America’s Ongoing Humiliation on the World Stage

Putin-winkEarly Wednesday morning, reports began streaming in that Russia had begun launching air-strikes in Syria, just minutes after demanding that U.S. planes immediately leave Syrian airspace. In what has become an unmistakable pattern over the years in the midst of significant acts of international aggression, the White House was caught totally unaware and unprepared for the situation.

Struggling to catch up with the escalation of events, Secretary of State John Kerry tepidly voiced that he wouldn’t object to the Russian airstrikes as long at they targeted ISIS forces (Russia’s stated intent), but said that strikes beyond that, intended to strengthen the hand of Syrian President Bashar Assad (in defiance of U.S. policy on Syria), would be “worrisome.”

Hours later, it was confirmed by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and several news reports that the Russian strikes were, in fact, not targeting ISIS forces (despite Russia’s claims), but rather pro-Western, pro-United-States rebel groups that pose a threat to the Assad government. One of the strikes even took out a top officer who America had been supporting.

What makes this incident even more humiliating is that Russian president Vladimir Putin met personally with President Obama just this week, and apparently saw no point in divulging his plans. According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, the leaders’ discussion had revolved around “political transition” inside Syria.

In other words, our country has become so weak, and our interests have become so meaningless in the era of Obama, that embarrassing the United States on the world stage is now an international sport.

One can hardly blame Putin for treating us like a chump. He watched our country forfeit a long, hard-fought victory in Iraq just so our president could fulfill a bumper-sticker campaign promise and project national humility as if it were a virtue. He watched us sit back and do nothing while ISIS conquered city after city in Iraq, filling the vacuum we created there with our needless withdrawal. He watched us negotiate a deal with Iran that gave them everything and us nothing (other than a bullet point on a presidential legacy).

It’s not hard to imagine how ecstatic Putin was over President Obama’s over-willingness to end our missile defense system in Poland in 2009, in exchange for absolutely nothing. And God only knows what Obama delivered to the Russians behind closed doors after the 2012 election, once he had the proper “flexibility.”

Still, I’m guessing it was our president’s mopish, politically-expedient retreat from the “red line” he laid down for the Assad regime a while back that finally convinced Putin he could work any strategy he wanted with Syria and Iran without consequence. After watching John Kerry’s pathetic joint statement with Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov that capped off the day, it appears he was right. We’ve been reduced to writing off our country’s disgrace as a simple, logistical road-bump in order to try and save some face (which no one’s buying).

Breaking: Presidential candidate Donald Trump endorses John A. Daly's new novel.

Breaking: Presidential candidate Donald Trump endorses John A. Daly’s new novel.

It was clear even before Barack Obama was sworn into office, of course, that he wanted his presidency to be defined by domestic policies, and not our country’s dominance on the world stage. Long ashamed of the perception of American imperialism, the president has favored a naive “lead from behind” approach to foreign policy that has often guided him away from the advice of his military advisers. He believed an America less involved in international affairs would earn us the respect of the global community. Instead it has made us incredibly weak in the eyes of not only our enemies, but also our allies.

Some countries may like us more than they did during Bush’s tenure, but none of them respect us as much. I don’t think any intellectually honest person would disagree.

Whoever the next president is will inherit a world far more dangerous than the one President Obama inherited, and the absence of American leadership in foreign affairs is the primary reason for that. Voters might want to consider this when evaluating presidential candidates in this election season.




Too Much News, Too Little Time

I often feel like one of those lumberjacks we used to see in the newsreels, trying to knock a competing lumberjack off a spinning log. The foolishness comes at us so rapidly that trying to stay on top of it all before we wind up in the drink is too much for one man.

That’s why when the opportunity presents itself, I like to delegate responsibility. So it’s with a sense of gratitude, I acknowledge that when Melanie Campbell, one of the many pinheads who was invited to speak at the Martin Luther King anniversary shindig, compared the Supreme Court to the Ku Klux Klan, comedy writer Argus Hamilton pointed out how wrong she was: “The Klan are a bunch of guys in white sheets that scare the hell out of black people, while the Court’s a bunch of guys in black sheets that scare the hell out of white people.”

I would like to give a shout-out to the folks in Colorado Springs who successfully recalled two liberal legislators who helped pass gun-control legislation. There’s nothing like a successful recall to remind politicians that they only think they live in a money-lined cocoon.

