Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2013

White House to Woodward: “I Think You Will Regret” Taking on Obama on Sequestration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:49 pm

I’m breaking my Politico boycott for this post because they did good work getting the story:

Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about – and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half hour,” Woodward told us in an hour-long interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.

Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.

Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “ ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’ ”

“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward continued in his calm, instantly recognizable voice. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years — or 10 years’ — experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.” The White House declined to comment for this story.

They are thugs. Pure and simple.

106 Responses to “White House to Woodward: “I Think You Will Regret” Taking on Obama on Sequestration”

  1. I think they will regret making that threat.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Glad you posted this. I had seen it linked elsewhere and thought there was maybe some promise when Woodward and Politico are clashing with the one.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  3. Woodward’s opinions are hurting Obama. Why should they treat Woodward any different than they treat conservatives like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  4. The fact that Woodward is acting like an impartial journalist and being truthful is the part I take encouragement in, that he is getting flak is a compliment as you say, suggesting he is making some impact.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  5. I actually hope they continue to be stupid here. If the press ever turned on Obama, there’s such an awful lot for them to talk about.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  6. 1. I think so too. Everyone in the media over 50 knows Woodward to be an icon, the terra firma of repute on which they strut and jiggle.

    Kicking him to the curb is like raping Mother. A vision of horror.

    When he says ‘Ogabe policy is madness’ and he gets butchered what are useful idiots to think except ‘That’s me next!’

    “Who’s in there with you? And the Gadarene replied ‘We are legion’”.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  7. According to Buzzfeed, (I know they are one step above Politico,) they say it was Gene Sperling,
    which doesn’t really fit the image;

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/02/27/cbs-sharyl-attkisson-may-get-a-personal-threat-from-the-obama-white-house-after-this/

    narciso (3fec35)

  8. OTOH, this suggests that it might be him;

    “Lew, Nabors, Sperling and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had initially decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger. It seemed tough enough to apply to the current situation. It would require a sequester with half the cuts from Defense, and the other half from domestic programs.” (The Price Of Politics, Bob Woodward, 2012, p. 341)

    narciso (3fec35)

  9. gary,

    I think the Obamites see it as “We take him down, and the rest will knuckle under.”

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  10. 9. No doubt you are correct. It’s the Chicago Way.

    I’d better get more popcorn in the house tomorrow. The Mrs. is on a real prepper binge and won’t notice a thing.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  11. Note how Woodward still clings to the ideal that Obama would not condone this attack on him.

    JD (4f721c)

  12. Note how Woodward still clings to the ideal that Obama would not condone this attack on him

    yep, but not forever I hope

    EPWJ (1ea63e)

  13. So the Senate confirms Lew and we have the Brennan/Benghazi hard place for a week or more.

    Not much time before the end of March to get a budget together.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  14. Don’t discount the possibility the White House is using Woodward to divert attention from how Obama implements the sequester. If Woodward and Obama make up, this will be yesterday’s news.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  15. He was citing his own book, no big scoop, he’s suppressed more news, re Armitage then he has covered,

    narciso (3fec35)

  16. Food Stamp a nightmare walking, psychopath talking

    king of his jungle just a gangster stalking

    living life like a firecracker quick is his fuse

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  17. Funny hiw they didn’t push back when the book was published. Only when it became apparent that he Obama sequester plan would be implemented, and he began his taxpayer funded the sky is falling because of corporate jets campaign, did they try to rewrite history.

    JD (4f721c)

  18. If this was a Republican administration the climb on by the media would be out of control and the blood would be running down the streets.

    A day doesn’t go by that I dislike this group of tools in the White House more and more.

    Thing is, in real life I am sure Obama would be a pussy and never an actual fighter. He’s too weak looking.

    Same thing for the other tough guy, now Mayor Emmanual, the ballet pussy, would also try to talk his way out of an actual fight.

    I think Dubya could kick both their asses.

    PC14 (7cfd34)

  19. Woodward has a choice. Continue to do what made you famous in the first place or knuckle under for access and the adoration of your peers.

    He probably had a brief rush of being the golden boy of his youth. I doubt it will last long. Being rich without access, for him, is the same as being poor.

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  20. Obama’s “Enemies List” is starting to look like the White Pages. Oh, wait, is that racist?

