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March 14, 2011

Voting Present: Barone, Cost Push the Meme

I can't take credit because it's an obvious line of attack -- the president is obviously feckless, cowardly, and incapable of making a decision.

Given that it's obvious, it should be a strong theme for 2012.

Barone:

In the Illinois legislature state Sen. Barack Obama voted "present" 129 times. Today he seems to be voting present on two major issues, Libya and the budget.

...

Voting "present" may be a responsible move for a legislator genuinely undecided about which way to go. But an executive voting "present" is choosing a course with consequences whether he likes it or not.

"The buck stops here," said the sign on the desk of the 33rd president, Harry Truman, who was quick to make decisions -- sometimes too quick. The 44th president's tendency seems to be something like the opposite.

That's a good point; Obama is in fact choosing bankruptcy and Qadaffy. Those are the defaults; abstaining from making an alternative decision in fact chooses those.

Cost:

[A]ccording to the Post, not only is the administration's policy sideways, the commander in chief has been passive in its formulation. This is not the first time this has happened. The Obama White House left the drafting of the stimulus mostly to Democratic leadership in Congress -- so much so that aides to House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey complained about a lack of guidance -- and the result was a bloated, inefficient bill that quickly galvanized conservative opposition and ended the "post-partisan" age. He was similarly agnostic on the health care bill, allowing Congress to come up with an incomprehensible mish-mash that still required political trickery to pass. His recent budget fails to take seriously the mounting deficit crisis, which the White House is happy to let Republicans take the politically unpopular lead on. His administration was persistently behind the curve on the revolutions in Iran and Egypt, and now it is taking a backseat to the French on Libya.

...

Nobody in the United States is as intent on reminding his fellow citizens just how awesome he is than Barack Obama. That's what the "Age of Obama" is all about. But that seems to be about it. The sense of awe he has cultivated has not been used for any great purpose -- not to forge a bipartisan compromise on the stimulus, not to push through an intelliglble health care plan, not to handle the deficit, not to lead on any of the various foreign policy flareups. This is more a clerkship presidency, with a commander in chief either unwilling or unable to take the lead on the most challenging issues of the day.

...

. A billion dollars [in 2012 campaign spending], they hope, will change the public's currently low opinion of the Obama administration. Yet it cannot change one very good reason why the public has come to its opinion, which is that his has been a clerkship presidency. A glorified clerkship, no doubt, but a clerkship nonetheless.


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posted by Ace at 02:25 PM

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