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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Obama Strikes Out

Barack Obama’s omnipresence on the national stage makes it inevitable that Rush Limbaugh will have an opportunity to play some sound bites from the Great Bloviator every day. So I thought it was particularly foolish for Obama to make cooing sounds about the Iranian election before the results were announced.

Obama Takes Credit for "Robust Debate" in Iranian Sham Election.

Rush had sound-bites of the media's focus on Obama vis-a-vis the Iranian election.

WILLIAMS: The election is being watched closely for any signs among other things that President Obama's recent Middle Eastern venture made a connection.

CAFFERTY: Can President Obama's speech to the Muslim world help defeat Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

BREWER: It's election day in Iran. The outcome could be an indication of how President's Obama's message of change is being received in the Islamic world.

NOVOTNY: President Obama delivering his historic speech to the Muslim word in Cairo, is that having any impact on today's election?

ENGEL: Obama's message to Iran and the Islamic world, that has appealed to many university students.

GREGORY: Is there an Obama effect here? A policy toward Iran of this unclenched fist, of more engagement. How do the Iranian people respond?

RUSH: This is just absurd. It is literally absurd. Whoever the mullahs want to be president is going to president, I don't care if it's Ahmadinejad or if it's Benjamin Netanyahu.
But look at what we're being set up here to believe, that Barack Obama's speech in Cairo may have so moved the people of Iran that they're going to get rid of the leadership that is provoking the world with nuclear weapons. It's not only silly and stupid, it is dangerously naive,

Referring to a “great debate” going on in Iran and referring to the election as if it were a genuinely free and fair election exhibited a combination of self-deception and ignorance that is breathtaking. But the statement he made was really just an opportunity for Obama to proclaim that his Cairo speech changed the dynamics of the Middle East so dramatically that the Iranian people would now … do what? Elect another of the mullah’s anointed? Eschew nuclear programs?

But perhaps Obama's comments were only for his domestic audience. For the fawning press coverage that he received. If that was the objective, it was a huge success. If we can overlook the aftermath.

Now that it is obvious that the old regime is firmly “re-elected” and that nothing has changed, we can be assured that America’s state run media will overlook this fiasco. It will be interesting to see how this will be turned into another Obama triumph.

The folks at Powerline refer to Obama's comments as Criminally useful idiocy

On Friday, President Obama had this to say about the election in Iran:

We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran. Whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact there has been a robust debate hopefully will advance our ability to engage them in new ways.

This was an extremely foolish comment ...

So Obama has praised an election that appears to have been a travesty. It's difficult to see how either Iran's rulers or its dissidents can view him as other than a fool -- usefully so in the case of the rulers; criminally so in the case of the dissidents.

It's true that it was foolish from a geopolitical perspective. But Obama's comments were not really about the Iranian election. As is the case in all of his pronouncements, including his global apology tours, it was all about HIM. His influence on the Middle East, his ability to bring the world together, his ability to re-shape the global economy, even his ability to show his wife a good time on a date. If there is one thing that is becoming blindingly obvious, Obama may be the most narcissistic personality ever to occupy the Presidency, and - after Bill Clinton - that's saying a lot.

There is a new poll out measuring Iranians’ opinions of the US. The AP does its best to spin the story in the most favorable light for Obama, but here are the numbers:

Just 29 percent of Iranians said they have favorable views of the United States in the latest poll, which was conducted last month. In a similar survey in February 2008 — nearly a year before Barack Obama became president — 34 percent had positive opinions about the U.S.

Now here’s the spin:

Few Iranians have favorable opinions of the United States, a view that has changed little since the election of an American president who has expressed a willingness to talk to Tehran, a rare poll of Iranian citizens showed Monday.

Changed little? The One is elected, willing to talk without pre-conditions? Able to greet Muslims in their own vernacular? And the Iranian public’s view of the US DROPS from 34% to 29%?

UPDATE: The Caucus (the NY Times blog) covered Obama's Rose Garden speech. The first comment probably reflects the opinion of the people who read - and edit - the Times.

Change We Can Believe In! I don’t think President Obama would say anything unless he had some inside info on the possible outcome of the Iranian election. It looks like the end of Ahmedinijad; let’s see how the opposition is going to chew on that one. I do have to say, the sight of all the young Iranians flashing peace signs is very promising. Yes, You Can, Too!

— Jack Cohen

Jack Cohen thinks that Obama had some inside scoop, otherwise he would not be sticking his neck out.

Sorry Jack.

Is this the change you were looking for, Jack? Is this the change we can believe in?

UPDATE 2: Let's get in the Wayback Machine and read what the UK Guardian had to say on November 5th, 2008 about the Iranian people's reaction to Obama's election.

Obama's victory has been warmly welcomed in Iran, where there is cautious optimism that he will help improve relations between the old enemies.

Iranians reacted positively to Barack Obama's election, saluting the choice of the American people in breaking with George Bush's policies and hoping - despite years of deep mutual mistrust - for better relations between Tehran and Washington.

The US and Iran have been locked in hostility for nearly three decades and are at odds over the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions, its support for groups like Hizbullah and Hamas and comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel and the Holocaust.

Passersby canvassed by the Guardian on Valiasr Avenue, Tehran's longest thoroughfare, were overwhelmingly pleased with the result and cautiously optimistic about the future.

Strangely enough, that positive view is not reflected in the latest poll. Could it be that Iranians hanker for that warmongering George Bush? Could it be that the Guardian reporter, Ian Black, is projecting his own hope and change? Could it be both?

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