    WarEagle82 (2b7355)

  21. What difference, at this point, does it make given that Republicans have taken away President Obama’s ability to defend the country if the apocalyptic sequester spending cuts are implemented? We are all as good as dead anyway from terrorist attacks, disease, starvation, zombie invasion, and Xtian rapture.

    The budget which Obama already submitted to Congress squeezed all the possible fat out of our spending yet heartless Republicans want to cut more, making our senior citizens to go hungry, our children to go without educations, our sick go without medicine and treatment and worst of all, our government bureaucrats to go without raises. This is not the kind of America I grew up in!

    Wait, what……Obama has not submitted a budget……the Senate has not created a budget in 1,400 days…………overall government spending is still going up?

    What the heck is Obama ranting and raving about and why doesn’t somebody put him in a straitjacket?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  22. It is a bit of the carnival of the absurd, I mean where was he on ‘Fast and Furious’ or Benghazi, this is a book keeping error, of course, one is reminded that the former DOJ staffer Schmaler acted almost as belligerently to Atkinson,

    narciso (3fec35)

  23. I expect all the running dogs to attack Woodward.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  24. Guess which Washington newspaper has no reference to this online.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  25. Woodward is off the reservation. The message is to strike fear in the rest of the media so they don’t do the same.

    AZ Bob (c11d35)

  26. The journolist seems to be a little behind the curve, Marshall, Yglesias, then Alan Colmes, and some drone from Business Insider.

    narciso (3fec35)

  27. Ah, didn’t see Pareene, and Grunwald, are on the march.

    narciso (3fec35)

  28. Narciso. What’s the deal with JOM??

    gus (694db4)

  29. The wonderful world of Typepad, gus.

    narciso (3fec35)

  30. Marciso, I think this is what gus is referring to.

    http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2013/02/im-going-with-the-guppy.html

    elissa (ac3f37)

  31. gaaah. Narciso is also a way to spell it.

    elissa (ac3f37)

  32. That was an early ‘nudge’ that ‘Worse then Ezra’ was signaling to Woodward,

    narciso (3fec35)

  33. bob and obama- two turds who love the toilet.

    mg (31009b)

  34. Past his prime
    washed up
    Partisan hack
    Shill

    JD (b63a52)

  35. …making clear he saw it as a veiled threat…

    Maybe it’s just cuz I’m Italian, but I don’t see anything about that threat that’s veiled.

    If someone sez to me “cook up a veiled threat” it’d be cloaked a whole lot better than that.

    I mean, really. Subtle?

    Steve57 (60a887)

  36. Thanks for the link, narciso.

    This will be interesting. All the young bucks who “wanted to be like Woodward and Bernstein” when they were growing up are writing him off as being senile. Yglasias twitted something about how he would have to rethink if Nixon got a bad deal if it was Woodward who brought him down.

    And it’s not like Woodward has been consistently attacking the one either, just this sequester thing that in the whole scope of things is a relatively minor issue.

    Can they successfully pull an Alinsky and marginalize Woodward?? Will Woodward be intimidated? Will Woodward rise up, from personal pride if nothing else, and pull off the gloves?

    Will the old guard who know Woodward but don’t follow the young buck blogs start questioning Obama?

    Lots to watch for, lots to pray for.

    At the same time, what will the one try to get away with under the cover of the Woodward kerfuffle- “Never waste a crisis”.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  37. Maybe this is what’s really wrong with the MFM.

    You have to whittle things down to the glaringly obvious and beat them over the head with a clue bat and when they start to become aware of what’s going on around them they think they’re discerning nuance.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  38. Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 2/28/2013 @ 5:39 am

    And reportedly in an email, as in documentable.

    I bet the person got carried away and never thought Woodward would dare oppose the regime.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  39. I was just reminded, somewhere is video of Obama saying he would veto any attempt to change the sequester.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  40. To echoe PC14-invariably the guys who have never rolled around a parking lot at 4AM with fists out are the first to use the verb “fight’ to try to impress you. If you’ve been a real fight, you don’t much relish the experience. To allow Obama to phrase everything as a fight against this, or fighting for that, or a war on what ever, is an assualt on logic and language.

    Bugg (ba4ca9)

  41. 39. And reportedly in an email, as in documentable.

    I bet the person got carried away and never thought Woodward would dare oppose the regime.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 2/28/2013 @ 5:43 am

    The “do you know who I am?!?!” presidency has long been able to afford to be that stupid. I believe that’s the kind of habit you fall into when the leg-humping media immediately starts covering up for you what you do in plain sight.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  42. Comment by Bugg (ba4ca9) — 2/28/2013 @ 5:47 am

    To a large degree there is a cultural component. In some neighborhoods in Philly, there is a lot of posturing before any violence erupts, if it does. A block away in another neighborhood, there is no posturing, just an offense that went over the line and the fight is on.

