Republicans think the president needs to do more
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the president's opponent in the 2008 election, said Obama should "be stronger than he has been" with Iran and suggested European heads of state were showing more leadership than Obama on the issue.
"I think we ought to have America lead. When you look at the statements by President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Brown have been much stronger. We should lead. And I also think he should point out that this is not just an Iranian issue. This is an American issue -- what we're all about," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
He said he's not in favor of "sending arms" or "fomenting violence," but that the United States needs to "be on the right side of history." Protesters view last week's election as rigged.
Democrats think the president needs to do less:
There is an inherent risk, though, in aligning too publicly with the protesters in Iran. The White House and some Democrats argue that speaking out too vociferously against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ruling clerics will only give ammunition to the regime and allow them to cast the opposition as a U.S.-backed uprising.
"I think the president is handling a rapidly evolving, very complex situation about as well as you can expect," said Evan Bayh, D-Ind., member of the Senate intelligence committee. "He has put us clearly on the side of the reformers, clearly on the side of fair and free elections, clearly condemned the violence. But he's done it in a smart way.
"This regime is rapidly losing legitimacy with its own people. ...We should not let them change the narrative to one of being meddling Americans," Bayh told "FOX News Sunday."
President Ahmedinejhad's brilliant diplomacy with the United States has won his regime a gift of perhaps incalculable value: the disabling of official United States criticism of his repression of the electoral protests. President Obama seems more concerned about protecting his party's re-election in 2010 from charges of "Who lost Iran?" than actually supporting his country's interests in the Middle East. Why is this?
Abstractly speaking, Obama and the Democrats are arguing that American criticism of Iran will ipso facto
religitimize the Iranian regime. Or in other words, opposing evil only makes evil stronger. As you might recall, the origin of the idea that opposing evil only makes evil stronger is the Cold War propaganda of the Soviet Union. To the great delight of the Soviet leaders, a large fraction of the American public not only agreed with this idea but internalized it despite the fact that adhering to this belief is obviously self-defeating.
Consider, for example, the recent Bush Administration's defense of its anti-terror policies, which consisted of steadfastly refusing to give any defense of its anti-terror policies. In recent weeks, both former Vice President Cheney and Bush himself have been williing to defend these decisions, but officially, the Bush White house left it to the conservative media to bother to do this. The problem, ultimately, was that the Bush White House had been "captured" by Republican moderates who believed that defending the Bush anti-terror regime would only weaken the Bush anti-terror regime more rapidly than doing nothing at all.
Or consider last year's blockbuster film "Batman: The Dark Knight". At the start the film, Batman's crusade against crime is revealed to have been so successful that Gotham City law enforcement is on the verge of declaring "checkmate" in its war with organized crime. The organized crime bosses become desperate and decide to put all of their resources in the hands of a psycopathic madman named the Joker, who uses this windfall of criminal power to wage war against civilization itself. By the end of the film, Gotham City is practically under martial law, national guard troops have been called in to maintain order, and Batman is pushing his conscience beyond its limits in attempting to restrain the Joker. The message of the film is simple and clear: attempting to defeat organized crime is only going to make organized crime more dangerous than ever before.
I think it's clear that President Obama has been drinking the communist kool-aid in this respect. The only question know is how much more damage that will do to American interests around the world.