Moving the Goal Posts

March 1, 2013

So much for freedom of the press.  Bob Woodward’s ever-so-slight break from full support of President Obama’s every move has caused a fury of condemnation from the The Huffington Post, NPR and The New Yorker.

The overreaction is on par with the rape of the lock or maybe Jean Valjean’s theft of a loaf of bread.

In an op-ed, Woodward said that President Obama was “moving the goal posts” by calling for higher taxes as the only way in which he would agree to stop the sequester.

While Woodward was indeed guilty of using a cliché, he understated President Obama’s offense.  The President didn’t just move the goal posts – he pretty much blew up the stadium. 

Some of his offenses were pointed out in a previous post, but he has refused to negotiate at every turn, while blaming Republicans for sequestration.  Most media have gone along with this sham.

Regardless, Gene Sperling, a senior economic aide to President Barack Obama, took offense at the op-ed and e-mailed Woodward the following: "But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying [sic] that [Obama] 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."

When a government official close to the President says to a journalist, “you’ll regret it,” the journalist, naturally might consider that to be a threat.

Yet NPR, reported that Woodward “thrust himself at the center of the news with his claim that he had been menaced by an unnamed White House official.”  The same article calls Woodward a liar.

The Huffington Post said that the threat by Sperling was “not so threatening” and added the White House whopper that “Sperling was merely trying to tell Woodward he would regret writing something that was inaccurate.”

The New Yorker used the occasion to run a 1,600 word (no, it was not an obit) critique of Woodward’s career, including this nugget: “The real rap on Woodward isn’t that he makes things up. It’s that he takes what powerful people tell him at face value; that his accounts are shaped by who cooperates with him and who doesn’t; and that they lack context, critical awareness, and, ultimately, historic meaning.”

The criticism of Woodward was gentle … after all, he’s one of them.  It was the equivalent of sentencing him to time out in the naughty corner.  To paraphrase, “We love you, Bob.  Just don’t let it happen again.”

The real puzzle here is why, with the country going bankrupt and the President trying to spend even more money, the press is focusing on a meaningless flap between a reporter and his “friend.”



Moving the goal posts

I don't agree that Obama has moved the goal posts or "blew up the stadium" but that may be an argument for another day. The point about Woodward is he did not exactly cover himself in glory. I do agree with you about why the press if focusing on a meaningless flap. But the press seems to have lost its edge. See Jay Rosen's blog for example:


More on moving the goal posts

Just read this article on the WaPO's wonkblog (yes, I was reading WaPo online on a Saturday night and, yes, I have no life) but the article is quite good on the back and forth of sequestration and whether Obama moved the goalposts or whether the GOP just says he moved the goalposts.

Joe ... from Falmouth

Moving the Goal Posts

First, Joe, thanks for your comments.  It's about time someone disagreed with me.  I was beginning to think that people agree with me (could be a mental disorder).

I tried reading the pressthink post and have to admit that it gave me a bit of a headache.  Speaking of disorders, my ADD set in.

Regarding The Washington Post ... I have no doubt that the post is accurate (even if Bob Woodward didn't write it), but what President Obama says and what he does are two different things.  In fact, what he says and what he says are two different things.

The evidence says that he wants to spend every dime ever minted ... mostly on his Hawaii vacations.

He ignored the Super Committee.  He ignored Simpson-Bowles.  And he raised our taxes on January 1.  Two months later, he wanted to do it again.

And what has he cut?  If he was a leader, he would be making meaningful cuts in a budget that was bloated when he took office and is now obscenely out of line with what this country can afford.

Even liberal Mr. Woodard called the Obama approach "madness."  He may not have covered himself in glory, but he at least is less delusional than E.J. Dionne and the many other liberal columnists who have said that sequestration is the Republicans' fault.







Moving the goal posts

Don't know if I'd call Woodward a liberal because I'm just not sure what he is. But be that as it may, the deficit under Obama has been declining for many months and let's give the guy credit for being more of a center-right president than a hard left liberal.

Saying the deficit has been

Saying the deficit has been declining under President Obama is like saying interest rates have been rising under Ben Bernanke.  The deficit will decline now ... a little bit ... thanks to sequestration.  President Obama had precious little to do with it, but will take full credit for the decline.


It's no longer about what's best for the country. Our president's mission is to remake the country in his own image. Criticism of his policies or his positions will simply not be tolerated. We're in deep doo-doo.

Remaking the Country in His Own Image

You're absolutely right.  Remaking the country "in his own image" is what this President is all about.

With every decision he makes, it should be clear to anyone that it's not all about us -- it's all about him.

Unfortunately for President Obama, his legacy will be that he ruined the most prosperous, most democratic country in the history of the world.



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