Joe Klein confronts Senator McCain on his Obama-Ahmadinejad smear and, while trying to justify it, gets a basic fact about Iranian leadership wrong.
Being that Ahmadinejad is such a villainous figure, John McCain has a vested interest in tying everything having to do with Iran back to him. But the fact is that Ahmadinejad wields much less political power than McCain and other neocons would have you believe. In reality, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is in charge of foreign affairs as well as the controversial nuclear program. But it's much more effective to link everything back to the Ahmadinejad boogeyman and his anti-Semitic rhetoric. It's the cheap way out and, therefore, you can expect more of it from the right.
Ilan Goldenberg of the National security Network gets it exactly right:
On top of that as Klein points out, the President's job is to educate the public on questions of policy. So if the "average American" thinks that Ahmadinejad is the ultimate leader of Iran, it's up to the President to dissuade them of this notion - not reinforce it. Back in 2002 more then half of Americans thought Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and President Bush did nothing to disprove this assumption (In fact, while never directly claiming that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 the Administration did everything it could to reinforce the notion). That doesn't mean our policy should be based on those false assumptions.
(Update: Larry Kissell is doing a Blue America live chat on FDL right now.)