This would be the same “coup” that was ordered by the country’s supreme court pursuant to its constitution and carried out with the support of the legislature, including members of Zelaya’s own party. Hillary’s held off on using that terminology until now because by law she’ll have to cut funding to Honduras once the formal assessment is made, but it looks like the moment of truth is at hand. It’s a travesty, but what do you expect? Obama’s hot to prove to the world’s tyrants that, unlike his cowboy predecessor, he’s a man they can do business with. And he’s invested enough political capital in this horrible decision by now — maneuvering to block Zelaya’s ouster before it happened, calling it “illegal” after it did, and slowly turning up the pressure ever since — that he’d lose face if he relented and embraced the new president. So here we are:

U.S. State Department staff have recommended that the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be declared a “military coup,” a U.S. official said on Thursday, a step that could cut off as much as $150 million in U.S. funding to the impoverished Central American nation.

The official, who spoke on condition he not be named, said State Department staff had made such a recommendation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has yet to make a decision on the matter although one was likely soon…

Diplomats said that the United States had held off making the formal determination to give diplomacy a chance to yield a negotiated compromise that might allow for Zelaya’s return to power.

Such efforts, however, appear to have failed for now and so the United States is taking steps — including its decision on Tuesday to cease issuing some visas at its embassy in Tegucigalpa — to raise pressure on the de facto government.

I hope The One trots Hillary out to make this announcement instead of doing it himself; that would fit nicely with his buck-passing on Holder’s CIA inquiry. For all the well deserved grief we’ve given him over Iran, nothing he’s said or done about that — yet — approaches the awfulness of his ass-backwards priorities on Honduras. Good work, Barry.