Marc Ambinder, in the Atlantic, imagines (parodies) “Being Bob Woodward“:
… Ambinder recalled how Woodward, as he promoted his final book on the Bush administration, predicted on television that Dick Cheney might run for president in 2008, something that Ambinder knew the former vice president had never even contemplated. And here again, having just released his latest tome, Obama’s Wars, Woodward did it again. “Damn it,” Ambinder said, pounding the table.
Woodward had told a CNN interviewer that Barack Obama might replace Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton as his running mate in 2012. It was “on the table,” Woodward had said…
“I can’t believe Woodward would say something like that,” Ambinder told his editor, Bob Cohn, over coffee in Cohn’s Watergate office the next day. “It suggests that he knows next to nothing about the president’s actual relationship with his vice president and secretary of state … or that he has done no reporting on the question at all. Which is absurd, because Woodward is a reporter’s reporter.”
Then again, Ambinder thought privately, one of the senior policy makers who played a starring role in Woodward’s latest book had characterized its conclusions as “60 percent right, 40 percent completely wrong.” And that was from a policy maker who came across favorably in the book…
Which reminded me about the failed predictions touted by another journopolitical macher, Michael Wolff, discussing Woodward’s last book in the December 2006 Vanity Fair:
Bush fires Cheney and names McCain as the replacement V.P.—although it is not yet entirely clear to me who tells Bush to fire Cheney, if not Cheney. The war in Iraq, except for the shooting, is so over. But between now and when, as the president has no doubt accurately described it, we “cut and run,” when there’s a final helicopter lifting from a Green Zone rooftop, there’s a whole third act to play…
Bob Woodward, the nation’s most famous journalist—a wooden and sanctimonious television presence, as well as an author of books and a reporter for The Washington Post—is a reasonable equivalent of Cronkite. If he’s going in another direction, the world has changed. He’s the power barometer. And broker. If he’s no longer sucking up to you, you better get out of town in a hurry.
You’ve lost if you’ve lost Woodward.
Wolff’s “Survivor: The White House Edition” is a fascinating read, in retrospect. Just four years ago, and already those anecdotes seem as distant as Woodward’s earlier overwritten tales of a drunken, desperate Richard Nixon.
But if anybody spots Henry Kissinger being smuggled into Obama’s White House…