Video: Bollinger’s rebuke to a “petty and cruel dictator”; Update: Students cheer Ahmadinejad’s rebuke to Bollinger

posted at 4:32 pm on September 24, 2007 by Allahpundit

If you believe the Columbia Spectator, everyone’s had a change of heart and the calls of support for having hosted Ahmadinejad are flooding in to the university switchboard. Whether that’s because Bollinger seized the opportunity to humiliate him a bit or whether it’s just alumni groovin’ on Mahdi’s good vibes, no one can say. The students sure seemed to like him, didn’t they?

CJ e-mails to ask if I’m really “surprised” at Bollinger going after him. I guess not — like I said, he had to do it to save face — but based on what I’m hearing about the moderator of the National Press Club event this morning chuckling his way through Ahmadinejad’s speech, he surely could have gotten away with going a bit easier on him.

Think of this as the right-wing version of Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last year. And for the record, the money line is wrong: Ahmadinejad may be many things but a dictator he isn’t. That honor falls to Khamenei; this turd is just the mouthpiece.

Update: Here’s the transcript of Ahmadinejad’s speech and the Q&A. The response at the beginning to Bollinger:

I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all.

Certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak, and that’s fine with me. We’ll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that’s given to us in this country.

Many parts of his speech, there were many insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully.

Update: Here’s Ahmadinejad taking the mic after Bollinger and reminding the useful idiots assembled how superior non-western cultures treat their invited guests. Big cheers. Click the image to watch.

mahd-c3.jpg


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Nonetheless, a day of infamy.

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 4:33 PM

Heh. Let him in the place thinking he’s gonna get the usual lefty platitudes, then ream him.

It’s a start.

Bob's Kid on September 24, 2007 at 4:36 PM

I was highly impressed with Bollinger’s speech. I was suspecting some softballs and was treated to a nasty slider.

Everything after the speech was the usual. No direct answers, counter-accusations, question the question… but I think Bollinger’s speech made it worth it. If we can keep him away from Ground Zero I’ll be pretty happy.

BadgerHawk on September 24, 2007 at 4:40 PM

Oh, and for anyone who says he was only being tough because he had to be, who cares?

BadgerHawk on September 24, 2007 at 4:40 PM

Says the dude,

“It is an experiment [having Ahmadinejad speak here], as all life is an experiment.”

Actually, no. Life is not an experiment. You can’t control the experiment’s parameters, you can’t repeat, you can’t rollback.

Unlike in experiments, in real life the casualties are real.

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 4:42 PM

When you refer to “the students” who were at the speech, bear in mind that most of them are from SIPA, the School of International and Public Affairs. It’s not exactly representative of the rest of the students on campus.

Big S on September 24, 2007 at 4:42 PM

Boo-Yah!

Take that, you friggin’ midget!!!!!

omnipotent on September 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM

i think its good that we hear from Ahmedinejad.

Look if there is ever to be war on Iran, and i pray there isnt, let it not be the result of some percieved myth. Today we saw him not translation error, he was frank, we can make of what he said what we will. Every man and woman in the USA and around the world can make there own judgment.

This is exactly what makes us great, today we heard the president of Iran unfiltered. Do his words justify war against his nation? We are all in a better place to judge after today imo. For better or worse, unfiltered is the way to go.

zane on September 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 4:42 PM

a well put point although i disagree, all of life is trial and error, an experiment in its most basic form. It is true though that in this great experiment we undertake, the casualties are real, and horrendous, hence we must remember the past experiments of life and of our history.

zane on September 24, 2007 at 4:47 PM

It is brilliant in its simplicity.

Feed his ego by inviting him to what he thinks is a friendly environment, then poke him in the eye with his own nuttiness.

I dont give a tinker’s damn WHY Bollinger went high and to the Right. I do NOT care. Lib or not, he did it and GOOD ON HIM.

