Close your eyes, and pretend it's still the George W. Bush administration.
In Afghanistan, more American service members died in August than in any month since the war began. His top military commander says that without more troops, we run the risk of losing the war. Iran admits operating a second previously undisclosed nuclear facility. Unemployment stands at 9.7 percent, with consumer confidence lower last month after a brief uptick. An important domestic initiative -- one he campaigned on -- faces a likely make-or-break month in Congress.
What does the President do? He flies to Copenhagen to personally lobby the International Olympic Committee to bring the Olympics to Crawford, Texas.
During Hurricane Katrina, critics accused President Bush of showing insufficient concern. CNN's Bush-hater-in-chief, Jack Cafferty, lit into him. Insensitivity! Lack of empathy! Poor sense of priorities! When the Iraq War started going badly, critics pounced on Bush for allegedly "failing to listen to his generals" about the troop strength necessary to secure that country.
Fast-forward. Americans elected Barack Obama, an "elegant and eloquent" liberal president. And my, how things change.
Iran's second -- now acknowledged -- nuclear facility appears to have but one purpose: to make a bomb. For good measure, over the weekend, Iran test-fired medium-range missiles with the distance to reach Israel.
Obama, during the campaign, called a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable." The President now demands that Iran come clean, or else. Or else ... what? Face "stiff sanctions." Never mind that our country's sanctions against Iran have been in place for 30 years. Ratcheting them up to include, say, energy embargoes requires the approval of U.N. Security Council members China and Russia. Who do you think assists Iran in the construction of its nuclear program? China and Russia.
The President, in August, called Afghanistan a "war of necessity." Obama's chosen top commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wrote -- in a report requested by the White House -- that the conflict "will likely result in failure" without an increase in troop strength within the year. Obama sat on the report for a month, after which it was leaked to The Washington Post. He told the general to scrub the additional troop request because he now wants to reassess the entire mission.