What Will Obama’s Critics Say Now?

What can we expect from President Barack Obama’s critics, now that he has harshly condemned Iran’s violent crackdown on those protesting the election?

1. They will say he has not gone far enough. Why did he only “strongly condemn” the “unjust actions.” Why not “unhesitatingly denounce” or “full-throatedly repudiate” or “unequivocally damn.” And, come to think of it, why did he stop at “unjust actions”? Why not “evil barbarities”? And why refer to the country as “Iran”? Why not “The Persian Devil”?

Really, they will say. Does “appalled and outraged” even scratch the surface, when President Obama could have said the United States is “seething with apocalyptic fury”?

2. They will say he did not speak up soon enough — ignoring the fact that people from former secretary of state Henry Kissinger to conservative columnist David Brooks to some of the world’s foremost Iranian experts have called Obama’s response exactly right, noting that aligning too strongly with the demonstrators will play right into the hands of the corrupt regime.

3. They will compare his response to Jimmy Carter’s response to the hostage crisis. (Really! They already are!) Because the taking of American hostages is the same thing as a disputed Iranian election.

4. They will say Obama’s response was not sincere. Because they were not in the room when the reporter asked him to elaborate on his condemnation of the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan, and the president said: “It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking.”

“This is what we’ve witnessed,” President Obama said. “We’ve seen the timeless dignity of tens of thousands of Iranians marching in silence. We’ve seen people of all ages risk everything to insist that their votes are counted and that their voices are heard.

“Above all, we’ve seen courageous women stand up to the brutality and threats, and we’ve experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets.

“While this loss is raw and extraordinarily painful, we also know this: those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.”

But Obama’s critics will no doubt come out swinging. Because he did not say: “You’re with us or you’re against us.”

5 Responses to “What Will Obama’s Critics Say Now?”

  1. Bill says:

    So, basically, unless he says “You know, everything Bush did was right, I’m totally wrong, and me and Joe hereby abdicate in favor of John and Sarah” — they’ll be unhappy? And even then, they’ll say “Well, yeah, but he’s been President since January, he stole those months from John”?

    I keep telling myself that there ARE reasonable Republicans, reasonable conservatives, whose views and premises differ from mine but whose integrity is not in question. It’s just that those aren’t the ones who shout and stamp their feet and hold their breath until they turn blue — or red. Its the noisy ones that you hear about.

    I did think that much of Barack’s press conference was more an opportuntiy to sell rather than to inform and persuade. Some of the questioners really did have fair, reasonable questions that didn’t get an honest answer. Of course, that’s by MY standards. Perhaps, to a working politician, they were damned open and honest answers.

  2. Neurotic Dem says:

    Bill,
    Thanks so much for posting.
    And I totally agree with you. I’ve been shocked at the extent of the vitriol and rage being hurled at Obama, especially out in the blogosphere, but also in the mainstream press. (See, for example, this post: http://neuroticdemocrat.com/2009/06/the-blinders-of-obamas-critics/)
    To me, the most incredible aspect of this remains the blinders: If Bush were still in office, this revolution would not be happening. Obama’s leadership enabled this. So now we want to destroy Obama for somehow failing to lead?
    I know there are Republicans with integrity. There are some in the Senate who have lauded Obama’s approach. But you’re right — the squeaky wheels get the grease.
    And your point about honesty is a good one. We’ve never seen a leader this forthright with his people. It makes him vulnerable, on the one hand. But in the bigger picture, I think, people see it as a great and welcome strength.
    -ND

  3. Loyal says:

    To your last point, ND, I find myself incredibly impressed by how well Obama balances many issues. He is damned unsatisying on a number of specific policy fronts (I think his policies are not far enough in a number of places) but perhaps his ability to keep me both dissatisfied inteh specific and admiring in general is his genius! And he IS birlliant.

    Loyal

  4. Neurotic Dem says:

    Loyal,
    I also like his pragmatism. He’s not an ideologue. I think people get that.
    Feel free always to write about the places where he is not satisfying, too!
    -ND

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