Speaking of elections, I regret that Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer both lost their attempts to climb back aboard the political gravy train. The voters in New York City, the same nudnicks who elected Michael Bloomberg three times, deserve to be embarrassed as often as possible, and what could be more embarrassing than to be represented by a whoremonger and a serial exhibitionist?

Well, I suppose being represented on the world’s stage by Barack Obama and Joe Biden comes close. These mooks can barely run a bath, let alone a country.

Imagine being in the Oval Office this long and having to boast of ObamaCare as your greatest accomplishment. Early on, when Nancy Pelosi was still telling us Congress would have to pass the Affordable Care Act before we’d know what was in it, a lot of us were already concerned about the federal government grabbing control of one-sixth of the economy. But now that everyone has a pretty good idea that it was conceived in a spooky backroom and passed in a toxic dump; when the Catholic Church, the labor unions and every major company from UPS and IBM to Xerox and Delta, are opposed to it; Obama, Pelosi and Reid, are still trying to tell us that this crapburger tastes like fried chicken.

This is a health care plan that is in desperate need of a health care plan of its own. Preferably, one that contains death panels.

Moving on, the Navy reports that sexual assaults in the ranks numbered 1,800 so far in 2013. Whatever happened to the notion of swabbing decks and peeling potatoes to keep the troops occupied?

A left-wing Italian newspaper publisher conducted an interview with Pope Francis. Apparently His Holiness didn’t actually claim that atheists could get into Heaven, as the story was headlined in the socialist press. But that’s why when I first heard about it, I recall wondering if St. Peter was shaking his head and muttering, “Well, there goes the neighborhood.”

Having now read the interview, with all of his papal parsing, I can see where it might have lent itself to such an interpretation; especially if you were looking to sell newspapers. If I had the Pontiff’s ear, I would advise him to quit yakking on his cell phone and doing one-on-ones with left-wing journalists. If he has too much time on his hands, I suggest he start swabbing the floors of the Vatican and peeling a few potatoes.

Possibly the biggest surprise of the year was watching John Kerry morph from the sort of self-righteous dove who was so outraged by the war in Vietnam that he tossed other people’s medals over the fence at the Pentagon into a liberal’s version of a hawk. That would be the sort of hawk who would demand a military attack consisting of teensy-weensy pinpricks that would let Bashar Assad, along with the mullahs in Iran and the nutty dwarf in North Korea, know that America doesn’t just stand around twiddling its thumbs when women and children are being gassed to death.

And, finally, in case you’re still brokenhearted because Ron Paul isn’t President Paul, you will be relieved to know he hasn’t gone gently into the night.
Instead, he was the keynote speaker at the Fatima Center earlier this month. In case you’ve never heard of the Center, some people claim it’s anti-Semitic just because it’s headed up by Father Nicholas Gruner. But, then, some people will leap to conclusions on nothing more than his having published articles claiming that Jews are trying to undermine the Catholic Church on behalf of Satan and that wealthy Jews are guilty of financially raping Russia, a nation for which Gruner feels a great empathy. Perhaps it’s based on their mutual hatred of Jews.

And then, of course, there’s the business about Gruner’s denial of the Holocaust. “A question that nobody has been able to answer for me is: how can you have six million Jews die, and have 13 million left, when you had 13 million to start with? I think it’s impossible. But you know I’m open-minded. I’ll listen to somebody who can prove it otherwise.”

Clearly he’s so open-minded, his brains fell out somewhere along the way.

As for Ron Paul, when asked for his opinion, he said the reports were disturbing, but added that he hadn’t read them. That, come to think of it, is exactly what he said when he came under fire during the 2008 presidential primaries, and was accused of regularly publishing anti-Semitic articles in his own newsletter!

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




Cookies, Kooks and Calamities

Even being incarcerated isn’t enough to make some hardened cases walk the straight and narrow. O.J. Simpson, who, among his other sins helped make household names out of creeps like Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro, was recently busted by prison guards while trying to smuggle a dozen oatmeal cookies from the mess hall back to his cell.

In related news, Nabisco is negotiating with Simpson’s representatives to make him their corporate spokesman. And, if he gets paroled, “Sesame Street” is considering making him their Cookie Monster. After all, nobody answers the job description better.

The new Iranian president, Hassan Rhumani, gives new meaning to diplomacy every time he opens his pie hole. Without even winking or giggling, he actually said, “Iran is a country that loves culture and peace.” He also said, “We have never pursued a nuclear weapon.”

