Debra J. Saunders

Democrats seem to have shifted their thinking on a number of issues since President Obama took the oath of office. Figure some Dems have more faith in government with a like-minded man at the helm, and besides, circumstances have changed. But also figure that some Democrats were just looking for sore spots -- and their anti-Bush rhetoric was based not on principle, but raw opportunism.

When Obama picked Eric Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, the left applauded because they liked the contrast with President George W. Bush. Shinseki was their hero because he had told Congress that the Bush administration should send "several hundred thousand" U.S. troops to Iraq in 2003. Bush, Democrats used to argue, should have listened to the generals -- by which they meant Shinseki, not the other generals who suggested lower troop numbers -- and put smart military strategy before politics.

Now there is a push among top military personnel to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000 planned by the end of the year.

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Funny. You don't hear many Democrats demanding now that Obama put aside politics and give top brass the extra troops they say they need to succeed in Afghanistan.

Here's another difference. As The Chronicle reported Wednesday, U.S. helicopters swept into Somalia and killed al-Qaida operative Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. That's a good thing. But as of my deadline, the newspaper didn't receive a single letter to the editor complaining about U.S. imperialism, colonialism or military overreach.

Under Bush, I believe, the criticism would have been shrill. It's great to see Democrats talking about the need for civility in the Capitol -- so much so that the House passed a resolution reprimanding Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for "a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings" when he yelled, "You lie," to Obama as the president addressed a joint session of Congress earlier this month.

You see, it is more civil when a number of lawmakers boo and heckle, as they did to Bush during his 2004 and 2005 State of the Union addresses, than for one man to shout out the president. (Just kidding -- as I in no way defend Wilson's rude behavior.)

At a press conference Thursday, a teary-eyed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she is worried that the language being used by the critics of Obama's health care plan will lead to "violence."


Debra J. Saunders


 
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