Woodward's right: This White House is too combative

Congress is another of the usual suspects, and deservedly so. Republican lawmakers absolved themselves of any obligation to seek compromise and instead cited Woodward in news conferences, TV appearances and on the House floor to shift all responsibility to Obama. “Listen, it is the president’s sequester,” House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday when asked about Woodward. Rather than negotiating a deal to replace the spending cuts, Boehner has been coarse and vulgar this week, telling senators to “get off their ass” and declaring that taxes are an attempt to “steal from the American people.”

And yet Woodward is correct to single out the Obama White House for its excessive pugnacity. His exchange with Sperling may be a poor example of it, but there’s little argument that 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has become a frat house for the thin-skinned and the foul-mouthed. …

This isn’t just a language issue (although it’s amusing to think of Obama aides’ ­obscenity-laced e-mails going to the National Archives). It is a symptom of a White House in perpetual combat — with the media, with Republicans in Congress, with everybody — and dedicated to incremental point-scoring, without a view of the real goal.

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