When my young son comes to the point on Saturdays when he's supposed to do his chores -- and believe me, he's hardly in a forced-labor camp -- he sometimes needs adult guidance in how to get the job done. He complains, he procrastinates, he gets overwhelmed by the tasks at hand until I step in and provide direction. Hey, he's nine years old.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is doing much the same thing with George W. Bush when it comes to his presidential responsibilities.
Pelosi has come under fire from the White House for her trip to Syria to meet with the country's leaders and to observe the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, which have been all but ignored by the Bush administration.
"As recommended by the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan delegation led by Speaker Pelosi intends to discuss a wide range of security issues affecting the United States and the Middle East with representatives of governments in the region, including Syria," said Pelosi Spokesman Brendan Daly last week.
And nobody is saying that dealing with Syria, from which the U.S. withdrew its ambassador in 2005, is an easy thing to do. We're not exactly what anyone would call fast friends with Damascus and the hard work of negotiating with enemies or potential enemies is not for the weak or intellectually lazy. Sadly, Bush is both of those things.
Throughout his unfortunate presidency, Bush has shown that he does his best when surrounded by people who give him positive reinforcement, tell him how wonderful he is, deny him nothing and make it easy for him to run from hard work. Sounds a lot like a child, right?
So, when it comes to worldwide diplomacy, the new House Speaker has had to step in because we have an executive branch of government led by a man-child who just has no interest in playing well with others.
Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice have had years to do the right thing and to care for America's security and prestige in the world by reaching out to all countries and, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, keeping our potential enemies closer than our friends. They have failed as miserably as they possibly could have. It can't hurt for Pelosi to go to Syria to open a dialog -- as did Senators Chris Dodd and John Kerry in 2006 -- and it can only help show our strength through assertive leadership, and that Democrats are doing what needs to be done in the total absence of coherent foreign policy from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And talks such as the one Pelosi had with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have already been fruitful, including discussions about peace with Israel.
"We were very pleased with the reassurances we received from the president (Assad) that he was ready to resume the peace process. He was ready to engage in negotiations (for) peace with Israel," Pelosi said. "(Our) meeting with the president enabled us to communicate a message from prime minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks as well."
Pelosi was also clear on broaching the subject of Syrian involvement in the Iraq war saying "We called to the attention of the president our concern about fighters crossing the Iraq-Syria border to the detriment of the Iraqi people and our soldiers."
And, like the parent that she is, Pelosi calmly dealt with criticism from a White House that comes down hard on her for visiting the Middle East, but says nothing about the presence of Republican Congressmen Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts and Robert Aderholt in Syria this week.
"It's interesting because three of our colleagues, who are all Republicans, were in Syria yesterday and I didn't hear the White House speaking out about that," Pelosi said Monday. "I think that it was an excellent idea for them to go. And I think it's an excellent idea for us to go, as well."
Diplomacy and handling the foreign affairs of the world's only current superpower isn't easy and it's been at our peril that we've had a White House occupant where, when it comes to the hard work of governing and leading, the best we can hope for is that we've left the kids alone in the house for the weekend and we'll come home to find it only slightly trashed.
George W. Bush is a child, a toddler, on the world stage at a time when the American people cannot afford to have things done wrong, or not at all. Nancy Pelosi is simply stepping up, doing the right thing and showing Bush how a grown-up gets the job done.
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.