“I don’t think that’s accurate,” saith The One. Except that it is: Not until today did he explicitly condemn the insane brutality going on in Tehran, replete with coerced confessions about foreign powers and $3,000 “bullet fees” — yes, really — charged to parents whose children were gunned down in the protests. But then, this has been Obama’s M.O. all along, dating back to the blowup over Wright during the campaign. First he issues some weak, heavily qualified half-denunciation in hopes that the crisis will go away, then it doesn’t go away and everyone gets angry, then he comes back and covers his ass by saying how appalled or outraged he is or whatever — assuring us all the while that he’s been “perfectly consistent” throughout. Even the AP’s getting tired of his shtick:
It’s the pundits job to second-guess, Obama said, but “only I’m the president of the United States.”
Which is why he tried to balance every hands-on critique of the Iranian government with a caveat that he’s hands-off.
Hands on: “The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged …”
Hands off: The Iranian people can speak for themselves.”
Hands on: “We deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere it takes place.”
Hands off: The accusations of U.S. meddling “are patently false.”
Hands on: “…. threats, beatings and imprisonments …”
Hands off: “The United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs.”
Chuck Todd tried to badger him into listing what “consequences” there’ll be for Iran’s abuses but that’s really a pointless question. The whole point of Obama’s behavior this past week is that he doesn’t want there to be any consequences. He’s trying to get closer to the regime, not push it away; who knows if he’d have even held this presser today if not for the video of Neda getting shot in the heart going globally viral. As you’ll see at the end, he still won’t even commit to disinviting Iranian diplomats from America’s July 4th celebrations, which at this point is kind of like inviting Hamas to celebrate Yom Kippur. Awful.