Debra J. Saunders

"We're not condemning the men and women who serve, we are condemning the U.S. policy that is teaching the Marines and other military people to torture, oust other countries' political leaders and do other evil things," Spring also told The Chronicle. It's typical Berkeley doublespeak: Spring isn't against the troops; she's just accusing them of evil.

When I asked Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain what he would do, if elected, about the Berkeley vote, McCain said he would use the bully pulpit to criticize Berkeley, but: "I think Berkeley is Berkeley, a unique place in America."

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., had a tougher take. "If the city can't show respect for the Marines that have fought, bled and died for their freedom, Berkeley should not be receiving special taxpayer funded handouts," DeMint wrote on his blog. De Mint has found some choice earmarks -- $975,000 for the Cal Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation -- that, while not city projects, made DeMint's list.

Lest you think the DeMint approach is far-fetched, consider Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's answer to a question posed by NBC's Tim Russert at a debate last month. "There's a federal statute on the books which says that, if a college or university does not provide space for military recruiters or provide a ROTC program for its students, it can lose its federal funding. Will you enforce that statute?" Russert asked. Both Clinton and Obama answered that they would enforce the Solomon Amendment, which first passed in 1994 when Bill Clinton was president.

The idea was: With federal funding comes responsibility. Except the Berkeley City Council feels it owes the American military nothing but disrespect. You see what free speech has become in Berkeley. It's not the free expression of competing ideas. It's free for lefties only -- and for them, speech without consequences.

Debra J. Saunders

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