Sometimes the responsibility of actually governing forces a party to embrace the policies of its opponents.
National Review Online, March 11, 2010
As the Afghanistan War intensifies — Marja, soon Kandahar, and the steady arrival of 30,000 new American troops — it has come to be seen as Obama’s war.
Not so. It’s become America’s war. When the former opposition party — habitually antiwar for the last four decades — adopted, reaffirmed, and escalated a war begun by the habitually hawkish other party, partisanship fell away, and the war became nationalized.
And legitimized. Do you think if John McCain, let alone George W. Bush, were president, we would not see growing demonstrations protesting our continued presence in Iraq and the escalation of Afghanistan? That we wouldn’t see a serious push in Congress to cut off funds?
Why aren’t we seeing those things? Because Barack Obama is now commander-in-chief. The lack of opposition is not a matter of hypocrisy. It is a natural result of the rotation of power. When a party is in opposition, it opposes. That’s its job. But when it comes to power, it must govern. Easy rhetoric is over; the press of reality becomes irresistible. By necessity, it adopts some of the policies it had once denounced. And a new national consensus is born. Continue reading »