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View Diary: Bob Woodward rewrites the history of the sequester (34 comments)

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  •  Just to Clarify... (20+ / 0-)

    ...this diary is not review of Woodward's book, but his piece in the Washington Post yesterday.

    A couple of key points.

    1.  The deal the President made included the formation of the debt "Super Committee," which was a mechanism to avoid the sequester.  Obama and the Democrats proposed a mix of new tax revenue and spending cuts to avoid the sequester, a point Woodward mentions not at all in his WaPo column.

    2.  You write:

    There is no factual dispute -- none -- that the President, through Lew and Nabors, proposed the sequester as a solution to the Republicans' refusal to raise the debt ceiling.  And that's all that Woodward says.

    But Woodward does NOT say that in his piece.  (If he did, he'd be closer to providing the full context needed to understand where we are now.) The Republicans' debt ceiling obstruction is taken as a given, and not mentioned at all until near the very end of the piece:

    In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.
    Again, no mention of the Super Committee process.  And the GOP's unprecedented debt ceiling obstruction is presented as routine.

    Whether or no Woodward did a fuller accounting in his book (which I have not read), his 2/22 column completely omitted the real story line: no GOP default threat, no sequester.

    •  His column serves one purpose, (13+ / 0-)

      promoting Boehner's blame-Obama tactic.  Woodward is nothing more than a whore for Republicans.  This is why he is on Morning Joe so often.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:35:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, his column serves one purpose: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to point out misstatements of fact by the President and Jack Lew:

        The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed.  It is something that Congress has proposed.
        People on the right who are pretending that this one short column is all Woodward has written on the subject are being disingenuous and misusing one short column that references an entire story laid out in factually accurate detail.  

        But people on the left who look at this as all he has said on the subject are just as disingenuous and also are misusing the column.  

    •  He clearly DOES say that it was (0+ / 0-)

      in response to the Republicans' position on the debt ceiling.  

      Is your complaint that he begins this one particular piece by addressing one particular fact -- who proposed the sequester -- in a completely accurate way, without mentioning until later that the REASON for the  President's sequester proposal was the debt ceiling?  

      This particular very short piece was directed to one particular fact -- who proposed the sequester.  It was prompted because the President and Lew had made the factually inaccurate statements that Congress proposed the sequester.   He reported the facts in a completely accurate way.  He ALSO references his book for anyone who wants a fuller context, AND says that the sequester was a response to the Republicans' position on the debt ceiling.   He doesn't need to go through the whole history of the debt ceiling crisis in every short piece he writes.  That's what he did in his book.  This very short piece is about one specific instance in that book, as he makes very clear.  

      He accurately reports on clear misstatements by the President and Lew by providing accurate facts, references his book for more context, and does include a statement making clear that the sequester was a result of the Republicans position on the debt ceiling.  How is that "rewriting history?  

    •  Thank you for this, and it's also worth (5+ / 0-)

      noting that Woodward's reportage is already being used by the village to absolve Republicans of all responsibility for sequester.  As this diary shows so clearly, Woodward does not provide a full picture of the sequester that includes the Republican hostage taking.  And I cannot agree with coffeetalk's argument that Woodward should be absolved of his escalating campaign against Obama (of which this is only the most recent chapter) just because his account of Obama's role is narrowly and technically true.  One of the sad facts about Woodward's career is that his Watergate reputation has for too long kept people from seeing his conservative sensibilities.

      •  Woodward has been misused, it seems to me. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Frankly, this latest piece, which is being misused by the Republicans, is the President's own fault -- because he said this:

        The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed.  It is something that Congress has proposed.
        That was not true, and he deserved to be called on that factually inaccurate statement, which is what Woodward did.  That is what a reporter is SUPPOSED to do.

        If the President had said, "the sequester is not something I wanted, but is something I was forced into proposing because of Congress' unreasonable position on the debt ceiling," this piece would not have been written.  

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