Jun 27, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 39 • By FRED BARNES
We’ve had strong presidents and weak presidents, skillful presidents and incompetent presidents, mediocre presidents and just plain poor presidents. Barack Obama stands alone as the first president who simply declines to lead.
On almost every major issue since he took office in January 2009, Obama has dumped responsibility on someone else, merely paid lip service, or let the issue quietly fade away. Just this year, the issues that have gotten the no-leadership treatment from Obama include: the deficit, the debt, Medicare, Social Security, Medi-caid, energy, corporate taxes, medical liability, immigration, and Libya.
The president set his pattern of negligible leadership early on in his administration. Rather than draft his own proposals on economic stimulus, health care, cap and trade, and Wall Street reform—his top priorities—he delegated the job to Democrats in Congress.
Why is Obama so leadership averse? For one thing, it gives him flexibility since he’s not tied irrevocably to what congressional Democrats come up with. And it limits his accountability. He’s free to attack Republican proposals without attaching himself to an alternative that Republicans could attack.