First Maureen Dowd. Then Joe Klein. Then Roger Cohen. And now Ruth Marcus, the Washington Post’s answer to Maureen Dowd, has figured out that Obama is an empty suit. (I know, I know, if Ruth Marcus is the answer, the question has to be pretty silly. But still. . .) Anyway, cue Marcus:
Style points? Seriously? Style points? That’s what President Obama thinks the criticism of his zigzag Syria policy amounts to?
As presidential spin, this is insulting. As presidential conviction — if this is what he really believes — it’s scary. . .
Second, presidential actions have ripples beyond ripples. Obama may have lucked — or his secretary of state accidentally may have stumbled — into an approach that averted “The Perils of Pauline” moment. But the indecision, the mind-changing, the lurching — and, note, Obama did not dispute such characterizations so much as dismiss them — have consequences.
“Style,” as the president would have it, matters. Adversaries and allies, foreign and domestic, take a measure of the president’s steel. They judge whether he can be trusted, whether he will back down, whether he has what it takes to lead his country and the world. In the past few weeks, I have encountered not a single person outside the White House, Republican or Democrat, who has kind words for Obama’s performance.
I expect Obama’s “malaise” speech any day now.