Mind you, this comes on a day when he used the words “rise up” in a plea to, um, America’s dads. Is this a step up or a step down from the “deep concerns” he expressed earlier this week? Doesn’t matter, really. Even at 40 seconds, this bit of diplomatic Obamaspeak feels like an eternity, but the gist of it is that the “international community” — i.e. Russia and China, the swing votes on the Security Council — is supposedly getting a hard lesson about just how brutal and corrupt Iran’s regime is, as if (a) that was ever in doubt, (b) Russia and China aren’t just as bad, and (c) there are any remaining sanctions that could still be imposed that would get Iran to give up its nuke program. Even reliable Obama fans like David Ignatius are now calling for firmer support for the protesters, but I have a hunch The One’s biding his time to see how things shake out tomorrow. There’s a massive rally planned for 4 p.m. to be led by Mousavi; maybe the reformists will back down, in which case encouragement now from Obama will look like an epic fail, or maybe they’ll follow through and end up in a de facto civil war with Iranian security (it’s not as unlikely as you think), in which case encouragement now from Obama will look like proximate cause. If the protests drag on through the weekend, in open defiance of Khamenei’s warning at prayers this morning — and it sure sounds like they will — The One will have to start taking them seriously and recalibrate accordingly.
In case Ed hasn’t mentioned it elsewhere today, the House passed a resolution supporting the protesters 405-1, with our libertarian Pope the lone no vote against liberty. See, he’s against commenting on the affairs of other sovereign nations as a matter of principle — except when it involves intercountry adoptions in Romania or jihadist attacks in Egypt. Or, of course, Israel.