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. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters Thursday that the United States and other nations have "taken a range of steps . . . to squeeze Gadhafi, isolate him, really turn him into a pariah."
But the steps the United States has taken may well have bolstered Gadhafi's determination to crush the rebellion against his regime.
Aid, not arms; a meeting, but (unlike France and Portugal) no official recognition. The president seems to be voting "present" once again.
"Voting present" is certainly intended as a slight, and it is useful as a reference to Obama's efforts to minimize his political risk in the Illinois Senate by avoiding tough votes.
But at this point I think even "present" is much too generous to Obama in the case of Libya.
Mr. Obama, who skipped a meeting of his top aides on Libya Wednesday, may hope...
Egads. It's hard to call someone "present" when he's not even showing up anymore.
But at least the WaPo reminds us Obama's got the audacity of hope. What else can anyone possibly expect of him at this point?