The Conversation

Bob Woodward Calls Out Sequester "Madness"

Bob Woodward doesn't seem to appreciate the response his reporting has received from the White House. Here he compares the Commander in Chief, unfavorably, to several of his predecessors and concludes the President is behaving with a kind of "madness." [h/t NewsBusters]

And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement, “I can't do what I need to do to protect the country.” That's a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time.

Madness implies a lack of rationality. I don't think that's actually the the right word in this case. The President is very intentionally trying to scare the bejeezus out of the American people over these budget cuts as a way to force Republicans to give in and accept more taxes or, more likely at this point, simply make them take the blame for cuts he proposed and agreed to in 2011. It's ugly but perfectly rational. A better word here might be cynical or even nihilistic.

What the President is doing by using negative outcomes to force the other side's hand is the mirror image of the hardball the GOP used in 2011 with the debt limit. You may recall that, at that time, the left was unified in calling this "hostage taking." "Will they really shoot the hostage?" was considered a fair topic for stories. Now that the President is promising doom to every program under the sun unless he gets his way, well, amazingly it's still the GOP's fault. That's true even though, in this case, Obama proposed the sequester and signed it into law. The only media bigwig who seems to notice the shoe is on the other foot is Bob Woodward.


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