    I am not saying one is better or worse than the other, just observing the difference. Wars and lesser conflicts arise out of misjudgements in how people will react.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  43. invariably the guys who have never rolled around a parking lot at 4AM with fists out are the first to use the verb “fight’ to try to impress you. If you’ve been a real fight, you don’t much relish the experience.

    I always tried to avoid fights when I was in the nav.

    If you’re familiar with the old Irish saying of “you never beat the local horse at the county fair” the reason becomes obvious.

    I could, say, stuff five Thai guys under a car outside a Bangkok Karaoke bar and beat the last guys’ head on the bumper until my friend flags down a cab. But if I get caught? I don’t think I’d do well in third world prisons.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  44. The language of the somewhat “threatening” email standing just on its own was and is not the story. It’s the half hour of a very senior official yelling and screaming at Woodward on the phone beforehand, (gee I wonder who slammed the phone down), the fact that it even was a senior advisor in the first place, and the fact that it was Woodward, not some total hack.

    Woodward did the professional thing by telling the admin what he thought and planned to say and giving them a heads up. I’ve liked some of Woodward’s work much better than others over the years, but I’ve always thought he at least tries to dig and connect disparate things together and be a journalist and a contemporary historian– not a propagandist like most of today’s sorry lot. This story really ties in with and supports the excellent essay by David Horowitz that was linked from Powerlineblog a few days ago.

    elissa (371234)

  45. Oh, puh-lease. Enough with the death panels FEMA camps imperial president paranoia. It’s silly. Why would the White House aide apologize and then make a threat? It’s obvious that he meant “you’ll regret the story” in the sense that he (Woodward) will regret making an observation that is inaccurate.

    The odd thing is that I’m sure at least half of you instinctively understood it to mean that way, and nothing more, but won’t speak up about it.

    Kman (5576bf)

  46. It’s the same pattern, how Schmaler acted with Atkinson, how ‘Reset’ Raines, tried to shoo off Hastings, re Stevens diary,

    narciso (3fec35)

  47. The foregoing was a hypothetical. The guys may not have been Thai. It sure as hell wasn’t Bangkok. Somewhere in east Asia.

    We left the Karaoke bar because we didn’t want trouble. They followed us out. I guess they figured 5 v 2 was a given and they could get that Yankee notch on their belts. We really were only looking for a cab.

    The last fight I was in was on Saint Paddy’s day a couple of years back. The last customer had left and me and the ladies were counting the day’s reciepts. I thought about locking the door but that would have made it inconvenient to throw out the trash. So some guy comes marching in demanding t know why I let his car get towed. Like it’s my full time job to watch his car. So I tell him his car got towed because he parked in a lot reserved for customers. Then I tell him we’re going outside.

    Which sounds all brave and manly and all but I’m looking around at all the chairs, tables, kitchen utensils he can hit me with and I’m thinking, “Crap.” There’s only one door.

    I told the ladies on the way out to lock the door and call the cops.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  48. Kman’s observation could be credited were it not for context: he is a demonstrated apologist for people who threaten, making excuses for an administration that treats thuggishly reporters who do not toe the line.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  49. Oh Puh-leez. If the convo was over and done with there was no need for the follow-up email from the WH to end with “you’ll regret”. It’s awfully sweet to think that the WH was only just trying to be helpful and looking out for Woodward’s reputation if in their opinion he was “innacurate”– but last word interpersonal relationships don’t work like that in real life.

    elissa (371234)

  50. Threaten with what? What do people think is going to happen to Woodward? A horse head in the bed? Maybe a little Vince Foster action?

    Kman (5576bf)

  51. It’s all relatively understated, sort of the way, they say ‘honorable gentlemen’ when they hate each others guts

    http://www.therightscoop.com/white-house-denying-adviser-threatened-bob-woodward-politico-releases-emails/

    narciso (3fec35)

  52. You know very well that’s not what people mean when they refer to threatening a journalist. At least not in this country or in the past. Enjoy your day.

    elissa (371234)

  53. this is assuming that Politico, is presenting all of the emails,

    narciso (3fec35)

  54. At least not in this country

    elissa, I’m having trouble keeping up. I used to live in a country where extrajudicial killings of American citizens was at least worthy of discussion.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  55. Oh, puh-lease. Enough with the death panels FEMA camps imperial president paranoia

    No you are just making shlt up. Shocking.