What gets me about mooks like Rhumani and Bashar al-Assad is that they spend half their time denying they have or are attempting to produce weapons of mass destruction and the other half offering to come to the negotiating table to discuss disposing of them.

One would wish that the United States was in a position to tell these people to stop lying, but when you have a president and secretary of state who can match them lie for lie and then some, the old adage about people living in glass houses invariably springs to mind.

Every time some nutcake runs amok and starts shooting up a mall, a school or a military installation, the usual gang of hypocrites can be counted on to start declaring war on the Second Amendment. What they can’t be counted on to do is recognize the real problem with gun violence. If they did, they would first have to recognize that the occasional crazies like Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza and Aaron Alexis, get the headlines, but they only account for a small fraction of the innocent victims. But if you think for half a second, that the liberals will ever send the National Guard into the hood to separate the black and Latino gangbangers from their artillery, you’re clearly non compos mentis.

Furthermore, if you think the ACLU is going to idly stand by and let the folks who use the sidewalks as their bedrooms and toilets be institutionalized against what passes for their free will, you simply haven’t been paying attention for the past several decades.

Unfortunately, because politicians and celebrities spend their lives being protected by men with guns, they can afford to be oblivious to the dangers faced by the rest of us. Still, every time you see Dianne Feinstein bloviating about how awful guns are, keep in mind that a while back, she was found to have a license to carry a concealed gun, and carry one she did. She claimed she had been threatened by a group of terrorists and was therefore justified to be a pistol-packing mama. After 9/11, Aurora, Newtown, Boston and the Navy Yard, not to mention all the teenage punks packing heaters, she has a fat lot of nerve pretending that we’re in any less danger than she ever was. The only difference, as I see it, is that she has scores of armed guards protecting her work environment.

Because I receive so much email from readers, I am often in the right place to notice certain trends. For instance, the most obvious mistakes I used to find in these communications were those that confused “to, too and two” and “their, there and they’re.” Of late, hardly a day goes by when someone isn’t confusing “loose” with “lose.”

When these errors appear in messages taking me to task, I merely nod and think, “Well, of course. No wonder they disagree with my analysis.” But when I find them lurking in email intended to give me a well-deserved pat on the back, it merely makes me sigh.

I was recently sent some amendments to Murphy’s Law. Among my favorites were: “Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.” “A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.” “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.” “Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.” “A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.” “It is said that if you line up all the cars in the world end-to-end, someone from California would be stupid enough to try to pass them.”

Finally, I’ve been seeing way too much of Henry Waxman on my TV recently as he’s split his time between railing against the Second Amendment and demeaning Republicans for trying to defund ObamaCare. The thought that has occurred to me is that he looks like the love child that would have resulted from the mating of two baseball mascots, possibly San Diego’s Chicken and Milwaukee’s Sausage.

Burt has two personal appearances!

On Thursday, Oct. 17th, at 12:30, he will be addressing the Palm Springs Republican Women Confederated, at 7 Lakes Country Club, 1 Desert Lakes Drive.

On Saturday, Oct. 19th, Burt be speaking to the Mountain View Republican Club at the Calaycay Ranch, , 1555 W. Baseline Road in Claremont, sometime between noon and 4 p.m.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




“Life In These United States” and “A Disaster of Biblical Proportions”

Barack Obama says more dumb things in a day than some people say in a lifetime. For instance, regarding the shutdown, he said: “The House Republicans are holding the government hostage.” I know that Obama isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and that he has only a passing relationship with the Constitution, but someone should tell him that the House is a part of the government, no matter how he feels about it. So, were we to take him at his word — always a bad idea! — the House Republicans would be guilty of holding themselves hostage.

One always hears that the president, whoever he may be, commands the bully pulpit, but only under Obama has it been changed into something that could better be called the bully’s pulpit.

I, for one, am getting sick and tired of hearing Obama constantly going on about the needy. In Obama’s case, he is forever referring to them when he’s pushing the Affordable Care Act. For three years, he’s been telling us one whopper after another about this god-awful piece of legislation cobbled together by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (think Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant, Igor).

He told us that if we liked our doctor and our health insurance, we could hang on to both. He also told us that ObamaCare would not only insure an additional 30 million people, but it would save the average family $2,500. Not even Bernie Madoff would have ever expected anyone to swallow a lie that big. But, as they proved last November, most American voters have very large gullets and no more brains than a herd of sheep.

