Barack's Forte

Barack has outsmarted Hillary again. You'll remember that she called for a U.S. boycott of the Olympic opening ceremonies to help build pressure on the Chinese regarding Tibet. This was reasonable and presidential of Hillary - after all, she's not calling for a boycott of the games. Hill asked Barack and McCain to echo her sentiment.

But Barack said wait a sec lady, not so fast!

A boycott of the opening ceremonies should be "firmly on the table," Obama said, "but this decision should be made closer to the games."

How about that. He got her on nuance. Better not to play that card just yet says Barack. Better to wait. To think. To contemplate. To see how things develop. To be cautious. To move slowly. To see things in shades of gray, not black and white.

And while this may seem wise and even clever to the advisers who decided on this response - they've managed, it seems, to take the wind right out of Hillary's sails - it plays into a weakness of Barack's.

There is a lost opportunity in Barack's strategy, though. The U.S. decision to boycott the ceremonies would create a huge impetus for other, smaller players, to jump on board and create an avalanche. Protesters around the world could be emboldened. China might actually be forced to pull back on the abuse of Tibet. The U.S. could have a leadership role in affecting a longterm change in Chinese policy. But that would be an act of leadership.

This is not Barack's role, as Barack is a man who doesn't like decisions, who doesn't like action, who doesn't like leadership - its something he's entirely unfamiliar with. He didn't even decide to break with his racist spiritual adviser/political adviser until forced to do so, and even then the break was only a slight bend.

Barack is a thinker. And thinkers don't make leaders.