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Woodward: Nobody Was in Charge

by Keith Koffler on September 11, 2012, 11:21 am

Bob Woodward’s new book, The Price of Politics, is an indictment of President Obama’s leadership that cuts through the incessant excuse making we hear out of the White House.

As you are well aware, when Obama and his aides are not blaming George W. Bush for their problems, they’re blaming the Republicans. They take responsibility for nothing, unless it’s of the “I didn’t realize how bad a president Bush was” variety or “I had no idea Republicans could be such intransigent bastards.”

Woodward’s point is that successful presidents plow through problems. Obama had a problem that compares with the one whose anniversary we mark today: an existential threat leveled in this case not by terrorists, but by a deficit that could lead to an economic meltdown that will destroy our way of life.

He didn’t solve it. In fact, the problem has only grown.

Woodward notes that a serious Obama shortcoming is that he doesn’t build relationships in Washington. I can tell you, it’s true.

Both Republicans and Democrats complain that they can’t see him or speak to him, that he is aloof. Lobbyists, who – whatever you think of them – are the voice of millions of businesses, large and small, are excluded from his orbit.

Unlike other presidents I’ve covered, White House meetings between the president and lawmakers are few and far between. This year, busy with preserving his own job, Obama has had practically none.

As you’ll notice in the video below, Woodward is unequivocal in saying that relationships can be the difference between a president saving the nation and not. As Woodward knows, relationships are how Washington happens.

As a journalist myself, I assure you that the main ingredient in the secret sauce behind Bob Woodward, reporter extraordinaire, is the relationships he painstakingly builds. If Diane Sawyer, who interviews Woodward, seems surprised, it’s because he is a reporter and she is not.

The video is from last night’s Nightline.

Leave a Comment

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

lc southern September 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

He is a community organizer…no experience in actually bringing people together. Apparently no desire to do anything to deal with the financial crisis we are in.

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Scottso September 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I don’t think that’s the whole reasoning – his complete inexperience.
I think that he has his mind made up on any subject, believes that he is 99.99% correct in that belief, and feels it is a total waste of his time to listen to someone else’s opinion or notes.
Why? Because either they agree with him or they are wrong. Either way, what’s the point?

Meetings or questions submitted by him to others are only to reinforce his feeling that he is correct in his thought process.

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Girly1 September 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I agree, Scottso. He is, after all, the smartest person on the planet.
He is also the most dangerous – talking about the possibility of being more bi-partisan in his second term and, if that doesn’t work, taking things into his own hands.

Obama must have felt the need to rebut Woodward’s stinging remarks. Here he is in a sit-down with Jessica Yelsin – claiming that it is ‘fatherhood’ that keeps him from forging relationships in D.C. What chutzpah emanating from the lips of this foppishly arrogant cardboard cut-out! Gray Poupon, anyone?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/02/obama-fatherhood_n_1850850.html

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Scottso September 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm

There is always an excuse.
He can’t meet with leaders or his cabinet or his job advisors because of the kids.
Time to golf, time for concerts, time for dates, time for hanging with celebrities

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MarjoJimbo September 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

He believes he is smarter than everyone else.

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65andcounting September 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

Excellent article Keith and so dead-on right about Diane Sawyer. My husband worked with her and calls her Little Miss Earnest, her reporting voice so subjective and degrading. I must admit, however, that ABC is my default evening news. Brian Williams. Over my dead body. Scott Pelley. Shoot me first. Diane Sawyer. Grin and bear it.

I’ve just “one-clicked” bought Woodward’s new book.

PS: for any other politcal junkies, a fabulous read is Robert Caro’s LBJ, The Passage of Power. I couldn’t put it down. Really.

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Star September 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

She was sure tapdancing her little heart out to make excuses for you know who–seriously, who needs human relations, aren’t those kinda outdated?

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Shofar September 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

I have to disagree with the idea that no one is in charge. During the past three and half years there has been over 11K pages of new regulations issued by this administration. http://cnsnews.com/news/article/under-obama-11327-pages-federal-regulations-added

Someone’s running something, unfortunately it is the nation and business into the ground.

