Hopefully, it was just advancing age that put Bob Woodward, an icon of investigative journalism, on the shelf for so long.
Hopefully, the guy who, with partner Carl Bernstein, unraveled the corruption and deceit that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon wasn't blinded by the light of easy access and cozying up with the Bush administration to an extent that it clouded his objectivity.
In 1972, Woodward was a lean and hungry scrapper when his editor, Ben Bradlee, teamed him with Bernstein to look into what was thought of initially as a botched burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.
We all know where that went.
Nixon got caught with his pants around his ankles in the "dirty tricks" scandal, the two reporters merged into one as even Bradlee referred to them as Woodstein and a book and subsequent movie - "All The President's Men" - followed.
Woodward and Bernstein were like rock stars for awhile, before fading rapidly.
But I guess if Robert Redford portrayed me in a film about my life it would change me, too.
Woodward got fat and lazy. He did the media circuit. He was hailed as a national hero of sorts, became assistant managing editor at the Washington Post and basked in the afterglow. Some say he sold out.
A dozen books followed, including "Wired," a real turkey that was so naive and distorted it was nothing more than a comic book without pictures. The tome on the late comedian John Belushi exposed Woodward for being the face behind the Watergate investigation while Bernstein was the guy with the street smarts who was able to put it all together.
More books followed, including two on Bush where Woodward lobbed softball questions to the president about the war in Iraq. The plan worked and Woodward was granted more access to this White House than any other reporter. They got thick.
Somewhere along the way, Woodward awoke from his somnambulism and discovered his emperor unclothed.
"It is the oldest story in the coverage of government: the failure to tell the truth," Woodward told "60 Minutes" reporter Mike Wallace while doing promotion for his latest book on Bush.
Woodward, you got scooped.
We all knew of the failures when more troops were sent into Iraq than Afghanistan in retaliation for the Sept. 11 attacks; when we couldn't find Saddam Hussein's WMDs; and when Persian Gulf War II switched from fighting terror to "liberating" the Iraqis from tyranny.
It's about time Woodward figured that out.
Now it's time for him to roll up his sleeves and get his head back in the business of reporting again.
This time, hopefully, he'll put his Pulitzers back into storage and remember that it's not a good idea to become buddies with the guy he's reporting on.
Copyright ©2006 The Spectrum.