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.