Shame on Sean

Well, and shame on me for allowing myself to be even a tiny bit surprised!

Sean Hannity led into his interview with Bob Woodward tonight by quoting only in part from the email where Gene Sperling says Woodward will regret saying Obama moved the goalposts on the sequester by asking for revenues.  Sean ended his quote with the “regret” part and completely ignored the lengthy and wonky factual explanation of why Woodward would regret it (which I quoted in a post earlier today).  That explanation shows that Sperling meant Woodward would be embarrassed by his position, not that the White House would come after him.

As Woodward has become more and more anti-Obama, Sean has had him on his show more often.  I think he let his liking for Woodward override the best way to handle this situation, which is to let it die ASAP.  Sean isn’t helping the conservative cause here.  He should have followed the lead of fellow conservatives who quickly backed away from the story today when the emails were released.

With Friends Like These…

In trying to show the absurdity of claiming that White House economic adviser Gene Sperling threatened Bob Woodward, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo notes that Sperling is “as diminutive as he is nerdy.”

And Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine calls Sperling “a diminutive but feisty policy wonk.”


How short is this poor guy exactly?  Are we talking Robert Reich, are we talking “follow the yellow brick road”?

Woodward Losing Conservative Sympathy — Fast

The right is running from the “White House threatened Bob Woodward” meme now that the actual emails have been released, and Gene Sperling doesn’t sound anything like Tony Soprano.

RedState’s Erick Erickson says, “I must now move to the ‘not a threat’ camp.”

The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis says, “Looks like we were played.”

Woodward will be on Hannity tonight — we’ll see how Sean spins it.

There’s really nothing here, and I hope it evaporates quickly.  It’s sad to see Woodward end up like this.

Woodward Threatened? Give Me a Break.

I believe that way too much is being made of White House economics adviser Gene Sperling’s comment to Bob Woodward that he would “regret” taking the position that the White House was moving the goal posts by asking for tax increases to resolve the sequester.  Some in the media are taking it as a threat to Woodward either personally or professionally or both.

When you read the Sperling-Woodward emails*, it is obvious that Sperling believes Woodward would be embarrassed on the merits and historical accuracy of his claim, not that he’d better check under his car before starting it.

Here’s Sperling:

“But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying that Potus 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.  The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bargain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start.  It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start.  Really.  It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after:  it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations.  There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial.  (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA [the Budget Control Act]:  the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)”

This isn’t threatening, it’s wonky!

* “Exclusive:  The Woodward, Sperling emails revealed,” Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Politico




Solving the Sequester? We Just Had an Election About That.

From Ezra Klein at Wonk Blog, WaPo:

I don’t agree with my colleague Bob Woodward, who says the Obama administration is ‘moving the goalposts’ when they insist on a sequester replacement that includes revenue.

“Think back to July 2011. The problem was simple. Republicans wouldn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. Democrats wouldn’t agree to trillions of dollars in deficit reduction if it didn’t include significant tax increases. Republicans wouldn’t agree to significant tax increases. The political system was at an impasse, and in a few short days, that impasse would create a global financial crisis.

“The sequester was a punt. The point was to give both sides a face-saving way to raise the debt ceiling even though the tax issue was stopping them from agreeing to a deficit deal. The hope was that sometime between the day the sequester was signed into law (Aug. 2, 2011) and the day it was set to go into effect (Jan. 1, 2013), something would…change.

“There were two candidates to drive that change. The first and least likely was the supercommittee. If they came to a deal that both sides accepted, they could replace the sequester. They failed.

“The second was the 2012 election. If Republicans won, then that would pretty much settle it: No tax increases. If President Obama won, then that, too, would pretty much settle it: The American people would’ve voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

The American people voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

“In fact, they went even further than that. They also voted for a Senate that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes. And then they voted for a House that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes, though due to the quirks of congressional districts, they didn’t get one.”  Emphasis added.