    Do you play stupid on the innertubes, Ms Doubtfire, or are you really this dense in real life?

    JD (b63a52)

  56. #52 Thanks for the link. It’s clear from the context of the FULL emails that the White House wasn’t threatening Woodward, and Woodward didn’t take it as a threat.

    Kman (5576bf)

  57. Kman,

    In the past, Obama’s White House has tried to freeze out reporters and ban media that don’t report the way Obama likes.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  58. The only reason I am advocating talking about the extrajudicial killing of American citizens is because I’m uncomfortable with the idea of a powerful black man in the White House.

    I denounce myself.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  59. #52 Thanks for the link. It’s clear from the context of the FULL emails that the White House wasn’t threatening Woodward, and Woodward didn’t take it as a threat.

    Except he did, as he has stated very publicly , in the commonsense ordinary way anyone would have taken that.

    JD (b63a52)

  60. Kman,
    Woodward says younger or less experienced journalists would consider this a threat, and he implies they would be right to do so.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  61. This entire event illustrates how hypersensitive are those on the Right, Woodward included. And note well, the staffer apologized. Carry on!

    Perry (329aa5)

  62. Perry is not amusing any longer:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/25/end-of-the-affair-press-b_n_114925.html

    End Of The Affair: Press Breaks Up With Obama

    Once more, for emphasis:

    First Posted: 07-25-08 08:58 AM | Updated: 08- 2-08 05:12 AM

    Two thousand freakin’ 8!

    Steve57 (60a887)

  63. Woodward did not initially take it as a threat. Who responds to a threat this way?

    Gene:

    You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today.

    Best, Bob

    Kman (5576bf)

  64. Kman neither. Just covering my bases.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  65. Kman,

    I think you will regret staking out these wild-eyed claims. (I think you will also regret blowing that $200 in a back alley tryst in Bangkok at New Year’s, but there are ointments to treat that.)

    Elephant Stone (76799c)

  66. Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat.

    I’m actually digging what Woodward is shoveling but who can write that ****?

    Steve57 (60a887)

  67. I don’t have many expectations, in so far, as Fast and Furious, and Benghazi should be fertile ground
    for Pulitzers, but it will just be blather about the ’47%’ and how Romney ‘lied’ about Chrysler going to China, which he didn’t.

    narciso (3fec35)

  68. those on the Right, Woodward included
    Comment by Perry (329aa5) — 2/28/2013 @ 7:11 am

    Thank you for clarifying your perspective. If Woodward is on the Right, was Mao a Centrist or Left of Center?

    Apparently your MO is to be so ridiculous as to not invite discussion but just to rile people up to get them to waste time.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  69. I am just amazed at how impartial and even-handed these journalists are being. They are even willing to criticize their hero Bob Woodward on the rare occasion he strays into apostasy and error.

    Meanwhile, how long until we know what the President’s NCAA bracket looks like?

    Pious Agnostic (6ff605)

  70. One wishes the Maginot line, had been better defended

    Actually the prob with teh Maginoe line wuzz it was well defined.

    Witch it is why the Huns knew how to turn its flank

    Steve57 (60a887)

  71. I ain’t askeeered of Bell-jum so my personal Mahjinoe line don’t go so far.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  72. I’m the smart one. Think of all the money I’m saving by not fortifying THAT border.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  73. Pious Agnostic, you make a good point about Obama’s March Madness brackets.
    I wonder if sequestration will result in White House budget cutbacks, thereby eliminating the giant poster board on which The One writes in his picks for a nationally televised audience on ESPN.

    Nah, that can’t be eliminated—let’s eliminate aircraft carriers, and air traffic controllers, instead !

    Elephant Stone (d28edc)

  74. Hah. I doubt Perry even knows who Gene Sperling is, or what role he plays in the admin. I laughed when Perry blew him off as just some “staffer”. I think ol Gene’d be pretty insulted to be called “a staffer”.

    elissa (371234)

  75. ‘Madness of King Bam / Watergate journo rips $low-boat warnings

    (Headline in the printed edition of the New York Post, February 28, 2013, page 6. I mean the actual page 6 “Page Six” is always much further deep in the paper – today Page Six is on page 12)

    Legendary journalist Bob Woodward yesterday slammed President Obama for exhibiting a “kind of madness” when he delayed sending a Navy warship to the Persian Gulf because of deep spending cuts set to hit tomorrow.

