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The President Votes “Present”

By March 16, 2011Blog
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Two distinguished journalists — Michael Barone and John Podhoretz — wrote today about an increasingly obvious problem related to our President: when it comes to the big issues and conflicts of our day, Barack Obama votes “present” instead of taking leadership.  More and more often, the administration takes a “wait and see how others respond” approach to the world’s crises.  The President is voting “present” on the world stage regarding Gadhafi’s attempts to crush the Libyan revolt.  There’s barely even a rhetorical response to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that threaten catastrophe for that country and the world.  Closer to home, the budget crises is being “solved” with yet another “Continuing Resolution.”

This President is making the United States appear irrelevant on the world stage and disengaged on the domestic front.  Some reporters are speculating that he is more interested in the NCAA brackets than in leading the nation.  Worse, he plans a family vacation to Brazil during his daughters’ Spring Break from Sidwell Friends School — March 18-28.  In response to open-jawed astonishment at this development, his staff responded that “it is possible” that he might give an address while he is gone.

Run that past me again, slowly: The leader of the free world is running off for yet another vacation in the midst of world-changing crises both at home and abroad?

More and more close observers are speculating that the president is incapable of rising to the challenges of leadership.

There is one area of his performance where this president is fully capable of seizing the reins of power.  When it comes to taking action on issues that touch on his central ideology, he is very decisive and determined.  However, it seems, sadly, that he is engaged only when it comes to his radical agenda.  Obama’s ideological priorities and his single-minded focus on his radical agenda are not new developments.  While the major media didn’t notice or report on it at the time, some people observed that then-Senator Barack Obama voted “present” 129 times in the Illinois legislature.

He has continued the practice of voting “present” except when it comes to appointing personnel and enacting legislation that will implement his ideology: this he summed up quite succinctly to Joe the Plumber saying that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Obama campaigned on a slogan of “hope and change.”  He appears to just be “hoping” that things will “change” without him having to get involved.  The silver lining is that the more distracted he is, the less time he may devote to his radical agenda.  But are we really better off with an unfocused president who, when he does finally focus, tends to do so only on the most radical of priorities?  People of goodwill would say no.