It is true that the cost of health care will go down for some because of government subsidies. But those subsidies don’t come out of Obama’s pocket, they come out of yours if you pay taxes. So not only will you be paying more for your own health care, but you will be paying for millions of people who will show their appreciation for your generosity by continuing to elect Democrats who will continue to bribe them with your money. What a deal!

The sorry truth of the matter is that most of the neediest people in America are actually the greediest. Just the other day, I was standing in line with my wife at a fast food joint. The two guys in front of us, both of whom wore their pants below their butts, kept comparing wads of twenty dollar bills. I could only assume they made the money mowing lawns. However, when they bought their burgers, they used one of their food stamp credit cards.

The next day, I was at the drug store buying batteries. Again, I had a young fool ahead of me using one of those cards to pay for his purchases. The sad fact, though, is that he had a bigger fool standing behind him than I had standing in front of me. After all, I had helped pay his tab, he hadn’t paid mine.

Obama is now trying to pressure the Supreme Court to put a limit on what people can contribute to political candidates. He spoke of the democratic ideal being tainted by wealthy radical elements. Funny how that didn’t seem to bother him when he still had elections to win. Can we all say George Soros? You can’t get much wealthier or more radical than that old Hungarian commie who learned all about the redistribution of wealth when he helped the Nazis confiscate Jewish property in Budapest.

I have to fess up to a mistake I’ve made more than once. For the past year, I’ve been ruing the fact that Mitt Romney received fewer votes in 2012 than John McCain did in 2008. I must have seen numbers prior to the final tabulation. In any case, I don’t like to spread a falsehood if I can help it. While it’s true that Obama’s own numbers dropped about 3.5 million between 2008 and 2012, Romney did garner roughly a million more votes than McCain.

That reminds me, people, especially Republicans, keep wringing their hands and telling us that we might as well disband as a party because young people, single women, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Asians and the mass media, all despise the GOP. And although I am not well-suited to play Pollyanna, the fact remains that Obama did lose those 3.5 million votes in his second election, something no two-termer had ever done in the past. In addition, whereas in 2009, the Democrats had super majorities in the House and the Senate, four years later they have five fewer Senate seats, have lost control of the House, and, what’s more, the lion’s share of governors are now Republicans. If anyone should be hitting the panic button, it’s the Democrats. And whether or not, they ever get the glitches out of those damn computers, ObamaCare is shaping up to be the disaster the Republicans all said it would be when Obama jammed it through Congress without a single Republican vote.

In case you hadn’t heard, Carrick High School in Pittsburgh decided to have a Trayvon Martin theme day as part of school spirit week. Some parents were upset when they got the news that their kids were being encouraged to wear hoodies on Trayvon Martin Wednesday. I’m assuming they will be even angrier when they hear the kids will be encouraged to sell drugs and steal from each other’s lockers on Trayvon Martin Thursday and Friday.

In other news, future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, who played his entire 20-year career for the Atlanta Braves, was invited to toss out the first ball of the National League Division Series. But because he had committed the mortal sin of predicting that the L.A. Dodgers would take the best of five game series in four games, none of the Atlanta players, including his former teammates, would volunteer to catch the pitch. As a result, Jones was forced to pitch to the team’s mascot, a cartoonish character with a humongous head shaped like a baseball. The kicker is that the Dodgers won the series in four games. Perhaps Atlanta should have had the mascot suit up in place of one of their overpaid punks.

Finally, wrapping up the news of the day, a prosecutor in Houston filed aggravated rape charges against a 10-year-old girl who had been spotted by a neighbor touching a four-year-old boy in what they’re referring to as “his private area.” In other words, it’s now a felony to play doctor.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that the charge should have been practicing medicine without a license.

A Disaster of Biblical Proportions

Over the past couple of years, I made a couple of prophecies. The first was that in spite of Obama’s threats, Bashar al-Assad would remain in power longer than Obama would. The second was that although America could probably survive another four years of Obama, I doubted if the nation could survive an electorate that would re-elect him. Nothing I’ve seen in the intervening months since last November has caused me to change my mind.

Apparently, according to polls, even if the Republican House agrees to fund everything but ObamaCare and Obama then shuts down the government in a fit of pique, the majority of voters will hold the Republicans responsible if their Social Security checks are a week late. I mean, just how dumb are we as a nation?

Everyone, including the Catholic Church, labor unions and business owners and their employees, hate ObamaCare, but the voters are ready to punish the GOP in the 2014 elections if they try to kill the damn thing.

