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Politico: What If George W. Bush Had Done That?

Author: Josh Gerstein
March 13, 2012

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Politico's Josh Gerstein questions the left's quiet reaction to Obama's military policies, putting them in perspective with those of George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama has forged a surprising consensus on opposite ends of the political spectrum: They wonder how on earth he gets away with it.

A series of recent moves — from aggressively filling his reelection war chest to green-lighting shoot-to-kill orders against an American terror suspect overseas — would have triggered a massive backlash if George W. Bush had tried them, say former Bush administration officials and a few on the political left. Even Obama's love for the links draws only gentle ribbing rather than the denunciations that helped drive Bush to give up the game for the balance of his presidency.

The muted public response has fueled frustration – and more than a little envy.

"A little bit of consistency from the media would be appreciated — and from the left-wing groups," said Mark Corallo, director of public affairs at the Justice Department from 2002-05. "I don't see anybody standing up. … Where is the outrage?"

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, an icon of what the Obama White House famously dubbed "the professional left," also sees a strange lack of interest toward some of Obama's policies. Among them: his administration's claim that the Constitution allows executive use of armed drones to kill U.S. citizens abroad deemed to be terrorist operatives.

"Virtually all the Democrats who were apoplectic about Bush and were constantly complaining about him 'trampling on our values' over eavesdropping and detention have been silent about assassination, even though it's so much more severe," Greenwald said. "It isn't that Obama is necessarily any worse on civil liberties than Bush. The point is he's able to get away with so much more."

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