When the going gets tough, the tough get going … to Russia. Marco Rubio appeared on the Jimmy Cefalo Show this morning to discuss the budget votes over the last two days and the lack of leadership in the fiscal crisis. Rubio, in his normal calm and reasonable manner, scoffed at the notion that Democrats take any of it seriously. “The bill they [Democrats] offered as an alternative to the House bill only cut six billion dollars in spending,” Rubio tells Cefalo. “That’s really what we’re borrowing in one day. By noon today, we will have borrowed half of that.” Rubio goes on to lay the blame at the feet of the President:

Now the conversation’s not a serious one yet. … And here’s what’s missing in all of this, and I don’t mean to be overly partisan, the President is absolutely absent from this debate. He is nowhere to be found. He refuses to engage. This is a President that as a Senator, as a candidate, and early on in his presidency, repeatedly said that he was going to make the tough choices, get involved, get engaged, deal with this pressing issue that faces our country. He has completely disengaged from this issue, and he assigned Joe Biden to negotiate it for him, and then sent Joe Biden to Russia.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama’s opponents often referred to his 130+ votes as “present” in the state legislature to argue that he won’t bother to get involved in tough issues, as well as his unremarkable half a term in the US Senate. It certainly seems that Obama has become President Present in this budget debate, although perhaps it is more accurate to call him President Not Present, under the circumstances.