Makes me even more relieved that I turned down that partial scholarship to Columbia Law all those CENTURIES (!) ago. I’d hate to have to LIKE a LIB. EVAH.

seejanemom on September 24, 2007 at 4:51 PM

columbia administrators looked the other way when campus progressives physically shut down a presentation by border enforcement advocates and pursued the matter only by clamping down on subsequent non-progressive events. so, this is a bunch of face-saving lies.

jummy on September 24, 2007 at 4:51 PM

Can we have the Mahdi’s speech as well – hear that it was a hoot. I also want to confirm whether there was the halo ;-]

infidelpride on September 24, 2007 at 4:53 PM

I see your point Zane. Regardless of what we do about that beady-eyed little monkey, the left cannot say we’re basing it on conservative talking points. It’s out there, warts and more warts, for everyone to see.

It’s made all the more stinging whenever he starts parroting leftist moonbat talking points (i.e. Abu Grahib, Gitmo, “warrantless wiretaps,” etc, etc.)

Funny how our KNOWN enemies and a certain political party in this country sound exactly the same when they open their mouths.

Who in their right mind would vote for someone our enemies openly endorse?

I’ll say it again. Who in their RIGHT MIND….??

CurtZHP on September 24, 2007 at 4:54 PM

Yada, yada, yada.
By now, Ahmadinejad has put everything out of his mind…. what little of that there is.

ToddonCapeCod on September 24, 2007 at 4:54 PM

I still think Bollinger was very wrong to get up and give this man a podium. As Bush said, the only thing Ahmadinejad gets out of this is an opportunity to promote propaganda to the Arab world. Ahmadinejad was not going to use that forum as an opportunity to engage in a serious debate or dialogue, and everyone knew it. Bollinger thought he could satisfy his university’s hate-America-first, leftist proclivities by bringing Ahmadinejad in and by (apparently) restricting attendance and audience participation in order to avoid serious questions being thrown at him. He then attempted to balance it by using his 15 minute (!) introduction to: (i) make the claim that participation in the World Leaders Forum does not imply the university supports his talk; (ii) condemn him for having political academic prisoners, denying the Holocaust, and persecuting women and gays; and (iii) at the end, throw cheap insults at Ahmadinejad by saying “I doubt you have the intellectual integrity to respond meaningfully, but your dodges will just show us how weak you are!” (Or words to that effect) In all, while Bollinger’s words may have been fine, the rhetorical significance of his introduction was impotent and gave me the impression he was going through the motions and was trying to satisfy other leftie bases in his university constituency.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Bollinger!

That said, I’ll be interested to see a transcript of his entire appearance. . .

Outlander on September 24, 2007 at 4:55 PM

jummy on September 24, 2007 at 4:51 PM

somehow i think columbia got on just fine without “saving face”

dont dismiss this because you feel burned. the guy did the right thing, dont take that away from him

ernesto on September 24, 2007 at 4:56 PM

zane on September 24, 2007 at 4:47 PM

I’d rather not experiment with the security of Israel.

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 4:58 PM

This is exactly what makes us great,

sorry Zane, the act of hearing something that you presume to be “unfiltered” is NOT what makes this country great.

unfiltered is the way to go.

What you fail to realize is that he IS the filter! What you got today was precisely tailored for a particular audiences consumption. It wasn’t raw, it was prepared. It wasn’t unfiltered, he is the filter of the theocratic leaders above him.

Weight of Glory on September 24, 2007 at 4:59 PM

Somone else stated something very profound. It is interesting how Columbia (and other liberals) will give “free speech” to those who take freedoms away, but not give free speech to those whos freedoms were stolen.

It reminds me of criminals who are given their chance to speak, but no one cares about the victims.

right2bright on September 24, 2007 at 4:59 PM

Wow. I think Bollinger’s got more balls than George.

MadisonConservative on September 24, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Actually, no. Life is not an experiment. You can’t control the experiment’s parameters, you can’t repeat, you can’t rollback.

Unlike in experiments, in real life the casualties are real.

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 4:42 PM

Absolutely!

thejackal on September 24, 2007 at 5:03 PM

no. he had to say what he said. both the part about ahmedinijad being a mere thug and the part about having a broad tollerance of all points of view. he needed to speak both in order to bring ahmadinejad on campus, when in fact he believes neither.

jummy on September 24, 2007 at 5:06 PM

Bollinger is disingenuous as can be. But since he is now on a terrorist hit list, I’ll give him some credit.