I used to just suspect that people got the leaders they deserve. Now I know it for a fact.

Even the United Nations, which helped Al Gore create the hoax known as global warming, has finally come around to admitting that the earth is not heating up. But that’s not going to change anything at this late date. For liberal politicians, there’s simply too much money and power up for grabs by maintaining the farce. For corrupt scientists, there are simply too many grants and department chairmanships up for grabs by pretending that anything other than the sun determines temperatures on earth.

Hell, if the various hucksters could see a way to bamboozle the rest of us, they would dig up the Piltdown Man and once again display him as the Missing Link. He, too, it should be remembered was “settled science” for about 40 years.

One thing you have to say about Pope Francis is that he knows how to grab headlines. In his latest attempt to steal attention away from Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus, he announced that the Church should stop “obsessing about gay marriages, abortions and contraception.” Instead, he wants to focus on social issues. Funny but I thought those were social issues. But apparently His Holiness has a lot in common with Obama, otherwise known as His Schmoliness, and seems to think his divine mission is to oversee the redistribution of wealth.

The more I hear from Pope Francis, the more certain I am that I’ve stumbled across Hillary’s running mate in 2016.

Aaron Alexis, who murdered a dozen innocent people at the Navy Yard, claimed in the weeks before the massacre that he was hearing voices giving him orders. He was pretty sure the voices were coming out of his microwave. It made me wonder if that could help explain Obama’s bizarre behavior. But in his case, I suspect the voice he hears is that of George Soros, who merely looks like a microwave.

I find that I am already sorry that the mayor’s race in New York City didn’t go the way I was hoping. For 12 years, Michael Bloomberg provided the rest of the country with one laugh after another. I am convinced the laughs would never have stopped if only New Yorkers had seen their way clear to electing Anthony (“I’ll show you mine if you let me show you mine”) Weiner.

Instead, we have to rely on Obama to keep us chuckling. But the way the media protects this cluck, we’re not only being deprived of our laughs, but of a few straight answers. For instance, why is it that nobody has asked him why, if Assad’s use of poison gas on a thousand Syrians was a sin of biblical proportions, how it was that when George Bush attacked Saddam Hussein, who had used the same stuff to kill tens of thousands of Iranians and Iraqi Kurds, he deserved to be impeached and tried as a war criminal?

Question: What do Mel Gibson, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Kenneth Branagh, Richard Chamberlain, Ian McKellen, Kevin Kline, John Gielgud, John Barrymore, Edwin Booth and Barack Obama, have in common? Answer: They have all portrayed Hamlet. But none have equaled Obama’s mastery of the role. The others, after all, merely had to memorize the lines and repeat them for a few hours. But as we’ve all seen, with his talk about red lines and his threats about the inevitable consequences, followed by his calls for congressional support, followed by his plea for the United Nations to do something, anything or nothing, he has made the role his own. This schmuck doesn’t need to parrot Shakespeare’s lines; he is Hamlet.

For those who’d say he’s not a convincing Danish prince, not a manly and commanding presence like Gibson, Burton and Barrymore, I’d hasten to remind them that at times the role has been performed by the likes of Sarah Bernhardt and Judith Anderson.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




Obama Adopts ‘The Office Doctrine’ For Dealing With Syria

michaelscottMy wife and I were big fans of NBC’s The Office. Back before Steve Carell left the show (it became unwatchable after that), we never missed an episode. Even these days, after we put our kids to bed at night and can’t find much on television, it’s not uncommon for us to turn to our DVR for one of the old, syndicated episodes that we’ve probably already seen a dozen times.

Being pretty familiar with the writing style that made The Office successful, I sometimes notice newer sitcoms borrowing from the show’s winning, comedic formula. What I’ve noticed lately, however, is that it’s not just television writers who are trying to emulate the show.

Lately, we’ve been watching the Obama administration take a crack at it. Our leadership’s handling of the situation in Syria might as well be known as “The Office Doctrine” because as best I can tell, its channeling the show at every twist and turn.

There was a memorable episode of The Office in which it was revealed that Michael Scott, when he was younger, promised to pay for the college tuition of every student, in an inner-city class, that graduated from high school. Based on his pledge, the kids (realizing that they had been given an amazing gift by a generous man) worked hard, stayed in school, and earned their high school diplomas. The problem, of course, what that Michael had no means of paying for any of their college educations. The promise he had made years earlier was done in the heat of the moment, without him even considering whether or not he would actually be able to fulfill that promise. He enjoyed the notoriety and accolades he received for the gesture, but once the reality settled in of what he had committed himself to, his hope was that he’d somehow be miraculously bailed out of the predicament, and never actually have to make good on his promise.

