Commentary Magazine


It Must Be Exhausting

The president has rescinded his invitation for hot dogs with Iranian diplomats after days of criticism from the blogosphere, members of Congress, and conservatives. Once again the Left has been marched up the hill to defend the inexcusable (How rude to disinvite someone with whom we may have to “engage”! How petty!) only to abandon the position when common sense or political necessity intervene.

This is a pattern of course — on the president’s language on Iran, on release of detainee abuse photos, on Chas Freeman, and sort of on a Truth Commission. One would think the Right has more influence with this administration than do those who launched his campaign and put him in the White House. Perhaps liberals might not want to spin so furiously or believe whatever excuse for inactivity comes out of the White House (We can’t make this about us!). When the president is forced to reverse himself, his media spinners are left adrift to either ignore there ever was a difference of opinion with conservatives, or to concoct a ridiculous set of mysterious facts and unreported factors to make some decision right on Monday (BBQ with the mullahs’ representatives) and make it wrong on Wednesday (you can’t socialize with them).

Perhaps rather than justifying timidity, confusion, and reversals, sympathetic pundits should try to counsel the president to find a reasonable position in light of real world events — and the then stick to it. It is far less stressful than trying to spin whatever gibberish comes out of the White House.