So the president has announced that he will address “the nation” on Wednesday evening at 9:00 PM about steps he plans to take to deal with the Islamic State challenge and related national security concerns.

Of all the needle-threading exercises he’s been called upon to pull off as president, this could be among the most difficult: assuaging public rage over the execution of American journalists; addressing the reality–or unreality–of IS threats to the American “homeland;” dealing with the double-bind of how to restrain IS without helping Assad’s Syria or Shi’a hardliners in Baghdad or Tehran; and most of all, managing the fantastic expectations imposed on him by “Green Lantern” theories of presidential power, “American exceptionalist” notions of U.S. power, and Republican bad faith.

Good luck, Mr. President.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.