Speaking from the East Room of the White House Tuesday evening, President Obama used Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's offer to secure Syria's chemical weapons as an excuse to delay a congressional vote on Obama's proposed military strike that most Washington observers expected the chief executive to lose.

By taking the easy way out, and avoiding a congressional defeat that would have humiliated him on both the domestic and international stages, Obama has given Putin a golden opportunity to strengthen Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's military.

More importantly, Obama's bumbling has given Putin a way to achieving a huge boost in Russian influence, particularly in the Middle East, where the Great Bear of the North has had a minimal role since 1970, when Egypt switched from being a Soviet client state to a U.S. ally.

Complete incoherence

Obama's 15-minute address stumbled aimlessly from exhortations for action one minute to calls for patience the next. One minute Obama was comparing Assad to Hitler, the next minute he was asking for time to negotiate with him.

Obama outlined no coherent plan of action, other than sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet the Russians, and didn't ask the American people to do anything other than watch horrific videos of children dying.

How far down the rabbit hole will Obama go?

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have front page stories Wednesday detailing how impossible it would be to secure chemical weapons in any country in the midst of a civil war. It simply can't be done.

As former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told the Washington Examiner's Phil Klein, the Russia plan "is an 'Alice in Wonderland' proposal."

Will Obama eventually admit he's been had? Or will he quietly let Russia have a free hand in Syria, functionally ending the civil war in Assad's favor, and just be glad that he no longer has to deal with the issue?

Meanwhile, back to business in Washington

Now that Syria is headed to the back burner, the nation's fiscal fights can resume. The House of Representatives will vote Thursday on a bill to fund the federal government from the end of September through December.

House Republican leaders also hope the measure will force the Senate to vote on a proposal to defund Obamacare completely. It is unclear Wednesday morning if they have the votes to pass the bill in the House without support from conservatives who are demanding a clean vote on defunding Obamacare.

From the Washington Examiner

Editorial: Obama's waffling on Syria handed Russia the driver's seat

Noemie Emery: Obama is losing from behind in Syria's fog of war

Susan Crabtree: Obama says Syria's use of chemical weapons a threat to US interests

Brian Hughes: Russia cools on UN Syria resolution as Obama consults allies

Michael Barone: John Kerry's blunders helping to overcome Obama's blunders?

Philip Klein: Bolton calls Russian deal on Syria 'Alice in Wonderland' proposal

David Drucker: House GOP leaders' new plan to defund Obamacare would avoid government shutdown

Sean Higgins: Report claims Obamacare union 'fix' will cost $187 billion over a decade

Joseph Lawler: Debt ceiling will hit between Oct. 18 and Nov. 5

Conn Carroll: 10 charts on federal spending from The Heritage Foundation

In Other News

Politico: The United States of weakness

The Wall Street Journal: Dismantling Weapons Poses Logistics, Security Challenges

The New York Times: Chemical Disarmament Hard Even in Peacetime

McClatchy Newspapers: Opposition fears Russia deal means U.S. won’t ever intervene in Syria

BuzzFeed: Administration Changes Russian Proposal’s Origin Story

Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado voters boot Morse, Giron from office in historic election

The Los Angeles Times: Consumers could be surprised at tax time due to federal health law

Lefty Playbook

Ezra Klein: The White House may really be about to win on Syria

The New Republic: Obama Got Played by Putin and Assad

The Atlantic: Obama Still Hasn't Resolved His Syria Paradox

Righty Playbook

Jonathan Strong: Cantor’s Debt Ceiling Vow

Marc Thiessen: If Russia won’t comply with the convention, why would Syria?

Lee Smith: Putin Didn't Save Obama, He Beat Him

Max Boot: The Long-Term Prospects of the Syria Deal