Ok, so it’s been obvious for years that Bob Woodward of Watergate fame is nothing but a toady bootlicker of a Versailles Villager but I need a title and talk about jumping the shark!
(h/t Atlantic Wire)
Bob Woodward embodies US political culture in a single outburst
Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian
Thursday 28 February 2013 07.57 EST
How ironic that this comes from the reporter endlessly heralded for having brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency on the ground that Nixon believed himself above the law. Nixon’s hallmark proclamation – “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal” – is also apparently Bob Woodward’s.
All of this, of course, is pure pretense. Is it even remotely plausible that Obama is refraining from engaging in military action he believes is necessary out of some sort of quaint deference to the law? Please. This is a president who continued to wage war, in Libya, not merely without Congressional authorization, but even after Congress expressly voted against its authorization. This is a president who has repeatedly argued that he has the right to kill anyone he wants, anywhere in the world, not only due to Congressional authorization but also his own Commander-in-Chief powers. If Obama really wanted to deploy that second aircraft carrier, he would do so, knowing that journalists like Bob Woodward and members of both parties would cheer him. This is just a flamboyant political stunt designed to dramatize how those Big, Bad Republicans are leaving us all exposed and vulnerable with sequestration cuts.
But whatever Obama’s motives might be, the fact is that what we call “law” really does require some cuts in military spending. To refuse to do so would be to assert powers not even most monarchs have: to break the law at will. Woodward is right about one point: not only would prior presidents have been willing to do this, this is exactly what they did. Indeed, George Bush’s entire presidency was explicitly predicated on the theory that the president has the power to break the law at will whenever he deems that doing so promotes national security. That America’s most celebrated journalist not only supports this, but demands that all presidents follow this model of lawlessness, is telling indeed.
Bob Woodward, with one rant, expressing the core values of America’s media class. The president is not constrained by law (contemptuously referred to as “this piece of paper”). He not only has the right but the duty to do anything – even if the law prohibits it – to project military force whenever he wants (even though the Constitution mandates as his prime duty not to Keep Us Safe but rather that he “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” and thus must swear as his oath “to the best of [his] ability [to] preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”). The US must act as empire, dominating the world with superior military force if it wants to stay safe. Any reduction in military spending and deployment will endanger us all.
It’s to be expected that these authoritarian and militaristic values shape political leaders and their followers. That these values also shape the “watchdog” media class, as embodied by one of their “legends”, explains much about US political culture generally.
Bob Woodward fulfills an important function. Just as Tim Russert was long held up as the scary bulldog questioner who proved the existence of an adversarial TV press while the reality was that, as Harper’s Lewis Lapham famously put it, he maintained “the on-air persona of an attentive and accommodating headwaiter”, the decades-old Woodward lore plays a critical role in maintaining the fiction of a watchdog press corps even though he is one of the most faithful servants of the war machine and the national security and surveillance states.