This Week: Lindsey Graham Calls Obama "Timid, Passive" On Iran

[media id=8749] (h/t Dave) On one level, it's amusing to watch the Republicans as they're given carte blanche on the news shows to desperately grasp

5 years ago by David
up
(h/t Dave)

On one level, it's amusing to watch the Republicans as they're given carte blanche on the news shows to desperately grasp for those last little bits of relevance for their party; flailing about, looking for some little nugget to hold on to in order to try to raise the party out of its death spiral. On the other hand, it's just damn annoying to see the inanity and cluelessness of their tactics.

For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham, appearing on This Week, just has to criticize the Obama administration for their response to the Iranian elections. If you're on the social media sites (and are dumb enough--like me--to keep tabs on conservatives), this is a recurring meme: Obama needs to do more about the Iranian elections.

GRAHAM: He’s certainly moving in the right direction, but our point is that there is a monumental event going on in Iran, and you know, the President of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it. Other nations have been more outspoken, so I hope that we’ll hear more of this, because the young men and women taking the streets in Tehran need our support. The signs are in English. They are basically asking for us to speak up on their behalf.

Sigh. Huckleberry Graham displays the kind of American exceptionalism thinking that took the Republicans right out of office. There is absolutely NO need for Barack Obama to step into the middle of the Iranian elections and about 70 million reasons why we should not: the population of Iran must be the ones to determine their fate. Democracy is not brought from the outside, but birthed from the inside.

It's sad that the term "empathy" gets so much scorn from Republicans. I hope it's that chronic inability to see things from anywhere but one's own narrow point of view that will send the GOP the way of the Whigs. Can you imagine the outrage these Republicans, so recently concerned with fair elections, would feel if say, Saudi Arabia had commented on the results of either the 2000 or 2004 elections? I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Graham has absolutely no idea of how American meddling has contributed to the state of politics in Iran already and how dangerous it would be for the population there to have us appear to be taking sides. Even George Freakin' Will understands this:

On ABC's "This Week" earlier, George Will, hardly a liberal ally of the president, noted that he's heard the criticism of the Obama administration's tactics regarding Iran, and he finds it unpersuasive.

"The president is being roundly criticized for insufficient, rhetorical support for what's going on over there. It seems to me foolish criticism. The people on the streets know full well what the American attitude toward the regime is. And they don't need that reinforced."

Ben Armbruster noted that Peggy Noonan, another prominent conservative, also rejected the criticism aimed at the president. "To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous," she wrote, adding that "the ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week."

And further, and bless them for this, Iranians make a differentiation between the American people and the American government. Iranians actually like Americans. And they know we are supporting them. One look at Twitter and the sea of green avatars (signifying support for the protesters) and the people all over the world changing their location/time stamps to Tehran and creating proxy addresses to facilitate information getting out as the government clamped down on journalists and internet access shows that we ARE supportive and we do want their voices heard.

But sadly, there's still airtime for those petty, useless, partisan detractors like Lindsay Graham.

Transcripts below the fold

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Senator Graham, let me begin with you. Your friend Senator John McCain and many other Republicans were pressuring the president all week long to take a harder line on Iran. Did he get it right with that statement yesterday?

GRAHAM: He’s certainly moving in the right direction, but our point is that there is a monumental event going on in Iran, and you know, the President of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it. Other nations have been more outspoken, so I hope that we’ll hear more of this, because the young men and women taking the streets in Tehran need our support. The signs are in English. They are basically asking for us to speak up on their behalf.

And I appreciate what the president said yesterday, but he’s been timid and passive more than I would like, and I hope he will continue to speak truth to power.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Senator, you know what the White House has said in response. They say that they don’t want to become the players in this fight and actually make the protesters seem like they’re tools of the United States. Henry Kissinger agrees with the White House.

GRAHAM: Well, these people are not tools of anyone. They’re the ones getting killed. No one in America is getting killed over there. Any time America stands up for freedom, we’re better off. When we try to prop up dictators or remain silent, it comes back to bite us.

You know, Ronald Reagan spoke in front of the Berlin wall, he said tear it down, he’s ready to negotiate. When he was silent on the 1986 election in the Philippines, said there was fraud on both sides, that hurt the cause, so I would -- I would hope that the president would speak truth to power.

This regime is corrupt. It has blood on its hands in Iran. They’ve killed Americans in Iraq, innocent Iraqi people; now they’re killing their own people. Stand up with the protesters. That’s not meddling. That’s doing the right thing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Dodd, has the president been timid and passive, as Senator Graham says?

DODD: No, not at all. He’s the president of the United States. He’s not a member of the Senate or a columnist. He’s got a very delicate path to walk here. I think he’s been strong. You don’t want to become -- you don’t want to take ownership of this. The worst thing we could do at this moment for these reformers, these protesters, these courageous people in Tehran, is allow the government there to claim that this is a U.S.-led opposition, a U.S.-led demonstration.

This is 1979 in many ways all over again, and these are remarkable people doing remarkable things. The president has spoken out strongly. We adopted unanimously I think the other day, Lindsey, a resolution on the floor of the Senate in support of what the protesters are trying to achieve. I think it’s clear to them that we stand as a nation behind their efforts. And the president I think is handling this job as well as any president could, and that is speaking out against the unjust activities that are occurring, the violence that’s being brought against these protesters, the deaths that are occurring. That’s exactly the right message for an American president, but not taking ownership of this.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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