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veritaseequitas September 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Yeah, I think the problem is too many people are runing things. Too many chiefs and not enough indians as it were. Comrade Obama is not a leader with his own ideas or with enough experience to actually get things done and well, build those relationships that matter. he is all about HE WON.

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Susan September 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

According to Ed Klein, Valerie Jarrett is the “de facto” POTUS. She makes all the calls, except for the killing of Osama. She didn’t want that to happen at all.

Cass Sunstein is the man behind the 11,327 pages of regulations. He’s probably been fulfilling the dreams he wrote about in his book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”. Because we peons are just too stupid to make the right decisions on our own so we need the government to “nudge” us into their idea of “health, wealth, and happiness”. It’s for our own good don’t you know.

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OldTimer September 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

Susan…I did not know about the book. Thanks.

For sometime I have been telling my frioends the radical lefties now in power are trying to change “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness to “Life, Liberty and Happiness”. As you say they want to determine what happiness is. To me the important word is Pursuit . The pursuit of one’s happiness is just as important as happiness itself.

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HindaRifka September 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Notice how she introduces the interview by saying “…Barack Obama was hostage to events outside his control. The Republican Congress, newly dominated by the Tea Party, threatened, for the first time in history, to have America default on it’s debts.” This is a heinous misrepresentation, and, a disgusting example of unwavering support of this administration dressed up as unbiased reporting.

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Star September 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

He or she who frames the argument wins–then Woodward scoffed…

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FedUp2Much September 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more, Hinda. But then we have learned to expect this, no? It’s funny; Bill Clinton saw the writing on the wall when the Republicans won back congress. And so he worked with Gingrich, et al. And guess what? It saved his presidency and he is now regarded by some on the left as a great president. Ronald Reagan found a way to work with Tip O’Neill. And the country thrived during his tenure. Obama? No, he has his own ideas and to hell with everybody else. Executive orders up the keaster. And look at where we are now. I know Diane Sawyer can’t help herself. She is paid to twist the truth and to manipulate her viewers. But putting the blame on the Tea Party in this piece only shows her for her biased self. Obviously compromise is the only way for anything to get done in Washington. But remember, “elections have consequences” and, Obama won!

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Jeff1000 September 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Clint’s empty chair.

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The Original September 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Woodward is going to be on Hannity tonight. I don’t plan on missing it.

If this wasn’t Woodward, I doubt MSM would give his new book any press.

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Susan September 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I don’t trust these roaches. They don’t do anything that they don’t think puts their guy in a good light. They’re blaming the Tea Party for the “financial equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis”? Please give me a break. These statists just found a new straw man to blame for their problems…

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veritaseequitas September 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Diane Sawyer’s narrative sounds as though she is talking to a bunch of children (the US voters). She must have been taking elocution lessons from MooChow. Sickening.
Why is it that the Comrade thinks that everything has to be his way? He talks about being a great negotiator but he is portrayed more as a middle school bully who wants it all his way or he will take his ball and go home.
The is great that Woodward’s book was timed to come out right before the election.

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Langley Spook September 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

…but will the “main-stream media” mention Woodward’s book?

(I can already see the “WH press corps” skipping any ‘questions’ about the book…)

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Teresa September 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Since they’re such followers, now that Woodward has given the “okay” to criticize Obama, maybe journalists will finally slide off Obama’s lap and do their job.

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Girly1 September 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Just watched the Woodward ‘interview’ on Hannity. Now I know why I never, ever watch Hannity! He gave Woodward all of about 3 minutes, interrupted him, and just when Woodward was getting warmed up – dismissed him. What an obnoxious, rude jerk! (Hannity, not Woodward).

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Radegunda September 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hannity tends to use interviews (or callers-in) as a grandstand for his own somewhat simpleminded views. He doesn’t listen very well (or, doesn’t comprehend very well), and sometimes huffs and puffs against an argument that his interlocutor never made. I think he feels a need to sound smarter than everyone he talks with on his shows, and the result is that he often ends up being an embarrassment to the cause.

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John November 4, 2012 at 2:10 am

If the election results are substantially different than what the alphabet national networks have been telling us, then we know Obama has promised change and delivered to us a socialist-totalitarian police state where the media and journalists are under the complete control and financing of the White House. We’ll know this one way or the other on Tuesday. It’s one of the most important “dots” for us to connect.

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