That’s how I see the “red line” promise that President Obama made last year – the one in which he declared that the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict would result in military invention by the United States. Obama threw out that reckless warning in order to portray himself as a bold leader. He probably never even considered that the Syrian government might actually cross that red line and use chemical weapons against its people. Thus, he likely didn’t think he would ever have to make good on his promise of U.S. intervention.

But according to our own government’s intelligence, that’s exactly what the Assad regime did. It gassed his own people, and now our president has found himself in a position in which he either needs to make good on his promise and intervene in the conflict militarily, or somehow figure out a creative way of squirming himself out of the situation he created, while still preserving some semblance of dignity.

And just like with what we’d expect out of Michael Scott, Obama is now floundering around awkwardly and embarrassingly, trying to figure out a way to escape culpability for what he said. For months, he tossed aside reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, seemingly in conscious denial of the changing landscape there. But after the latest attack, and the State Department stating definitively that Assad had indeed used chemical weapons, it seemed denial was no longer an option. There was a clear sense from the White House that our military was about to take quick action in response. That’s when the momentum came to a screeching, unexpected halt with the president’s call for a delay and congressional hearings.

The president seems desperate to avoid having to make a definitive decision on such a serious, consequential issue, and it appears he’s now searching for an excuse for inaction. In other words, he’s looking for a Dwight Schrute to take the fall for his bad idea, and he’s hoping congress will play the part.

Who is tasked to play the part of secretary Pam Beesly, the person who has to formulate a way to rationalize Michael’s incoherent, indecisive behavior to upper management while he’s locked away in his office with the blinds shut (or in Obama’s case, out on a golf course)? Secretary of State John Kerry, of course!

I almost felt sorry for Kerry, as he sat out in front of the cameras over the weekend, trying to explain why the administration’s dramatic change in approach wasn’t a change at all, but was instead “consistent” with the polar-opposite messages coming out of the State Department only days earlier.

Right now, the American public is like CFO David Wallace, face twisted in confusion, trying to make sense out of what exactly is going on. And the people laughing aren’t part of the viewing audience at home, but rather the leaders of countries throughout the world who are witnessing how impotent we’ve become as a nation.

Maybe taking the decision to the legislative branch is ultimately the right one, but how we’ve gotten to this point is absolutely foolish and embarrassing.

I think we all know that the president’s decision had nothing to do with bolstering the importance of the U.S. Congress in key decision-making practices. It had nothing to do with strengthening our country, as John Kerry managed to tell Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday with a straight (and oddly wrinkle-free) face. After all, Obama has taken sharp executive actions on a variety of big issues including Libya, immigration, and gun control, all for the explicit purpose of side-stepping congress. When out on the campaign trail, the president never misses an opportunity to denounce congress for incompetency, right before proudly threatening unilateral actions on policies.

No, Obama decided to take his case to congress because he doesn’t want to take the fall for the ultimatum he carelessly laid out. If congress votes for the United States not to intervene in Syria, Obama will then be off the hook. That’s most certainly his preferred outcome, because he clearly doesn’t want to get involved in the Syria mess. If they vote to grant him authority to take action, he won’t like it, but he’ll know that he can pin partial blame on congress for whatever goes wrong in the operation, or the unintended consequences that stem from it. Heck, with the help of the media, he could probably even find a way to pin all of the blame on congress. It’s certainly worked for him in the past.ad6

There’s no doubt that Syria is a very complex issue. I’m certainly not trying to make light of it. The argument for intervention is a strong one, and the argument for non-intervention is also a strong one. Both come with their own negative consequences, and no one can entirely foresee the extent of those consequences. That’s why it’s extremely important to have a competent, confident leader in the White House who can approach such issues with the direness they deserve. It’s important to have a president that both Americans and other countries can respect during times like these. It’s important to have a president who understands the ramifications of his own rhetoric.

Does anyone honestly believe that Michael Scott fits that bill?

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Update: This morning, on September 4th, 2013, President Obama told a reporter in Sweden the he never set a “red line” on intervention in Syria in the first place. This, despite past statements in which he did exactly that. More Michael Scott antics, folks! Give him the Emmy.