In his own way, David Gregory dismantled Joe Biden on Meet the Press today. Biden kept tiptoeing around the obvious fact that Iran inexplicably and clumsily threw the election yesterday for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and insisted that the US would continue to press for engagement with whomever the mullahcracy chose as its front man. However, Gregory dug into Biden’s record and found a choice quote that demonstrates Biden’s cluelessness on Iran, and strips credibility from everything Biden says — and Biden apparently doesn’t realize it. The moment comes just before the 2-minute mark:
GREGORY: A couple of years ago, you said the following about Ahmadinejad when you were on the campaign trail: “Ahmadinejad, the madman, is in competition with mullahs and ayatollahs who think he’s overstepped his bounds” … Biden called [him] “that wacko guy, the crazy president,” and said he would be in office for a little more than a year before being “taken out” because he threatened Shi’a interests. He’s proved to be more durable than that, hasn’t he?
Anyone who thought that Ahmadinejad didn’t at all times represent exactly what the Guardian Council and Supreme Leader Ali Khameini want is projecting Western politics onto Iran — a huge mistake. As this election shows, the GC and Khameini get exactly what they want. Ahmadinejad didn’t get elected president the first time because the people of Iran wanted an obscure mayor of Tehran to run the country; the GC wanted Ahmadinejad for their own reasons. He is entirely their creature, which is why they made sure that the election this week was nothing more than a formality, although they certainly botched it badly in the end.
Note that he also dodges the question of whether Iran is a democracy. That reflects Biden’s Inspector Clouseau approach to Iran in this interview. He’s talking about “counting the votes” in an election in which the mullahs hand-picked the candidates, including the now-arrested Mirhossein Mousavi, the supposed “reformer” who found out a little late that he was just a sop to the masses. The vote count is about as relevant as the tallies for an election in Soviet Russia during the Cold War. The problem isn’t the vote count; it’s that the election was never free or fair from the very beginning.
The administration seems to keep laboring under the delusion that Iran is anything other than a theocracy run by a group of mullahs who hold all of the real power, and have no intention of sharing it. Elections are just a way to mollify the 70 million Iranians by offering them the illusion of power sharing. When the administration wakes to that fact, then they will understand that all of this handwringing over polls and vote counting is entirely ludicrous, as is the notion of continuing to offer dialogue to a regime that has made the perhaps-fatal mistake of making all of this even too obvious for the Western media.
And remember that Barack Obama chose Biden as a running mate for his foreign policy expertise.
Update II: Had the wrong clip initially, but it should be fixed now.