    “So we now have the president going out [saying], ‘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,” Woodward said on MSNBC.

    Later, he told CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned Woodward in an e-mail that he would “regret doing this,” referring to his critique.

    This seems to imply the threat was about criticizing the aircraft carrier not sailing.

    Q.

    1. Why is Woodward suddenly so concerned?

    2. Strictly speaking, this isn’t about protecting the country. It might be about protecting U.S. troops (a greater force has much less chance of encountering any resistance at all than a smaller one) or success for U.S. foreign/military policy.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  76. elissa, compared to President Sun King, everyone is a “staffer”.

    SPQR (bdf6c1)

  77. “This seems to imply the threat was about criticizing the aircraft carrier not sailing.”

    Sammy – No, the emails today are clear that the dispute was over Woodward’s description of the responsibility for the sequester and whether Obama was moving the goalposts by demanding revenue increases today as a condition of modifying the 2011 law.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  78. 80.“This seems to imply the threat was about criticizing the aircraft carrier not sailing.”

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 2/28/2013 @ 11:43 am

    Sammy – No, the emails today are clear that the dispute was over Woodward’s description of the responsibility for the sequester…

    So we have a perhaps deliberately sloppily written New York Post article, which doesn’t mentioin anything at all Woodward did excepot speak on MSNBC.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  79. and whether Obama was moving the goalposts by demanding revenue increases today as a condition of modifying the 2011 law.

    Actually, he’s not moving the goalposts there, because the Supercommittee (the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) was supposed to consider both spending cuts and taxes, and the sequester was only the doomsday alternative.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress_Joint_Select_Committee_on_Deficit_Reduction

    The committee was charged with issuing a recommendation by November 23, 2011 for at least $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction steps to be undertaken over a ten‐year period.[6][9][18] This would have been the second installment of deficit reduction measures. Possible areas to be examined by the committee included: revenue increases, including raising taxes; tax reforms, such as simplifying the tax code and eliminating some tax breaks and loopholes; military spending cuts; and measures to reform and slow the growth of entitlement programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.[17] According to White House economics adviser Gene Sperling, “everything is on the table.” [

    I can probably fiund better sources than Wikipedia to indicate that the Supercommittee was to consider both budget cuts and tyax increases.

    However, that deal did not deal with the expiring Bush (and payroll) tax cuts. So Boehner can justifiably say that the president got his tax increases.

    By the way Obama is now asking only for “tax reforms” but usuaally you don’t call it tax reform if there’s a net tax increase.

    Obama’s strategy seems to be to forcve the Republicans to agree to both tax increases and tax changes, usually called tax reform, – and then, what?

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  80. Well, it was somewhat lumped together, as the reason the aircraft carrier was not sailing was reportedly because of the sequester, which was Obama’s idea (and even if it wasn’t Obama’s idea, he should have found a way around it- any other president would have).

    Obama remembers all of those bumper stickers that used to say, “Won’t the world be a better place when schools have enough money and the navy has to have bake sales for aircraft carriers”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  81. “Actually, he’s not moving the goalposts there, because the Supercommittee (the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) was supposed to consider both spending cuts and taxes, and the sequester was only the doomsday alternative.”

    Sammy – Actually he is in a few different ways. Obama campaign on removing the Bush tax cuts. They were scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, which would have given him the revenue increases he sought automatically. By not vetoing the sequester, which came from White House in the first place, Obama had in place both scheduled revenue increases and spending decreases when the Super Committee predictably failed to reach an agreement. Since Obama’s miracle economic policies have predictably continued to chill economic growth in this country, he and other Democrats elected to support raising tax rates on upper income Americans and extending the Bush tax cuts for 98%+ of Americans at the end of 2012. Revenue raising through broad based tax reform was rejected as a solution.

    Suddenly the scenario Obama accepted in 2011 is no more due to his specific actions. The scenario he also rejected a mere few months ago of broad based tax reform has risen phoenix-like from the grave. If you can’t call that goal post shifting, I don’t know what qualifies.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  82. Sammy – they already got their revenues.

