You Will Regret This – On Woodward and the Sequester

Media members will regret attacking Bob Woodward for revealing, and insisting, that the sequester originated in White House. They will regret more not realizing that a viable First Amendment requires a press in loyal opposition to the government. But even more, along with the rest of America they will regret being the champions of reckless government spending.

Woodward has been a leading voice in liberal journalism for four decades. He is to journalism what Michael Jordan is to basketball: a star so big he changed the game, setting the standard for generations of journalists.

Woodward revealed in his book “The Price of Politics” that the sequester idea originated at the White House: 

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.

As an indicator of truth, we like to find facts stated with falsifiable detail. We like to find them reported contemporaneously, because no one can know what the future holds and what facts will be convenient to have written.  We like them to be internally and externally consistent.

Woodward shows the lie not only of the sequester’s origin, but its effects as well.

The sequester narrative Obama is trying to push is that it will ruin the economy, starve little children, and set fire to Lake Erie. It must be cast as a Republican idea for that narrative to hold.

Remember, the Woodward story is about Mr. Obama lying to say that Congress came up with the plan for the sequester. 

Conservatives, Tea Partiers and those who just do math have been calling for spending cuts for years. The left has to push the fear of the cuts as damaging to the economy, and also as hurting crucial voting blocs like firefighters, teachers and troops.

If sequestration is not seen as damaging to the economy and to Republicans by the general public, other spending “cuts” will not be, either. That is a perception the left cannot allow. If the Woodward narrative is allowed, then spending cuts (which were Mr. Obama’s idea) will be implemented and life will go on.  The evil Republicans will have won this round of chicken, and the White House cannot allow that to happen. 

Not being able to attack the facts, the left follows Alinsky’s Rule 11 and attacks the messenger.

Is this why a “very senior person“, whom we now know was White House economic adviser Gene Sperling,  emailed Woodward to say he would “regret” challenging the Obama narrative on the sequester? The actual email from Sperling reads as an attempt to concern troll the reporter:

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about 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.

Now, why would Woodward not believe what he’s being told? Perhaps because he had just been browbeaten for a half an hour on the phone over the issue. But more importantly, the Sperling relation of events doesn’t fully match reality. As Sperling continues:

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.

But that’s only part of the picture. While at the time the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed the White House said sequestration was a trigger,  President Obama has all along taken credit for the sequester reductions in plans for future increases, which he has dishonestly called “cuts”. The President is in fact moving the goal posts after claiming victory.

So when White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe said Woodward is too old to play in the big leagues, he was using Woodward’s reaction to the concern trolling as a proxy for revealing the Obama duplicity on who came up with sequestration:

… he was merely joining in with his allies in the liberal online media attacking Woodward. As J Christian Adams says:

You, of all people, threatened by a Democrat White House.  So where are your defenders?  Where are the new hipster reporters of the left to defend you? Where have all the flowers gone, they used to ask.

And attack him they are. As Breitbart News noted, 

The messaging was universal from the leftist Obama-supporting media: Woodward hadn’t been threatened, and was an amateur or a crazy old coot to think he was being threatened. Matt Yglesias of Slate summed up the general Palace Guard Media take: “Woodward’s managed to make me suspect Nixon got a raw deal.” 

The media will regret ganging up on Woodward, like prisoners of war enforcing the effects of Stockholm Syndrome on their own to perpetuate the status quo.  In a situation like that, it only takes one incident in which two people stand up against the bullying. Bob Woodward showed he is willing to do so. Others seem capable of it. 

Or, perhaps I’m wrong, and the practice of living in the hive mind is too ingrained in them. If that is so, I regret that none of them will ever be Bob Woodward.