On Syria we have a dictator with WMDs, who has likely used them, who is killing his own people. The president is going around DC like a chicken without its head looking to sign up any support he can so he doesn't have to lead from the front. Why go to the trouble? Why not have the liberals tell him to do what they told Bush to do in Iraq after the fact--let the international community solve it!?
Here's a scenario: first outstretch a hand to offer talks without preconditions. In a few weeks when the UN determines that Assad indeed used chemical weapons based on their ground inspection report, push for a UN resolution condemning him, along with international sanctions. Have the resolution talk about 'serious consequences' for any further use while demanding he disarm immediately for his crossing the international norm.
Then when he ignores the call to disarm push for another round of talks followed by an international team of UN weapons inspectors to go in and find the WMDs. Give Hans Blix another chance!
After the UN weapons inspection team has looked in every cave, mosque and children's museum for the weapons and not found them (with perhaps a rogue American team-member tossed off the team for trying to sell influence); and after their final report claiming no WMDs exist so the sanctions should be dropped for the sake of the children (brought about in part through Russian and Chinese influence)--then and only then would Obama consider some limited and narrow shock and awe strikes without boots on the ground that won't change the regime. That is, after Kerry's global test for military intervention is passed first of course!
Yes, Obama might be out of office by the time all of that was accomplished and thousands more might be dead with perhaps AQ members in possession of WMD weapons, but anything less would be, well, dumb.