What kind of democratic leader deliberately chooses to ignore and then downplay a grassroots, democratic movement against tyrants in order to preserve some hope of negotiating with the tyrants for a less-hostile relationship with them?  Apparently, only one, and he’s ours.  The Washington Post assures us that Barack Obama has taken the “long-term approach” to the Iranian crisis:

All last week, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators surged through Tehran, President Obama resisted pressure to side with them against the Iranian government.

Yesterday, as murky images of clashes and bloodshed flashed on cable news reports, the president called on the Iranian government “to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people.”

U.S. officials say Obama is intent on calibrating his comments to the mood of the hour. They say he is seeking to avoid having the demonstrators accused of being American stooges and is trying to preserve the possibility of negotiating directly with the Iranian government over its nuclear program, links to terrorism, Afghanistan and other issues.

He wants to “preserve the possibility” of having direct talks with a regime that has clearly lost the credibility of its oppressed subjects.  Would someone in the White House switch the TV from MS-NBC to CNN?  The Iranian mullahs have unleashed their Basij brownshirts to murder people in the streets.   They’re rounding up their opposition and tossing them in prison.  These are the people with whom the United States wants to discuss the future of Iranian-American relations?

The mullahs aren’t going to go for it anyway.  They need big-time scapegoats to explain big-time repression.  We can expect the mullahs to blame the US and Israel for this crisis, hoping to leverage anti-American and ati-Semitic fervor to get them off the hook for their brutality against their own people.  They will paint Mousavi and his allies as puppets of the CIA and Mossad, if they haven’t already started.  While they do that — and it would take years to make that stick this time — they’re not going to have tea with Obama, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else from the US.

Hasn’t anyone at the White House figured this out yet? Are they that stupid?

But let’s say, for argument, that the mullahs suddenly got a hankering for Hope & Change and offered a sit-down between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Barack Obama.  Why would we accept that offer and bolster Ahmadinejad’s prestige?  How would that make the US look, sitting down publicly with a regime that bloodily suppressed peaceful demonstrations that demanded accountability for a stolen election?  We would be an accessory to Iran’s oppression by giving the mullahcracy more credibility than its own people.

Is this “smart power”?

Update: Allahpundit notes in an update to his post today that Senator Richard Lugar (R) also wants full steam ahead on negotiations with the Iranian mullahs, which proves that stupidity is indeed bipartisan.

Update II: A lefty on Twitter had the temerity to complain about “namecalling” because I used the word “stupid” to describe the White House and its clinging to hope that they can talk Khamenei out of his nukes by refusing to explicitly support the Iranian people demanding freedom and an end to tyranny.  That’s laughable on its face after the hailstorm of namecalling that came from the Left over the previous eight years, including such chestnuts like “Chimpy” and “Bu$hitler”.  They’d better suck it up, because they’re going to have to deal with criticism with Obama in the White House.