Can we take a moment to pull back the curtain?
Today is the day when the trigger is pulled for sequestration. On February 19th our perfumed potentate stood in front of first responders to inform the nation that across-the-board cuts would be calamitous if sequestration takes effect.
Since then, he has backed off the Armageddon rhetoric and reclassified the sequester as “not a cliff, but a tumble downward.”
Beginning with his February 19th gloom and doom speech we heard how deep “spending cuts” would affect programs in every state only to have his ploy to scare the hell out of every American roundly criticized on the Left and Right.
Once the Republicans began reminding us that sequestration was the president’s “solution” for budget cuts, the West Wing vehemently denied that fact. Enter a voice from the past: the man who took down a president.
Bob Woodward wrote:
“The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate on Oct. 22, when President Barack Obama blamed Congress. ‘The sequester is not something that I've proposed," Obama said. "It is something that Congress has proposed.’"
“The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.”
"’There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,’ Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It ‘was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.’"
“The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book ‘The Price of Politics’ shows the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors—probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.”
“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.”
“Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, ‘We didn't actually think it would be that hard to convince them’—Reid and the Republicans—to adopt the sequester. ‘It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.’"
Then he asserted the unthinkable and unforgivable when he wrote, “So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.” [Emphasis mine]
Uh oh. You can’t say that. You can’t correct President Panic. Bad. Very. Bad.
Now the White House is trying to destroy the Pulitzer Prize winning author. The West Wing is in panic mode worried sick that Woodward’s charge “that the emperor has no clothes” may encourage others to finally begin to do the same.
Jonathan Tobin succinctly surmises:
“The rules may be different for Barack Obama, and there’s good reason to believe his charmed existence—in which he is never held accountable for any disaster or lie—may continue. But eventually even he may find himself subject to the laws of political gravity. It could be that by blithely assuming that the public will always back him against the Republicans, he is setting himself—and the country—up for a great fall as we head back to the brink on the budget.”
When the White House is attempting to discredit Bob Woodward, again, it's not a good day for them, huh?
— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) February 23, 2013
Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) February 28, 2013
On January 19, 2013, Australian author Hal G. P. Colebatch wrote “His Queeg Moment” about our president. I believe after re-reading it that is it an accurate metaphor.
In Herman Wouk’s classic World War II novel, The Caine Mutiny, there is a moment when a group of the ship’s officers are getting away from the increasingly eccentric Captain Queeq by relaxing ashore.
“In fact Queeg is not insane, at least not at that time. He is simply grappling, more and more disastrously, with a job too big for him. Come the crisis of a typhoon, he becomes paralyzed and nearly sinks the ship by failing to give the obvious orders. At the subsequent court-martial he appears quite normal until he breaks down under the pressure of cross-examination. Before this, the officers have searched the regulations for guidance, but the regulations refer only to a captain who is clearly and unmistakably insane, not one who is merely guilty of eccentricity and bad judgment. At a lower level of responsibility, Queeg might have performed adequately, but with Keefer’s question, the remaining respect for Queeg’s office has gone.”
“Obama’s second inauguration speech may be his Queeg moment—an undeniable demonstration that, in an emergency, he is incapable of grappling with reality. For all his unceasing invocation of the word “change,” the outstanding thing about Obama has been his apparent inability to react, even to an imminent crisis.”
“Faced with the worst looming fiscal cliff-fall in world history Obama, like Queeg in the typhoon, has done nothing at all, but has, increasingly, resorted to meaningless words. His pseudo-Keynesian fiscal notions and a mantra-like repetition of old and failed ideas, suggest a serious lack of mental versatility.”
“The dancing is still there, the golf, the celebs, the multi-million dollar holidays, but behind them it is possible to detect a desperate emptiness, a interconnected mosaic of failure.”
It is important to point out that the Navy initially objected to The Caine Mutiny’s depiction of a mentally unbalanced man as the captain of one of its ships and the word "mutiny" in the film's title. The epigraph which followed the opening credits informed the audience, "There has never been a mutiny in a ship of the United States Navy. The truths of this film lie not in its incidents, but in the way a few men meet the crisis of their lives."
So as America struggles to meet the crisis of its existence, created by a newer version of Captain Queeg, the mainstream media allows his disingenuous arguments to go unchallenged and chooses instead to devour Bob Woodward.