What is so striking is Barack's tone -- the idea that, of course, if he's needed, he'll fly back to Washington and participate in the negotiations about legislation to avert a meltdown of the financial markets.
In President Bush's address tonight, he called on both senators to meet with him to craft an acceptable proposal. That's because it's obvious that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are going to sign off on anything without the approval of their standard bearers.
Is it that Barack didn't understand that fundamental fact? Or worse yet, did he understand it -- but his inexperience and inability to handle the crisis necessitated that he try to evade all accountability? Neither possibility is reassuring.
It's shocking that someone who believes himself ready to lead the free world would so brazenly try to dodge any participation in what could be a defining moment in our history. That's not leadership -- it's cowardice. It's attempting to stay out of the way of any of the tough choices so that one is free to criticize them after others have stepped up. You can fault John McCain for a lot of things, but lack of leadership and shrinking from the hard choices isn't one of them.
Sad to say, when it comes to Barack, there's something pretty typical about this. Even from his days leading The Harvard Law Review on, Barack always tried to avoid having to make the final, tough calls. It made him popular and gave him the aura of someone who "listened to both sides," but in retrospect, it's also clear that it made him a profoundly ineffective leader. As a result of controversies he punted on during his tenure -- from affirmative action on the Review to accountability for editors who didn't want to return to work on time -- his inaction ended up engendering division among the membership that not long after tore the journal apart.
But hey, none of it came back on Barack. Just as voting "present" time and time again in the Illinois legislature didn't hurt his career one bit.
So although it's disturbing, is it really any surprise that he's tried to avoid any accountability now?
It's worked for him so far, so why stop?