SoulGlo on September 24, 2007 at 5:06 PM

A-Jad got louder applause than Columbia’s prez. He also got more representation than the ROTC program.

At least he didn’t get to take a victory lap at Ground Zero.

MaiDee on September 24, 2007 at 5:07 PM

I can’t emphasize how much it matters to have the liberal leaders of academic institutions criticize the Iranian regime publicly like Bollinger did. It helps to make it “safe” for liberals to criticize Iranian actions without being accused by their peers of Bush-lovin’. We need more of that.

Big S on September 24, 2007 at 5:07 PM

there is nothing to commend this in fact cowardly display.

if the content of his speech were being spoken by a conservative on his campus, he’d have had the event shut down and the sponsoring group’s privleges abbridged for violating speech codes.

his utterances of some things which are the truth for a change is nothing more than paying the ferryman’s toll to bring this thug over to our shores.

jummy on September 24, 2007 at 5:10 PM

i think its good that we hear from Ahmedinejad.

Look if there is ever to be war on Iran, and i pray there isnt, let it not be the result of some percieved myth. Today we saw him not translation error, he was frank, we can make of what he said what we will. Every man and woman in the USA and around the world can make there own judgment.

This is exactly what makes us great, today we heard the president of Iran unfiltered. Do his words justify war against his nation? We are all in a better place to judge after today imo. For better or worse, unfiltered is the way to go.

zane on September 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM

Yes, today we saw a man who lied in answer to every single question he was asked. Today we saw a man who only told the truth on accident, when he inadvertently admitted to building a nuclear weapon and that he intended to use it against Israel.

doriangrey on September 24, 2007 at 5:10 PM

Do his words justify war against his nation?

zane on September 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM

Answer: Yes.

Unless Mr Ahmadinejad can plausibly explain how he intends to generate electricity for peaceful purposes out of those MRBMs.

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 5:16 PM

Bollinger is a big man. I bet he could kick the sh*t out of Ahmadinejad.

Christoph on September 24, 2007 at 5:17 PM

This isn’t a free speech issue. This isn’t about whether he has a right. This is about whether is it right or wrong. You do not give this lunatic a platform to speak while United States soldiers are dying at the hands of his regime.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,297777,00.html

He is an enemy of the state. When you give him this debating platform, you are legitimizing his opinions and perspective. He does not deserve a debate at the hands of an American University. He is a Jew-hating fascist that wants to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth and spread Neo-Islamic fascism principles. He represents all that is wrong and evil in this world and Columbia University is giving him his platform to spew his propaganda. We are at war and Columbia University should be ashamed. They should have any federal funds pulled immediately. This is the same University that doesn’t let ROTC on campus but lets a leader of a terrorist state spew his propaganda.

Absolutely appalling!

msipes on September 24, 2007 at 5:21 PM

AP the BBC just showed the meeting Ahmedinejad went to after the speech at columbia, him meeting “jewish leaders”, a whole room of the anti israel orthodox.

Will try and find a link.

zane on September 24, 2007 at 5:24 PM

sorry looks like it was before the speech,

Earlier, the Iranian president met the leaders of an anti-Zionist Jewish group.

Mr Ahmadinejad, who last year upbraided the US in his speech to the general assembly, met the leaders of a the Neturei Karta International movement, which describes itself as an Orthodox Jewish group opposed to the existence of the state of Israel.

link

zane on September 24, 2007 at 5:29 PM

link

zane on September 24, 2007 at 5:30 PM

This isn’t a free speech issue.

msipes on September 24, 2007 at 5:21 PM

Agreed. And since when does freedom of speech, as intended in the Constitution, cover non-Americans on American soil?

JetBoy on September 24, 2007 at 5:31 PM

is there a transcript of Bollingers statement yet?

ctmom on September 24, 2007 at 5:34 PM

Providing a terrorist with a respectable platform is a suicidal folly that is not lessened by the provider first mildly criticizing said terrorist.

Terrorists do not require debate, but demand war.

Until they’re no longer able to act out their homicidal lunacies.

