As the scheduled time for President Obama’s address on Syria came and went Saturday, reporters in the Rose Garden could see him through the Oval Office windows, talking on the telephone.
He was probably talking to political guru David Axelrod about the latest polls — just before he demanded that Congress rise above partisanship.
You don’t have to be a cynic to scoff at Obama’s claim that his sudden decision to seek approval for a military strike shows his loyalty to the Constitution. In truth, it is all about saving his own bacon. He talked himself into no-man’s land and is now desperately seeking an escape hatch.
Boxed in from the left and right, at home and abroad, heckled as a hypocrite and a flip-flopper, he didn’t have a single friend, let alone a coalition. So he kicked the can to Congress and challenged its members to make the unpopular decision he’s not willing to make as commander in chief.
The 11th-hour reversal is a Gilda Radner moment — “Never mind!” She did it as comedy; Obama does it as farce.
For the last week, White House aides have engaged in relentless fear mongering about the dangers of inaction and delay. Even on Saturday, Obama warned that Bashar al-Assad is a global menace, said the use of chemical weapons is a moral outrage that must be punished and warned that potential proliferation is a grave threat to our national security and our allies.
And then he said . . . But.
Or, as the professor in chief put it, he’s decided a military strike is necessary and that he has the authority to launch one, but insists a strike “is not time-sensitive.”
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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.