Alternate headline: “Clearly, Jon Stewart isn’t reading Mark Halperin.” Look at it this way, though. At the rate we’re going, and in light of Stewart’s own point about the fallacy of the U.S. “handing off” to NATO, American involvement will almost certainly get deeper before it starts to recede. Which means, if you didn’t like this Obama speech on Libya, just wait: You might like the next one, or the one after that, or the one after that, a bit better. In fact, I wonder if that’s why Stewart didn’t force a Bush/Obama “we are all neocons now” comparison here. Why blow all the good material up front? There’ll be plenty of opportunities to use it later.
For your companion reading, have a look at today’s new Gallup poll. A bare majority of 52 percent still rate Obama as a “strong and decisive leader” — that’s a predictable partisan outcome — but when asked whether he has a clear plan for solving America’s problems, just 36 percent (including a mere 62 percent of Democrats) say yes. The more opaque things seem in Libya, the worse that number will get. And that’s a dangerous liability ahead of next year’s election.