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Debra J. Saunders
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President Obama Governs as Bush 44

Comment

Once upon a time in America, when George W. Bush served as America's 43rd president, Democrats criticized the Bush tax cuts, especially for the wealthy. This month, President Obama called a measure extending all the Bush tax rates "a win for our economy" — after excoriating liberal critics of his compromise tax package as "sanctimonious."

Once upon a time, Democrats trashed Bush for pushing tax cuts during a time of war, and Democrats slammed Bush for not demanding that Americans sacrifice to win the war on terror. This month, while U.S. troops serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama added more tax cuts to the Bush mix.

Once upon a time, Democratic candidates promised that if they won the White House, they would shutter Guantanamo Bay, then referred to as a "recruiting tool for al-Qaida." In January 2009, Obama signed an executive order to close the detention center within a year. Today it's still open.

Once upon a time, Democrats argued that if they were in charge, Washington would pass "comprehensive immigration reform." Candidate Obama promised to make passage of an immigration bill a top priority during his first year in office.

For two years, the Dems ran the White House, the House and the Senate — and a bill never passed because they never really pushed it. Clearly, the leadership figured out that immigration is an issue that works best for them if left hanging.

Once upon a time, Democrats used Bush's poor poll numbers as proof that he was a bumbling dolt who couldn't manage the economy.

Now, they use Obama's poor poll numbers as proof that Bush was a bumbling dolt who couldn't manage the economy.

Forget the Gallup poll that shows Congress with its lowest approval rating ever — 13 percent. Chalk that stat up to anti-incumbent fever.

Just two years ago, the Dems would boast that if they ran U.S. foreign policy, there'd be lots of smart dialogue and the world's tin-pot dictators would respect the U.S. president. How's that working in Iran and North Korea?

The Democrats used to say that universal health care would be cheaper. That was before SEIU 1199 announced it would drop dependents' health care coverage in part because of the "Obamacare" requirement that plans cover members' children up to age 26.

Once upon a time, Obama told America that if he were president, he would focus on winning in Afghanistan and thus prevail in the war on terrorism. Sunday on "Meet the Press," Vice President Joe Biden declared, "We're going to be totally out of there come hell or high water by 2014."

Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was forced to do a what-the-vice-president-meant-to-say clarification as he explained that 2014 would bring an end to the U.S. "combat commitment in Afghanistan."

Candidate Barack Obama had a grand time slamming the same Bush policies that he now maintains. And when the criticism gets too nasty, no worries: He always has golf.

E-mail Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@sfchronicle.com. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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