The only podium they need, a tombstone.

Bollinger is first of all a fool for providing Mahmoud this venue, and secondly he is a cartoon of “free speech” for then barking like a toothless chihuahua in the face of such a brutal, world-class predator. A jihad reptile who mocks Bollinger’s meaningless yapping by simply standing on the same stage with him.

Proximity says more than verbiage.

If you accept equality with a maniac, you become less than the maniac.

I guess they stopped teaching critical thinking in college?

profitsbeard on September 24, 2007 at 5:34 PM

Would Columbia welcome the president of Austria to come and speak? He has never denied the Holocaust but they wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole. But they welcome this guy.

The difference: One is a white Christian, the other is a brown muslim. If you are a brown muslim, you can be as anti-semetic as you like and the left will love every inch of you. If you come from Austria, the left will froth at the mouth at the mere mention of your name.

We have never had such a racist dynamic in the West. And what is so disturbing, is that it is not shared by the uneducated hicks. It is a racism of the elite classes, the very people that will soon be occupying the seats of power.

jihadwatcher on September 24, 2007 at 5:37 PM

i think its good that we hear from Ahmedinejad.

Look if there is ever to be war on Iran, and i pray there isnt, let it not be the result of some percieved myth. Today we saw him not translation error, he was frank, we can make of what he said what we will. Every man and woman in the USA and around the world can make there own judgment.

This is exactly what makes us great, today we heard the president of Iran unfiltered. Do his words justify war against his nation? We are all in a better place to judge after today imo. For better or worse, unfiltered is the way to go.

zane on September 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM

I’m sorry, but I have to say that I find your view on this silly.

Yes, today we saw a man who lied in answer to every single question he was asked. Today we saw a man who only told the truth on accident, when he inadvertently admitted to building a nuclear weapon and that he intended to use it against Israel.

doriangrey on September 24, 2007 at 5:10 PM

Dorian, now you’re making comments I can get on board with. But sadly, we are such a gullible people that folks don’t even stop for a minute to say “wait, could he be lying”? It’s the same reason Truthers are growing in numbers, because we are so trained to think “someone wouldn’t blatantly lie to a broad audeince about the facts, because they know they’d get caught”, when in reality it happens all the time, and with the current state of our media, often without challenge. Allah illustrates my point:

If you believe the Columbia Spectator, everyone’s had a change of heart and the calls of support for having hosted Ahmadinejad are flooding in to the university switchboard. Whether that’s because Bollinger seized the opportunity to humiliate him a bit or whether it’s just alumni groovin’ on Mahdi’s good vibes, no one can say. The students sure seemed to like him, didn’t they?

Folks (especially Bush haters, because “my enemy’s enemy” and all that) will overlook the realities in Iran, and choose, without reason, to take Ahmadinejad at his word about how great and free Iran is, and how women are revered, etc. It’s just in our nature to think “well, he’s not saying ‘Death To America’, so maybe he’s not the terrorist we all thought”. They’ll forget about the gay murders, the funding of killings of Americans in Iraq, etc. and the fact that he didn’t respond to questions about it. Instead saying “But if he was a terrorist, would he have said they love their women!?” People are f***ing idiots!

They’ll miss the fact that he threw the Truthers a bone, and insinuated that someone other than 19 Muslim terrorists were behind 9/11, “because he was just such a nice and likable guy”

What’s frightening is this ain’t just Columbia, this is universities all across the country who are full of these morons.

Going back to Zane’s comment, I’m not going to reiterate further at the moment what I said in another thread earlier, so I’ll just copy and paste some:

And as much as I hate Shep Smith, he (politely, much more so than I’d have been) gave it to this Columbia Sophomore after the speech. He asked if elevating the status of this guy would be a good idea, given that there are fence sitters in Iran. She said (paraphrasing because I don’t have the exact quote) “Well I think they can make up their own minds after hearing Bolinger’s truth, and the fact that he wouldn’t answer a lot of questions is telling”, etc. Shep was like “Do you really think that Iranians will see that part?” Deer. In. Headlights. She had nothing left to say but “Uh, well, I hope…”

RightWinged on September 24, 2007 at 3:42 PM

RightWinged on September 24, 2007 at 5:38 PM

I want to beleive, after hearing this Bollinger speech, that the Bush Admin was behind it and this was all a ruse. somehow got Bollinger on their side, and gave the speech they wanted without the “bush baggage”? and the ultimate goal of this is to shift the debate on the far left driving american politics today on this issue, into a more sane area???

or just face saving.

jp on September 24, 2007 at 5:39 PM

Ya gotta know that this audience was stacked with anti-Bush people.

