By Cheri Jacobus – 07/24/12 05:42 PM ET
There are few things more uncomfortable to witness than a fading rock star in the process of slipping down the ladder he seemed to scale so adeptly and nimbly what seems like not so long ago.
Four years ago, presidential candidate Barack Obama took Berlin by storm with a soaring speech to some 200,000 adoring fans. Having next to nothing in the way of bona fides on foreign policy, given his scant experience in the United States Senate, Obama needed to score a lot of love on his world tour in an uphill battle to fill that void. He was adored — not for any accomplishment on his part, but rather by simply being him. The crowds cheered and it all was positively glorious.
Fast-forward to 2012, and we see the fading rock star reluctant and refusing to take the world stage, even while his competition takes an important lap around other nations.