Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Romney: Election Fraud In Iran? Why, It's Obama's Fault

If the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad turns out to be a fraud, as many Iranian supporters of opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi suspect, whose fault is it? Isn't it obvious? Obama's to blame. That's the conclusion of neocons Richard Perle and Frank Gaffney, whose expertise in foreign affairs was demonstrated by their advocacy for the war in Iraq.

This view is also put forth by former–and perhaps future–Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week":

Romney: The comments by the president last week, that there was a robust debate going on in Iran, was obviously entirely wrong-headed. What has occurred is the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you’re seeing a brutal repression of the people as they protest. … It’s very clear that the president’s policies of going around the world and apologizing for America aren’t working. … Look, just sweet talk and criticizing America is not going to enhance freedom in the world. (h/t Think Progress)

Stephanopoulos puts forth an alternative theory: perhaps the election victory of U.S.-backed, pro-Western forces over Hezbollah in Lebanon and the fervent support for Moussavi in Iran are related to Obama's reaching out to the Muslim world. Romney is evasive on these points:

Romney: I can't tell you what led to people running into the streets in Iran. I hope in fact that they're very anxious to see new leadership in that country. But I can tell you that the results are what I'm interested in. Is Iran still pursuing nuclear weaponry and there's no question about that.

Blaming Obama for election fraud in Iran represents pure pandering to the right wing. Here's a revelation for these conservative commentators: there are complex conditions in other countries that are not always related to what we say and do here in the United States. But if they want to contend that the election results that we dislike in Iran are Obama's fault, then they also have to state that the results that we favor in Lebanon are to Obama's credit. On that point, they're silent. And because they are, they're also intellectually dishonest.

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