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Flotsam and Jetsam

On a day of brutal repression in Iran, following a week in which Obama’s domestic policies imploded and his poll numbers tumbled, the Saturday morning headline from Politico blared “Obama’s Top Ten Quips From Last Night.” If politics is nothing but gossip and celebrity worship, what’s the point?

Speaking of which, all Maureen Dowd can write about is the fly incident: “The moment may have resonated so much because some Americans fear that President Obama is too prone to negotiation, comity and splitting the difference, that he could have been tougher on avaricious banks and vicious Iranian dictators.” Maybe it resonated with his media sycophants who have the queasy feeling they have over-sold and over-hyped a Jimmy Carter re-tred.

The Claire McCaskill-Pat Buchanan-Ron Paul alliance on Iran policy. Will they now be upset with the president’s tougher rhetoric?

On Obama’s newly-stiffened spine, Rich Lowry writes: “Obama’s prior stance had become so supine and embarrassing that even Nick Burns had changed his tune, telling the WSJ today: ‘I think it is important that Iranian government should hear that they are rapidly losing credibility. This speech [Khamenei's yesterday] may give President Obama more of a pretext to speak out on this.’ Anyway, good for Obama for beginning to step up. And bless those breathtakingly brave men and women out in the streets of Iran.”

Don’t get your hopes up: “Despite increasingly intense Republican criticism, and the passage of resolutions in the House and Senate on Friday that were tougher than the president’s words, U.S. officials say they will stick to their current course. They say there is not much the United States can do to influence the situation — except make it worse for the opposition — but they have begun planning for the administration’s response if the crackdown turns very violent.” They seem not to think much of the United States or its president, do they? Perhaps if they did not assume everyone thinks as poorly of America as they do these officials would have more confidence and adopt some of the suggested steps for aiding the protesters.

Not pleased with the president: “Hundreds of people protested in front of the White House Saturday calling on President Obama to denounce Iran’s presidential elections. Demonstrators say they want President Obama to seek help from the United Nations and ask for a re-election or recount in the country. They say the White House’s inaction over what’s happening in Iran does not look good because the rest of the world looks to the U.S. for leadership.”

James Kirchick explains that “it is becoming increasingly clear that those who harbored suspicions about Obama’s approach to the Middle East had good reason to be worried. A confluence of factors — including his administration’s undue pressure on Israel, a conciliatory approach to authoritarian Muslim regimes, and the baseless linkage of the failed ‘peace process’ to the curtailment of the Iranian nuclear program — point to what could become ‘the greatest disagreement between the two countries in the history of their relationship,’ as Middle East expert Robert Satloff recently told Newsweek.” In the immortal words of James Baker. . . well . . . know you. But this time they did vote for the president, which makes the betrayal all the more appalling.

Once again France takes the lead: “Thousands of people gathered north of Paris on Saturday to support Iranian opposition protesters and an Iranian exile group pushing to be rid of a terrorist label. Crowds spilled out of buses and filled the fairground in Villepinte under drizzly skies. Organizers said 1,000 buses were hired to bring protesters from around France and Europe, including legislators from several countries.The rally was organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Organizers said 90,000 people turned out.”

Andrew Malcolm makes a good point: is Obama’s quoting of Martin Luther King, Jr. meant for domestic consumption or does he finally care about what Iranian people hear?

Marco Rubio is on a roll.



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