A story in the Wall Street Journal highlights the difference between a reactionary government like we had from 2001 to the start of 2009 and a new Washington crowd with a somewhat more progressive mindset. For eight years, there were folks trying -- and sometimes succeeding -- in trying to put America on the wrong track. Now we're finally headed in the right direction, but we're using a Baldwin steam locomotive when we need a Japanese bullet train to catch up to where we need to be:
Last week, Mr. Obama signed defense-policy legislation that included an unrelated measure widening federal hate-crimes laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identification -- 12 years after it was first introduced. The same legislation also tightened the rules of admissible evidence for military commissions, an issue that consumed Congress in debate in 2007 but received almost no attention this go-round.
Other new measures signed into law since the administration took office, all of which kicked up controversy in past congresses, make it easier for women to sue for equal pay, set aside land in the West from development, give the government the power to regulate tobacco and raise tobacco taxes to expand health insurance for children. Congress and the White House, in the new defense-policy bill, also killed weapons programs that have survived earlier attempts at termination, among them, the F-22 fighter jet, the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the Army's Future Combat System.