My friend Joel Pollak at Big Peace catches this excellent exchange from CNN yesterday between Candy Crowley and Rick Santorum. Crowley tried to challenge Santorum’s assertion that Barack Obama has consistently offered appeasement in response to emerging threats to American security, playing Obama’s retort that we should “ask Osama bin Laden” if he’s an appeaser. Santorum doesn’t back down, however, and gives a point-by-point explanation of how Obama has blown the US response to Iran and appeased the mullahs:

CROWLEY: Appeasement? I mean this is a president who has killed more terrorists than were killed in the Bush administration. He took out Osama bin Laden. He has launched more drone attacks against terrorist targets than the Bush administration did, and yet you accuse him of appeasement–which is a very loaded word, as you know, toward terrorists.

SANTORUM: It’s a very accurate word. What President Obama was doing was continuing existing Bush policies with respect to Al Qaeda and respect to Afghanistan. I was talking about the new threats that have come up under his [Obama’s] administration. And at every single turn the President has appeased those who would do us harm. Let’s talk about President Ahmadinejad and the Iranians who are the biggest threat to Israel and to our national security. He has done nothing but appease the Iranians to say that he will negotiate, in fact did negotiate, tried to negotiate without preconditions–

CROWLEY: He imposed sanctions, did he not?

SANTORUM: He imposed weak sanctions. He opposed tough sanctions–

CROWLEY: Imposed.

SANTORUM: –and continues to oppose any meaningful sanctions, impose any meaningful sanctions on the Iranians. He has done nothing to try to stop their nuclear program. I mean we have a nuclear program that is under way. He is refusing do anything covertly or militarily to try to stop a weapon that will fundamentally change the national security position of this country and the world by having this purveyor of terror who has–

CROWLEY: Essentially, what would you like him–what would Rick Santorum do?

SANTORUM: Rick Santorum would be funding the pro-democracy movement, which President Obama has not done. It was a bill that I passed to help, I was author of back in 2006, that gave money–was supposed to give money to help the pro-democracy movement in Iran. The president has not spent a penny in Iran to try to do that. [I] would [be] imposing tougher sanctions, which the president has opposed. Number three, we would be using all of our assets to use covert activity to disrupt and destroy the capability of them to develop a missile technology, as well as nuclear technology. And fourth, I would be working with the Israelis and publicly stating that Iran must abandon this nuclear weapons program, must open it up to inspectors, or else we will work with the State of Israel to take out and degrade that capability via military force.

CROWLEY: Let me just–let me try to button this up by saying a couple things. First, I know the President has, in fact, imposed some tougher sanctions and has, in fact, said nothing’s off the table when it comes to Iran and its nuclear capabilities–

SANTORUM: Well, Candy, hold on. hold on. Candy, hold on. Stop, Candy. That’s just not true. Ask [Democratic Senator] Robert Menendez, and ask all the folks in the United States Senate who want to impose the real sanctions that will make a difference on Iran, and the president has opposed it. Now that’s just a fact. He also has recognized the state of Syria, called Assad a reformer, has continued to have an embassy there, when in fact this is a real thug that is a real threat to the State of Israel and to the stability of the region. And again, here’s the interesting link. It [Syria] is a client state of Iran–the greatest area he has appeased is Iran, which is the greatest threat and here he is, recognizing Assad, setting up an ambassadorship with a client state of Iran who is a great funder of Hezbollah, a threat to Israel and the region. You go to Egypt. Again, he supported the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salafists, as it turns out, into overthrowing an ally in Egypt. There is a consistent pattern of contingencies that have come up under this administration where he has opposed the freedom fighters and has gone with the radical Islamists. That is a problem for the security of Israel and our country.

CROWLEY: Okay. let me move you on. I think we could probably go round and round a couple times on this…

People have forgotten Obama’s response to the Green Revolution in the first summer of his presidency.  While Iranians went out into the streets and challenged the mullahs, the Obama White House initially endorsed the legitimacy of the cooked election that prompted the protests.  All through the summer, Obama did nothing to back the Green Revolution, instead holding out hope that he could convince the mullahs to negotiate in good faith to end their nuclear-weapons program if he remained on the sidelines during the protest.

While we will never know if American support would have enabled the protestors to overthrow the mullahs, we do know that Obama’s appeasement then and ever since of the mullahs has not produced an iota of difference in their pursuit of nuclear weapons.  In the long run, the mullahs present a more significant threat to the region and to the US than al-Qaeda did when Obama took office, and while Obama was in a rush to throw the nominal American ally Hosni Mubarak under a bus when protests broke out _- waiting less than two weeks to demand that he step down from power — Obama never issued such a call to Iran’s mullahs, nor their Syrian toady Bashar al-Assad.  In fact, we’re in the process of restoring our diplomatic contacts with Assad.

This is a good moment for Santorum, and a desperately needed spotlight on one of the key failures of this administration.