Did you see Chris Matthews on his MSNBC program interviewing Bob Woodward? Matthews' desperate need to use Woodward and his new book, Plan of Attack, to screw the President and his Administration is laughable. But Woodward, who helped to expose Nixon's corruption and drive him from office, is clever enough to stay one step ahead of such uses.
Of course, Woodward has his own agenda, which is to maintain his access to the leaders of both parties. That is his chief object since it is what makes him a journalistic superstar. Without that sort of access, he's not a fraction as important these days, although he has to be considered one of the most significant journalists this country has ever produced by virtue of the Watergate story alone.
But the best thing about Woodward is that, regardless of what his true political feelings are (and he's been called both a Republican and a Democrat), his work effectively puts the lie to the liberal charge that this Administration is secretive and unresponsive to the people and that we are on the verge of collapse because of those very qualities. After all, what irony could be more complete than the embrace of Nixon's old nemesis by another Republican President in the midst of a yet another enormously controversial moment in History? Plan of Attack is even prominently advertised on Bush's campaign website. Can it really be claimed that this President is something other than completely candid with respect to his thinking on the choices leading to the war for Iraq?
It neither bothers nor encourages me that Woodward may think of the President either disparagingly or glowingly in this new book. The fact is that, in an open and democratic society such as ours, a journalist is at liberty to pointedly and publicly question the President and his people on the most highly-charged questions of the day. Let the Matthewses of this political culture make what use of that book they will. The only thing that matters is that they can.