippy e-mail to Woodward, telling the veteran journalist that he would "regret" writing the column outing Obama for lying through his teeth about who was to blame for sequestration.
Major league mistake of the first order.
It's one thing to express your displeasure with a reporter or columnist or editorial writer about something he wrote. And it's one thing to register your objections about a piece that will be published, assuming the author shows you the courtesy of giving you a heads up that something is about to appear in print that may objectionable.
But it's an entirely different matter when you level a threat at someone like Bob Woodward. He's forgotten more about politics in Washington than any hack at the White House will ever know, including Obama.
And Woodward commands enough respect in Washington that when he goes on television to talk about an aid to the president telling him he would "regret" something he wrote, "official" Washington pays attention. Main Street may not care, but Woodward represents the gold standard among journalists inside the Beltway. His observations matter.
That's especially true in this case because what Woodward exposed – I'm afraid – was simply another example of an administration that is willing to go to any lengths to advance a narrative that serves its political interests instead of what may be in the best interest of the country as a whole. Whatever it takes, Team Obama will do it.
And the national media, by and large, has been complicit since day one of the Obama administration.
Besides, the media created Obama, and obviously they feel it is their responsibility to protect him.
At any cost.
Sam Hanna, Jr. is publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, and he serves in an editorial/management capacity with The Concordia Sentinel and The Franklin Sun, three newspapers owned and operated by the Hanna family. Hanna can be reached by calling (318) 805-8158 or by emailing him at email@example.com.