Lawrence on September 24, 2007 at 5:39 PM

I didn’t get a chance to hear him earlier today.

Yes, Bollinger did a great job. But again, the propaganda platform for Ahmadinejad overwhelms anything else.

Although it is really sweet to see how pissed off Mad Mahmoud got at being “insulted”–twice–today.

Meryl Yourish on September 24, 2007 at 5:42 PM

Bollinger was tough but only because he was forced into it. It is no virtue of his. Next, people will praise him for being tough on Charles Manson after inviting him for dinner. The fact that he refused to host a Minuteman shows his true politics. It’s easy to denounce a dictator. He is on safe territory. It is not so safe to let a real American speak to the youth. That might make a conservative impression. They can’t allow that to happen.

Reminds me of a scene from the Simpsons, when Homer was being exceptionally nasty to Flanders in his own home. Eventually Flanders “grew a pair”. Said Flanders, “As a guest in my house, I am required to offer you a beer. But I’m so darn diddely mad, this beer’s going to be mostly head.”

Three cheers for Flanders and Bollinger. Men of our time.

jihadwatcher on September 24, 2007 at 5:47 PM

It is a racism of the elite classes, the very people that will soon be occupying the seats of power.

jihadwatcher on September 24, 2007 at 5:37 PM

Very true. The “elite classes” would like you to believe that racism is a bird only found in the fever swamps of the uneducated.

Actually, it’s the other way ’round. If you’re doing 9-to-5 and come home exhausted you’d hardly have time to “research the Israeli-Arab conflict”, and hard workers don’t just wake up the next day and exclaim, “I got it! Zionism is the root of all evil.” In order to delude yourself in such a way it takes ample time and a mind that’s trained to conjure up abstract fantasies.

Both of which are typically found among the “elite classes”.

Niko on September 24, 2007 at 5:51 PM

I have no idea how this will all play out, nor can I speak to Bollinger’s motivation. But good for him. It was great to hear, and unexpected. Bollinger’s introduction reminded me how much I miss John Bolton.

Dork B. on September 24, 2007 at 5:57 PM

But I should add, this lunatic should never have been allowed to set foot in this country. Not for the UN, not for this. Bollinger may have handed him his lunch, but the invitation to speak was disgraceful.

Dork B. on September 24, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Just now listened to NPR’s top of the hour reporting on today’s travesty at Columbia. They make mention of Laughter at Mahmoud’s Denial of the existence of Iranian homosexuality as if there were some how appropriate derision for this beast. More over there was no mention of the loud cheers of support for the islamofascist from the assembled. In a three sentence bulletin, they highlighted Bollinger’s rebuke but the over all impression they seemed to want to give is that nothing unusual is going on.

Nyog_of_the_Bog on September 24, 2007 at 6:19 PM

What bothered me about the speech by the Prez of Columbia was how he didn’t mention the persecution of Christians in Iran which is FAR worse then what gays and others have been through…typical pee cee thought from academia……especially for the thousands of apostates in Persia…nary a word….

Albertanator on September 24, 2007 at 6:29 PM

Folks (especially Bush haters, because “my enemy’s enemy” and all that) will overlook the realities in Iran, and choose, without reason, to take Ahmadinejad at his word about how great and free Iran is, and how women are revered, etc. It’s just in our nature to think “well, he’s not saying ‘Death To America’, so maybe he’s not the terrorist we all thought”. They’ll forget about the gay murders, the funding of killings of Americans in Iraq, etc. and the fact that he didn’t respond to questions about it. Instead saying “But if he was a terrorist, would he have said they love their women!?” People are f***ing idiots!
RightWinged on September 24, 2007 at 5:38 PM

Absolutely correct. I’ve spent a little time on the C&L comments today challenging this very nuanced blind spot. Effing fools, all of them. Their hatred of Bush overrides every bit of common sense they have. Their response? “What, you want to start a war to save the gays?” Brilliant.
I usually try my damnedest to find common ground, but I can honestly say I’m completely disgusted with their ignorance on this.