    JD (4f721c)

  83. “So we have a perhaps deliberately sloppily written New York Post article,”

    Sammy – I have no idea, I didn’t read the Post article. What we do have is sloppy comment from a commenter who did not read the email exchange published today.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  84. Somewhat O/T…..
    Would not it have been less expensive, in both money and lives, if O had intervened in Syria in a serious manner in the beginning, instead of still trying to push the “reformer” meme?
    If the 20th-Century taught us anything, it is that fights delayed are always more costly in time, material, and men, than fights engaged in when the first opportunity arises.
    Hit ‘em now, hit ‘em hard, Hit Them!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  85. Sammy – The sequester was a specific trigger to reduce future government spending below projected amounts. What Obama is doing is attempting to reopen the debate on how best to reduce the deficit, which is moving the goal posts. The sequester is specifically about spending, not revenues.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  86. “Actually, he’s not moving the goalposts there, because the Supercommittee (the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) was supposed to consider both spending cuts and taxes, and the sequester was only the doomsday alternative.”

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 2/28/2013 @ 12:40 pm

    Sammy – Actually he is in a few different ways. Obama campaign on removing the Bush tax cuts. They were scheduled to expire at the end of 2012,

    Originally, at the end of 2010, but the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 election, so, thinking he would get a better deal with the old Congress – he needed a deal, because he and the most of the Democrats wanted to extend most of them – he agreed to a 2-year extension of the tax cuts, and also his own payroll tax cut, which many Republicans did not want (or a modified version of them)

    He still maintained he wanted to let expire or rescind the tax rate cuts for the highest income levels but leave them in place for most Americans.

    which would have given him the revenue increases he sought automatically.

    Did the 2011 deal include the possibility of any of those tax cuts expiring as part of a possible reduction deal?

    By not vetoing the sequester, which came from White House in the first place,

    Obama did not want another debt ceiling vote before the 2012 election. He proposed the sequester as the fallback to the Supercommittee not coming to an agreement, instead of a smaller debt limit increase.

    To make sure the Republicans would not like to see the sequester happen, he insisted half the cuts come from the military budget. (By the way, he never wanted the Supercommittee to impose any spending cuts, if I am right, and contrived to make sure it failed)

    Obama had in place both scheduled revenue increases and spending decreases when the Super Committee predictably failed to reach an agreement.

    But any revenue increases the supercommittee proposed would have been in addition to, or besides the scheduled ones. Not so?

    Since Obama’s miracle economic policies have predictably continued to chill economic growth in this country, he and other Democrats elected to support raising tax rates on upper income Americans and extending the Bush tax cuts for 98%+ of Americans at the end of 2012.

    That had nothing to do with the economy or the deficit. They wanted that anyway. I suspect because they felt they could not break the promise not to raise taxes on the middle class, unless they let the tax increases for the highest income brackets go through, or because they felt they could not cut entitlements unless they did that first.

    Revenue raising through broad based tax reform was rejected as a solution.

    Because Obama wanted to capture any reform and not trade it in for lower rates. How would tax reform raise revenue? It could I guess, if you at one and the same time projected it as revenue neutral (under static analysis) and also not
    revenue neutral (under non-static analysis)

    Suddenly the scenario Obama accepted in 2011 is no more due to his specific actions.

    He always wanted the Republicans to be more scared of the sequester than he was and to cave in on taxes in order to prevent it. To his surprise, this has not happened.

    The scenario he also rejected a mere few months ago of broad based tax reform has risen phoenix-like from the grave. If you can’t call that goal post shifting, I don’t know what qualifies

    Obama rejected trading in tax reform for lower rates. Not even, it turns out, lowering the new higher rates.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  87. The sequester is about spending, but the thing it was the alternative to was not only about spending.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  88. Sammy – they already got the revenue for the alternative.

    JD (4f721c)

  89. Sammy needs to find other sources than the NYT to broaden his horizons; as it is, he has tunnel vision.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  90. The Sequester Revelation Obama has the legal power to avoid spending-cut damage. – Wall Street Journal editorial Wednesday February 27, 2013

    And when the Republicans opened the seventh seal of the sequester, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black and the stars fell unto the Earth; and our nation’s ability to forecast severe weather, such as drought events, hurricanes and tornados, was seriously undermined. Lo, and the children were not vaccinated, and all the beasts starved in the zoos, and the planes were grounded.

    Or so President Obama and his Cabinet prophets have been preaching ahead of the automatic budget cuts due to begin Friday. The bit about the weather is a real quote from the White House budget director.

