There are weeks, such as during the presidential inauguration, when Washington shines as the crown jewel of American democracy. And then there’s this past week.
Over the past seven days, Washington — the politicians as well as the journalists who cover them — lived up to every negative stereotype Americans have about it, and then some.
With $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts looming, Washington did what it does best: It played politics.
Here were congressional Republicans accusing President Obama of trying to walk away from an idea — the sequester — that, they insisted, was his in the first place. There was Obama, who appeared at a series of public events designed to highlight the dire consequences of the cuts.
As the clock ticked down, the fight that dominated coverage in the nation’s capital wasn’t even between Democrats and Republicans. It was between Bob Woodward and the White House over the meaning of the word “regret.” Woodward said White House economic adviser Gene Sperling had tried to bully him via e-mail, while Sperling insisted he had done nothing of the sort.
And, just when you thought things couldn’t get more petty, David Plouffe, a former top aide to Obama, tweeted this swing and a miss: “Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.”
The week ended as it began, with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Obama trading sound bites rather than actual proposals.
Washington, for somehow underperforming the public’s bottom-of-the-barrel expectations, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Can’t remember who had the worst week in Washington last week?