SouthernDem on September 24, 2007 at 6:40 PM

They’ll miss the fact that he threw the Truthers a bone, and insinuated that someone other than 19 Muslim terrorists were behind 9/11, “because he was just such a nice and likable guy”

But you’re wrong on this. It will only make them like him more.

SouthernDem on September 24, 2007 at 6:41 PM

Their hatred of Bush overrides every bit of common sense they have.

SouthernDem on September 24, 2007 at 6:40 PM

Well there’s your problem right there, you assume that liberals have common sense. If they did, they wouldn’t be liberals…

doriangrey on September 24, 2007 at 6:52 PM

doriangrey on September 24, 2007 at 6:52 PM

I know, at this point I’m just deluding myself.

SouthernDem on September 24, 2007 at 6:59 PM

Hang the CSMF and send everyone who applauded him to Iran.

Air drop should do. (Parachutes optional)

ticticboom on September 24, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Hang the CSMF and send everyone who applauded him to Iran.

Air drop should do. (Parachutes optional)

ticticboom on September 24, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Nope, Parachutes are way to expensive to waste like that.

doriangrey on September 24, 2007 at 7:05 PM

Absolutely correct. I’ve spent a little time on the C&L comments today challenging this very nuanced blind spot. Effing fools, all of them. Their hatred of Bush overrides every bit of common sense they have. Their response? “What, you want to start a war to save the gays?” Brilliant.
I usually try my damnedest to find common ground, but I can honestly say I’m completely disgusted with their ignorance on this.

SouthernDem on September 24, 2007 at 6:40 PM

Actually, that might be one thing you could get these libs behind a war for.

Charles Krauthammer made a great point on Special Report… the students didn’t boo Ahmadinejads attacks on Bush, the United States, Israel, etc… but when he said gays don’t exist, the crowd just wouldn’t stand for it. It’s so true, attack Christians, Jews, Republicans, the military, the United States, traditionalism… but don’t you dare talk bad about the gays!

RightWinged on September 24, 2007 at 7:14 PM

In regards to Ahmadinejad reading from the Koran I would have thought that all that talk about a Deity would upset Columbia more then anything. I would like to see a Christian there be able to recite from the Bible.

Irenaeus on September 24, 2007 at 7:30 PM

America, land of the free… home of the retarded.

Griz on September 24, 2007 at 7:55 PM

It’s becoming painfully obvious that this country will deserve whatever it gets.

Griz on September 24, 2007 at 7:56 PM

It’s becoming painfully obvious that this country will deserve whatever it gets.

Griz on September 24, 2007 at 7:56 PM

Being that 9/11 didn’t wake up the sheep, I fear we are in for a painful, protracted fight for survival.

deepdiver on September 24, 2007 at 8:24 PM

Note that they masked out the name of the venue (Hattip to Michael Savage’s radio show). Are they ashamed to be associated with their own program.

I also read somewhere that the Iranians released from prison someone from Columbia about two weeks ago (blackmail anyone).

davod on September 24, 2007 at 8:42 PM

Monday, Sep. 24, 2007
Why Iran’s Ahmadinejad Loves New York
By Tony Karon

The Cheshire Cat smile worn by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his address at Columbia University on Monday was no surprise — the event was a resounding victory for the Iranian president. Of course, students and faculty in the hall jeered many of his comments, while protestors outside denounced him as the new Hitler. And Columbia University president Lee Bollinger — clearly stung by criticism of the institution for hosting Ahmadinejad — used his introduction to excoriate the Iranian leader as everything from a “cruel and petty dictator” to “astonishingly uneducated.” But all of this was merely grist for Ahmadinejad. The furor it had created ensured that what might have passed as a relatively obscure address in a small Ivy League auditorium turned into a national media event, in which the Iranian president had the microphone, unmolested, for the best part of an hour.

