Michael Barone has an interesting column in Monday's Washington Examiner noting that the president has worked his habit of refusing to stake out a concrete position into the White House's approach to the two major issues of the day: the uprising in Libya, and the ongoing debate and legislative battle over the federal budget. Barone writes:
One must concede that the issues involved here are difficult. The revolt against the Gadhafi regime in Libya poses difficult questions, and even those advocating certain responses, like Kerry and Wolfowitz, concede that there is no assurance that they will work as hoped.
On the budget the two parties are far apart. The House Republican leadership, responding to their 87 freshmen and to the voters' verdict last November, clearly have the momentum in pushing for additional cuts in spending.
Democrats who increased spending so sharply in the stimulus package and budget passed in 2009 have principled reasons for resisting and probably hope that a failure to agree followed by a government shutdown will help their party as they believe happened in the 1995-96 confrontation between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton.
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.
Make sure you check out the full column for more specifics on the White House's approach to the two problems. But given recent events, do you agree with Barone's characterization here?