I haven’t done this in a while, so I have some rather old examples in addition to the rather recent ones.

Signing statements:  Once the bane of the liberal blogosphere, and criticized by Obama himself, they seem to be coming back into vogue.  Perhaps not as much as under Bush, but when a spending bill’s signing statement says the President only considers some of the item "suggestions", that’s precisely what the Left used to decry.

Taxing health care benefits:  During the campaign, Senator Obama criticized McCain’s proposal, but now President Obama is open to the suggestion.

Military tribunals:  Senator Obama said during the campaign, "by any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure."  President Obama, however, is open to using that supposedly failed system.  While this would be change a bit, sometimes using federal courts and giving foreign enemies constitutional rights, this is not making us friends in the world (as if that should be the ultimate end of our foreign policy).  Germany’s "Der Spiegel" notes a number of German opinions that are critical of this move.  And Moe Lane, writing at RedState, notes a plausible outcome of all this change; the status quo.

Mind you, other people suggested that the President’s actions back then [announcing the closing of Gitmo] were possibly just an attempt to give him maneuvering room while he came up with a way to keep the status quo going. Which leads to an interesting scenario: let us say that the President decides to run military tribunals for Gitmo detainees. Let us also say that he (with a little help from Congress) steamrollers over current opposition to those tribunals. Once those tribunals are done, and the existing detainees are processed… what’s stopping the President from continuing to keep Gitmo operating? After all, did he not just ‘reform’ it? It’d certainly be cheaper to keep an existing facility going than to shut it down and create a new one. Fiscal responsibility is good, right?

And what would any critics plan to do about it, anyway?

Vote Republican?

Not likely, so what’s the downside for the President?

Filed under: DemocratsPolitics

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