The Brits aren’t buying President Obama’s “I’m leading” rhetoric: “The Lancaster House conference on Libya had a significance extending far beyond the borders of that country. It marked the moment when the United States took a decisive step back on the world stage after a decade of robust assertiveness. President Obama explained the new stance in his speech on Monday justifying the Libyan intervention. In cases where the US was not directly threatened, he said, America should not be afraid to act, but the burden should not be America’s alone. It should instead mobilise the international community for collective action – ‘real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well.’ This is classic Clintonian triangulation, walking a line between those who question why the US is involved with Libya at all and those demanding that Gaddafi be removed by any means necessary, including invasion.”

You didn’t buy the part about us taking a back seat, did you? “The Obama administration has sent teams of CIA operatives into Libya in a rush to gather intelligence on the identity, goals and progress of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, according to U.S. officials. Such information has become more crucial as the administration and its coalition partners move closer to providing direct military aid or guidance to the disorganized and beleaguered rebel army. Officials said that, though no decision has been made, President Obama, in a covert finding, has authorized preparations to launch such an effort.”

Bill Kristol doesn’t buy that Obama is the neo-isolationist the left swooned over: “Covert ops! Presidential findings! What’s next? Ollie North reporting for duty?”

A smart Republican isn’t buying that we can do this all from the air: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) “said the ‘humanitarian mission’ simply doesn’t square with the White House’s stated ‘political goal’ of Gadhafi leaving power.” He thinks “someone is going to have to put boots on the ground.”

Lee Smith says Israel’s critics would have us buy that it is still all about Israel: “It’s unclear who is behind the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem and the waves of rockets coming from Gaza. Yet the intent of these attacks is obvious — to change the subject from massive popular discontent with Arab regimes to one that both the region’s endangered rulers and the world’s political and intellectual elite are more comfortable with: the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West.” Read the whole thing.

Did you buy that line about the “most transparent administration in history”?

The Republican House didn’t buy Obama’s version of school “reform”: “House Republicans voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for the only bill that the Speaker is expected to offer this year, a voucher measure that would provide $20 million annually for five years for scholarships for public school children attending poorly performing schools in the District of Columbia, and $20 million each for charter and traditional public schools in the district. . . . The bill, which passed 225-195 almost directly along partisan lines, will have an uphill battle in the Senate; the White House, while stopping short of a veto threat, has made clear its lack of support.” Here’s another example of how noxious the influence of public-employee unions is; if Democrats didn’t have to knuckle under to the teachers union this would already be law.

Not as many Americans are buying that Obama is a strong leader. Gallup: “All party groups are less likely to consider Obama a strong leader than they were a year ago. Now, under half of independents (49%) believe Obama is a strong and decisive leader, compared with 56% in 2010. The vast majority of Democrats continue to believe he is a strong leader, but that, too, is down from 89% to 81%. Republicans’ views of Obama’s leadership, the least positive of the three groups, are down the most since last year (32% to 19%).” You pay a price for doing nothing, it seems.