Every modern president takes refuge abroad when the going gets rough at home. (Before the jet airplane life was simpler and presidents could get respite with a train trip to Cleveland or Buffalo.) So President Obama is off to Asia, where never will necessarily be heard an encouraging word, but he won't have to listen to criticism in the Queen's English. His approval ratings are continuing to sink -- down now to 46 percent, measured by reliable Rasmussen Reports. Nancy Pelosi's euphoria over her razor-thin passage of the fanciful House version of Obamacare is fading in the wake of rising Senate opposition to the thousand pages of Mzz Pelosi's poisoned mush. The president continues to dither over what, if anything, to do about the war in Afghanistan, which he once called "the necessary war." Soon he won't be "Mr. President" so much as "Mr. Dithers." (Blondie and Dagwood would recognize him at once.)
The president's dithering on what to do in Afghanistan leads only to more opportunities to dither. He now has a controversy in his own house, with his ambassador in Afghanistan scoffing that sending more troops to Kabul will only prop up a corrupt nothingburger government. His commander in Kabul, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wants thousands more troops for a surge similar to the surge that won the war in Iraq. This is the kind of controversy no president needs, particularly when he's off to impress the world with what a great leader he is. He wouldn't have to suffer such indignities if he could make up his mind. Mr. Dithers has Dagwood Bumstead to blame for his stumbles, but a president doesn't have the luxury of a Dagwood.
Mr. Obama could have arrived in Beijing riding authentic momentum if he had only taken his teleprompter to Berlin for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was invited by Angela Merkel, the chancellor of the reunited Germany, to join her and Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms hastened the collapse of the old Soviet Union. But Mr. Obama, who found a way to work in a quick trip to Copenhagen to lobby (unsuccessfully) for a Chicago Olympics, was too busy. He sent a videotaped speech in which he studiously avoided mentioning Ronald Reagan, whose flinty resolve to win the Cold War eventually erased that hideous scar of steel and concrete across the Berlin landscape. It's impossible to imagine Barack Obama, as eloquent as he can be, as John F. Kennedy ("ich bin ein Berliner") or Ronald Reagan ("Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall").
Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here