New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, had criticized Columbia for hosting Ahmadinejad, warning that “All he will do on that stage … is spew more hatred and more venom out there to the world.” Not quite. Despite the harsh words of his host, Bollinger, Ahmadinejad stayed on message, appearing relaxed, reasonable, open, even charismatic. Whether or not American TV audiences are seduced is beside the point, because Ahmadinejad’s primary audience is not American. The provocations of his New York visit are an integral part of his domestic political strategy, which depends on his ability to hold America’s national attention with an unapologetically nationalist message about Iran’s nuclear rights, lecturing them about God and their aim to run the world.

It was pure political ju-jitsu, using the momentum of your adversaries to your own advantage. The protestors got him on TV, and he used the platform to grandstand for the folks back home. He will share an even bigger global platform with President Bush on Tuesday, at the lectern of the U.N. General Assembly. The two men won’t appear together, of course, but each is making a pitch for international support in the showdown over Iran’s nuclear issue. But Ahmedinajad appeared to steal a march on Bush Monday by virtue of his televised propaganda show at Columbia.

Challenged on his statements questioning the Holocaust, for example, Ahmadinejad cleverly turned the issue around, asking, “Why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price for an event they had nothing to do with?” That argument may not get much sympathy with an American audience, but championing the Palestinian cause helps Iran’s strategy of undermining the moderate Arab regimes allied with Washington.

Ahmadinejad’s primary audience, however, is in Iran, because — despite Bollinger’s assertion that he is a dictator — the Iranian president faces reelection in 2009. As things stand, his failure to deliver on the economic promises he made in his first campaign and the deterioration of Iran’s global position puts him at substantial risk of losing to the more pragmatic elements in the Iranian leadership, who are already campaigning against him. Playing the nuclear card as an expression of Iranian national pride has always been part of his domestic political game, and the breathless television coverage his visit has prompted in the U.S. won’t do his domestic prospects any harm.

MB4 on September 24, 2007 at 8:42 PM

The free speech proponents forget that the ratbag doesn’t give a rats what we say or do in the US. His words, and where he spoke, will be broadcast around the world as a good thing for Isalm. The Dhimmis welcome the prophet’s servant.

davod on September 24, 2007 at 8:51 PM

Bollinger had no business playing “State Department” in this fashion. He neither represents nor speaks for Americans at large, and inviting Little Big Man to a televised verbal spanking was just a gutless stunt that accomplished nothing.

No one but the President and his State Department should speak on our behalf. Unfortunately, POTUS went AWOL and the void was filled.

T J Green on September 24, 2007 at 9:37 PM

You know, at this point, I’m up to believing that the libs and Columbia student’s brains were eaten by zombies, aliens removed them at night while they slept, or they were born with out any biological brains and are surviving by some Clinton funded nano-technology black project. Otherwise, I don’t know what else to believe that might explain them. Reality, rationality, and logic no longer apply anymore.

Tuari on September 25, 2007 at 12:44 AM

Bollinger is incredibly arrogant and dare I say, “offensive”.

Right out of the box he begin saying, We at this university have not been shy to protest and challenge the failures of our own government to live by these values.

It is one thing to say that vital issues should be debated; It is quite an other for Bollinger to decide for the rest of what defines “failure”.

Keep in mind that when Bollinger says that Ahmadinijead is “astonishingly uneducated” he feels the same way about Bush and Republicans.

We’re just a bunch of ignorant yahoos, dontcha know.

Buy Danish on September 25, 2007 at 12:17 PM

Excellent point, BD… I’ve been saying the same thing to everybody I know and the Left-leaning of us don’t shy away from the accusation that they see Bush and Republicans, in general, just the way you described it. In fact, they usually admit it eagerly. The simple fact that they see no difference between Bush and the Mulah-animated puppet president is all one needs to learn in order to come to the conclusion that Liberals are completely devoid od any sense of reality regarding most important issues and perhaps even the most basic of matters as well.

Rugged Individual on September 25, 2007 at 10:47 PM