"We need courage," President Obama said in Ohio yesterday, imploring Congressional Democrats to pass his health care bill.

Gratifying though it is that the president is taking his talking points from

THE WEEKLY STANDARD editorials, one might make this obvious point: It's

easy for him to say "we" need courage. He's not on the ballot this November.

What's more, this is a man who voted present nearly 130 times as a state

legislator, and who never as a U. S. senator took on any powerful interest

group in his own party. Obama has some admirable qualities, but no one has

every seriously claimed political courage is one of them. But now he's

discovered that virtue--for House Democrats.

Obama on courage reminds me of Machiavelli on liberality. Machiavelli

understands liberality as the art of being generous with other people's

money. Obama asks for courage from others when his success is on the line.

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