He became Clint Eastwood saying, "Make my day."
He morphed into George W. Bush (his personal hero) saying to the Taliban, "Bring it on."
This may not be the way Obama sees himself, but it's who he is, this week. His basic self image, of course, is of a guy so charismatic that other world leaders will by swayed by his wonderful powers of oratory.
But now that soaring oratory ("a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,”) has painted him into a corner.
But we have no vital interests in Syria, and the public has no appetite for another Mideast incursion. Nonetheless, Barack wants to maintain his street cred, so here we go.
The US will spend millions of dollars, Syrians will die, and more Muslims will hate us.
Of course, John McCain and the rest of the War Axis aren't framing the decision this way. They're talking about how it's the country's credibility and standing which are at risk.
Obama's motivation is a little more personal. See, once you've played Dirty Harry, you can't back down, or you look silly. And weak.
But does anyone really think that launching a few Tomahawks will make Obama look like a strong, decisive leader? Or will people now be even more inclined to see him as a guy who shouldn't talk without the aid of a Teleprompter?
The unnamed U.S. official who spoke to the L.A. Times earlier this week seemed to have gotten right to the core of Obama's motive: the White House, he said, was probing a strike with a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”
So, now we get to see Barack flex his muscles -- in order not to be made fun of.
Perhaps, when he announces the strike from that dais in the White House press room, they can play Jim Croce's hit, You Don't Mess Around with Jim, in the background:
Yeah you don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Slim
Or, given that Obama spent a fair amount of time in the Windy City, perhaps Croce's other hit, Bad Bad Leroy Brown might be even more appropriate:
Well the south side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man name of Leroy Brown
Yep, you don't mess around with Big Bad Barack Obama.