It has been interesting to watch Russian President Vladimir Putin gain in popularity as he outwits Obama. Since he invaded Crimea, Putin's approval ratings in Russia have gone up 10 points.
As the Obama administration argues over which symbolic, empty gestures it plans to use next, Putin smiles.
Russia caught Obama off guard. Prior to the invasion of Crimea, in Obama's view our nation's biggest threats were the Koch brothers, the tea party and health-care providers. Now on that list is the Russian situation, but only to the degree that it makes Obama look politically weak.
Hillary and the O-bots did what they do best: made speeches on the matter, one even comparing Putin to Hitler. To be fair, all Putin did was take back part of a bordering country that used to be a part of the Soviet Union and probably wanted to re-join Mother Russia anyway. It's not like Putin forced all the citizens of a country to buy expensive, government-mandated health insurance he deemed they needed - or go to jail.
For those keeping sanction score at home, so far Obama has only gotten Putin kicked out of the meaningless G-8 meeting. Don't underestimate this; it means Putin doesn't get his 2014 G8 T-shirt or the handsome tote bag with Angela Merkel's picture on it. The lesson here is that invading another country gets you out of a boring meeting.
We choose to try minimal economic sanctions in order to punish Russia. If we really cared, we'd get Lindsey Lohan to stop drinking Russian vodka and make Donald Trump vow not to marry any models born east of Poland. Or the nuclear option: force Obamacare on them.
To be fair, Putin did allow Crimeans to vote to join Russia. The ballot only had an "opt in yes" box, and there was no option to vote "no." Putin got the idea from ATT's two-year sign up "user agreement."
Obama is an affirmative action product of academia, schooled in the theoretical world of liberal, faculty-lounge, naïve notions and arrogant discourse. Putin is a pragmatic, cold-blooded, ex-KGB thug. If someone made movies about their lives, which one would you want to watch?
Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize before he was even in office a year. Just weeks after invading Crimea, Putin was also nominated for a Nobel Prize. Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, of course, have one. Hitler was nominated for one in 1939 but didn't win. He blamed it on the Jews.
The Nobel Prize has become a joke, hijacked by a leftist committee. Ronald Reagan was never nominated, but through strength he demolished the Berlin Wall and gave freedom to millions.
I'd like to have seen the faces of Putin's fellow "Peace Prize" nominees when the KGB asked for their names, addresses and a brief description of their car.
Obama seems powerless to do much about the macho Putin. Putin pumps iron, while our presidents don't even pump their own gas. He is a man who rides shirtless on horses and spears fish. Our only hope of scaring him is to have a shirtless Chris Christie ride in on a Clydesdale horse and spear his own fried shrimp dinner at Red Lobster.
The U.S. has a feckless president obsessed with his pop culture image. As Putin expands his empire, Obama does his March Madness brackets on TV, joins the cast of "The View" and "Ellen," and does an Internet show with Zack Galifianakis.
Obama is not paying attention. Sadly, neither are American voters. God help Estonia if the finals of "American Idol" and the NBA finals happen on the same day.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email him at Ron@RonaldHart.com.