Barack Obama’s predecessor Abraham Lincoln once famously said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
This is a lesson President Obama should internalize. The President has been roundly criticized this week for his deafening silence in the face of the protests and the violent response of the regime in Iran. Obama’s defenders suggested that this was a wise policy so as not to antagonize Iran. I thought that this was nonsense and that a more strident response in favor of the demonstrators was the wise course, but I gave the President the benefit of the doubt.
Now that the President has spoken out, I wish he would have stayed silent.
From Jake Tapper
President Obama argued yesterday that there is little difference between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi on policies critical to the U.S.
“It’s important to understand that although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised,” the president told CNBC. “Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons. And so we’ve got long-term interests in having them not weaponize nuclear power and stop funding organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. And that would be true whoever came out on top in this election.”
How utterly, utterly, stupid. While it may be true that policy wise the two candidates are not radically different, it is completely besides the point. These protests are not about who is the better candidate from the American perspective. No, Mr President, it is about who was legally and legitimately elected in Iran.
To paraphrase another one of your predecessors, Bill Clinton. “It’s the democracy stupid!”