Calling Up the Troops
It's time once again to play "What If," the game millions (well, ok maybe not millions) of Americans have found a delightful alternative to the sport of politics. In "What If" players are asked to consider,"What If a Democrat Did What President Bush Did?" Winners are eligible for a grand prize which has yet to be announced. (Note: This game is prohibited in all states where Republicans control the statehouse.)
This week our subject is the Pentagon's decision to call up more than 5,000 vets who had already left the service. They are needed to fill holes in the army's overextended ranks. As the NYT explained, these people, in contrast to those who are in the reserves, "have not been associated with the armed services since their departure from the Army — except to register their location — and have not been training with a unit."
The Democrats' response to the news was to say that the Pentagon needs to consider plans to expand the size of the army.
Can you imagine what the Republicans would say if a Democratic administration tried this? They would be howling that Democrats had hollowed out the military and now were trying to balance our national security obligations on the backs of our veterans. Rush Limbaugh would scream. Faxes would whir. And Capitol Hill would be inundated with denunciations of the president.
Republicans and Democrats do, as Bill Clinton said last week in Time, play by different rules. Unfortunately, candidates who play by the Democrats' rules tend to lose. That's unfortunate for the Democrats. It's also unfortunate for the country.
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