Leading from behind. “Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy, are building a network of militias inside Syria to preserve and protect their interests in the event that President Bashar al-Assad’s government falls or is forced to retreat from Damascus, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials. The militias are fighting alongside Syrian government forces to keep Assad in power. But officials think Iran’s long-term goal is to have reliable operatives in Syria in case the country fractures into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.” Geo-politcs, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Leading from behind in Syria also means betraying the rebels. “Americans didn’t keep promises to opposition leaders. Now they’ve turned against the U.S.”

Behind the pomp of the State of the Union address is a lousy economy. “Mr. Obama begins the fifth year of his presidency and he will address a nation that still hasn’t shaken off the effects — the pain of joblessness, the lingering fears of an economy not quite healthy — of the biggest shock in three-quarters of a century.”

With the fiscal cliff and tax hike behind them, the Republicans are willing to stand firm on the sequester. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he would not accept a plan to avert the sequester by raising taxes, just days before Democrats are expected to propose exactly that. ‘My constituents in Kentucky will not accept a tax hike in the place of spending cuts that were already agreed to by both parties,’ McConnell said. ‘We agreed to reduce this amount of spending in October of 2011, without raising taxes. We’ve already made this agreement.'”

Behind all that Democratic support for Obama’s drone program is a great deal of hypocrisy. “That many Democratic partisans and fervent Obama admirers are vapid, unprincipled hacks willing to justify anything and everything when embraced by Obama – including exactly that which they pretended to oppose under George W Bush — has also been clear for many years. . . . Progressives love to recite the conceit that Republicans will never praise Obama no matter what he does. This is a complete sham: conservatives, including even Cheney himself, have repeatedly lavished praise on Obama for his embrace of Bush/Cheney policies in these areas.” Yup.

Behind the rhetoric is math. “[A]ny new policies or programs will have a cost to both present and future taxpayers, and it will take some time to figure out that cost because the president hasn’t yet presented his budget proposal to Congress. And when he does, the ongoing standoff between Republicans and Democrats over everything from how to continue funding the government to looming spending cuts still leaves plenty of uncertainty about any fiscal policy in Washington.”

Behind that assault weapons ban are very few red state or swing state Dems. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Monday that he opposes an assault weapons ban.”