One thing is probably true. The presidency’s authority has been severely reduced and whoever inherits the office from Obama — Republican or Democrat — will be stepping into shoes shrunken to fit the current occupant. The New York Times, in a burst of intellectual candor, wrote of Obama’s inability to meet Rouhani that he “was a somewhat diminished American leader”:

Mr. Rouhani, who had mounted an aggressive charm offensive in the weeks before arriving in New York, also declined a chance to shake hands with Mr. Obama — avoiding a much-anticipated encounter that would have bridged more than three decades of estrangement between the leaders of Iran and the United States.

In their speeches, both leaders balanced their ideals as statesmen with their imperatives as politicians. But for Mr. Rouhani, a handshake may have proved too provocative for hard-line constituencies back home. At the end of a day of drama and dashed expectations at the United Nations, the spotlight swung back to the grinding work of diplomacy that awaits both nations.

In the morning, it was a somewhat diminished American leader who faced a skeptical audience of world leaders here. After first threatening, then backing off, a military strike against Syria, and now suddenly confronting a diplomatic opening with Iran, Mr. Obama has employed a foreign policy that has at times seemed improvisational and, in the view of many critics, irresolute.

That is putting it mildly. The Daily Mail put it far more brutally, pointing to the discovery that Barack Obama has 19.5 million fake Twitter followers:

Just 20 per cent of Obama’s Twitter buddies are real people who are active users.

Overall, the five most influential accounts linked to the Obama administration — the first lady has two — account for 23.4 million fake followers.

Biden’s nonexistent fans make up 46 per cent of his Twitter total, with 20 per cent being “real’ followers. The White House’s followers are 37 per cent fake and 25 per cent active; the first lady’s primary account is 36 per cent fake and 29 per cent active.

The Daily Caller reported on Tuesday that Michelle Obama’s Twitter followers included nearly 2 million nonexistent people, a number that lines up with MailOnline’s findings.

Cruz is betting that even the man on the street is beginning to notice. It’s one thing to cut no ice with leaders around the world; one might even forgive making a mess of the economy and using the IRS to spy on people. But fake Twitter accounts? A line’s got to be drawn somewhere.

Obama, if he intends to survive, must make an example of those who show him contempt. He has to snarl, like the lion, and destroy an intruding hyena. But he couldn’t do this to the UK, nor to Syria, Putin, or Rouhani. He couldn’t even show the Democratic feminists who hated Summers who wore the pants in the party. Now in his moment of peril, the president is calling the old champ out of retirement, hoping that Bill Clinton will ride to his rescue, according to NBC. He is saying: Bill Clinton still wears the pants.

But if he can’t beat up Kid Cruz, even with Clinton’s help, then the problem won’t be Cruz. Cruz knows his limits because Cruz wants to preserve — in order to inherit — the system. The worry will be the succession of challengers after Cruz, both domestic and international, ready to adventure against him, and with no such restraints.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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