    This goes into how fractal the sequester is. It applies to “Programs, projects and activities”, a technical category of the federal budget.

    There are also roughly 1,200 broader units known as budget accounts. Some accounts are small, but others contain hundreds of PPAs and the larger accounts run to billions of dollars. For the Pentagon in particular, the distinction between PPAs and accounts is huge. This means in most cases the President has the room to protect his “investments” while managing the fiscal transition over time.

    Now the thing is Congress wrote a sloppy law at the 11th hour. The Budget Control Act of 2011 disinterred the lapsed sequester rules of the Gramm-Rudman Deficit Control Act of 1985, though without anyone looking at the details.

    Gramm-Rudman said the sequester applies to accounts, not PPAs, under a temporary “part-year” budget. As it happens the government is operating under just such a continuing resolution now, not a normal appropriations bill!

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  91. Did you read that idiocy, Sammy?!

    JD (b63a52)

  92. Ezra Klein doesn’t number the ideas so it’s hard to read plus also Ezra Klein can sequester a cantaloupe in his fascist butt for all I care

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  93. Any proposal, that begins with a carbon tax, just goes ‘turtles all the way down’

    narciso (3fec35)

  94. “How would tax reform raise revenue?”

    Sammy – Why don’t you tell me since that is what Obama is yammering on about now.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  95. “I suspect because they felt they could not break the promise not to raise taxes on the middle class, unless they let the tax increases for the highest income brackets go through, or because they felt they could not cut entitlements unless they did that first.”

    Sammy – What promise not to raise taxes on the middle class? Remember that Obama campaigned on promising to get rid of all the Bush tax cuts. Obama’s promises all come with expiration dates.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  96. My above comments on Obama and taxes on the middle class were incorrect. I apologize. While Obama and Democrats spent years bashing Bush and his tax cuts and deficits, including the frequently heard refrain of putting two wars on a credit card and that the tax cuts only impacted the rich, once Obama began running for president he stuck to class warfare platform of ending the tax cuts for some amorphous level of the wealthy. He also had tax reform ideas for “fairness” of raising capital gains tax rates, ending various deductions and loopholes.

    By making the Bush tax cuts permanent for 985+ of Americans, Democrats have effectively acknowledged that their tax cuts for the rich demagoguery was pure empty rhetoric.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  97. Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 2/28/2013 @ 5:24 pm

    Sammy – What promise not to raise taxes on the middle class? Remember that Obama campaigned on promising to get rid of all the Bush tax cuts.

    No, he didn’t. Just the taxes on those reporting income over $250,000.

    Obama’s promises all come with expiration dates.

    Obama complained (or claimed) today that he couldn’t cut entitlements until he’d extracted the maximum amount of taxes (he called it closing tax loopholes.)

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=88789DB9-AAEC-C275-75032B60413AA517

    (Print gives you this on one page)

    But what I can’t do is ask middle-class families, ask seniors, ask students to bear the entire burden of deficit reduction when we know we’ve got a bunch of tax loopholes that are benefiting the well-off and the well-connected, aren’t contributing to growth, aren’t contributing to our economy. It’s not fair. It’s not right. The American people don’t think it’s fair and don’t think it’s right.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  98. About Woodward – I think what might have happened is that, back in 2011, Gene Sperling and/or a few others, lied to Barack Obama about who first prioposed the sequester – maybe they told the republicans to suggest that.

    I think maybe they lied because they wanted to have a deal about the debt ceiling, so that told the Republicans this was Obama’s proposal and Obama this was the Republicans’s proposal.

    This would explain Sperling going crazy about a trivial matter: He was afraid Obama might discover the lie.

    Obama did not read the book so he wouldn’t know but if woodward started to write about it and all Washington was talking about it….

    If Obama even got the book maybe he just checked the index for one or two things.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  99. Hello There,
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    I came across your blog and was wondering if you would be interested in allowing me to write relevant & useful topics on your blog at no cost.
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    Melisa Ramsey (b8d5f8)

  100. Melisa–No thanks. But try over at Popehat ehy don’t you?

    elissa (1d03e3)

  101. Woodward should know how to deal with Chicago Democrats. His father was the chief judge of solidly Republican DuPage County and after one of the most conservative justices in the Illinois appellate court.

    (For criminal lawyers, he rejected the Bazelon standard for intent in burglary cases in Illinois and established the permissible inference standard.)

    nk (53646e)


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