First of all, I said to my staff Monday that President Obama would go to Iraq even though it was not scheduled. I've studied the president so much I feel like I know what he's thinking.
The Iraq stop was necessary to bolster his credibility among the military and those who support them back home. Also, some Americans are upset that Mr. Obama criticized his country while speaking overseas and he was a bit subservient to the Muslim world. That bow deal is getting a lot of reaction.
Of course, the White House and its supporters are spinning the trip as a great success:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: We feel this was an enormously productive trip.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Based on the reaction that the president has had, he's felt as if the trip has been a success, that we've taken concrete steps.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think he made tremendous progress on changing the opinion of the world about America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well let's hope that's true because the president did not get much economic help or military help, so it is important that the "good will factor" be real. Otherwise, the trip was simply a very expensive public relations exercise.
The most frustrating part of the world today is that there is little justice in it. If the world united against Iran and North Korea, those countries would break and the threat they pose would be nullified. If the world joined together to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan, those threats would be pretty much wiped out. But the world will not.
President Obama is a far different leader than President Bush, but so far the results are exactly the same. The world either sits out the struggle against evil or helps the bad guys.
With the great exceptions of Britain, Canada, Australia, Poland and a few other nations, the world is content to be selfish and cowardly. And if you call them on it, they hate you. That's why Obama has not called them on it. He figures having apathetic nations at least neutral toward America is better than having them work against us.
There is some logic in that, but to Americans who understand how much blood and treasure we are spending to fight evil, the president's failure to confront weak nations can be annoying.
"Talking Points" understands the big picture here and believes the president's trip was a plus, but not a major win. The world remains dangerous and chaotic, with Israel on the verge of attacking Iran.
President Obama is now the most powerful man in the world, and I hope he's thinking ahead because a wider conflict may be inevitable.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
On "Jeopardy!" Monday night there was this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conans (ph) for 400.
ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": He got his controversial talk show on FOX News in 1996. Eric?
ERIC LAFOREST, "JEOPARDY" CONTESTANT: Who is O'Reilly?
TREBEK: Bill O'Reilly, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Yes. For getting the question right, Eric LaForest is a patriot. By the way, Eric, a high school history teacher from Jacksonville, Florida, won the whole thing last night. Way to go.
On the pinhead front, another "you make the call" situation. We want to compare baseball prowess.
Here is former President Bush throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Ranger game in Arlington. Good toss, right on the inside corner. OK, Mr. President. And here is Vice President Biden, doing the same thing at the Baltimore Orioles-Yankees game. That looked like slow pitch softball. Better work on that thing.
And there's the Oriole right there, played by Nancy Pelosi. No, no, I shouldn't have said that. Was there a pinhead in there? Only you can decide.