Bob Woodward: Analyzing the Gridlock in Washington
At the 20th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference on Oct. 25, Pulitzer Prize-winner and editor of The Washington Post Bob Woodward discussed the current situation in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Woodward has years of experience researching, observing and reporting on Washington, D.C., and its leaders. He has written two books on President Barak Obama and has intimate knowledge of the country's current leadership.
The constant struggle in Washington, D.C., is often due to an inability to focus on strategic thinking. "Grand strategy is the discipline of setting goals and asking what is the most effective way to achieve these goals," said Mr. Woodward. The White House has long approached leadership as crisis management, addressing only the immediate issue without laying in place a coherent, long-term plan.
President Obama has both strengths and weaknesses, both of which Mr. Woodward has had the opportunity to observe through his interviews with the president and knowledge of politics. Mr. Woodward likened President Obama to the CEO of the U.S., a position charged with the management of an entire nation. Mr. Woodward observed that President Obama, despite his many strengths, has not found a way to interact with either his political allies or opponents in a way that builds meaningful relationships. "Negotiations are a part of life," said Mr. Woodward. "You discover the person across the table is your best friend. An adversary, but you can get what you want from them and vice a versa."
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act did not receive a single Republican vote. "This should have set off an alarm bell. It set the stage for an adversarial relationship," he said. Mr. Woodward pointed out that the Stimulus Package made a great deal of sense, but again received no Republican support.
Mr. Woodward spoke of meeting with President Obama, President Bush, Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger, sharing their words of wisdom. In all of his years of experience, Mr. Woodward chose to close with a quote from a man working in the CIA. "It is a truly dangerous world, a world of uncertainty."
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