TIME’s Joe Klein had some good advice for John McCain in an appearance on Larry King Live Tuesday night. Advice that also applies to Lindsey Graham, Fred Thompson and the rest of the Republican chorus of bluster and bravado urging President Obama to “do more” about the situation in Iran.
Whatever happened to “politics stops at the waters edge?” I recall not too long ago Republicans saying that criticizing the President’s foreign policy in a time of war amounted to treason. Does that only apply when a Republican is in the Oval Office? Apparently so.
“You don’t need to do this…. What you’re doing is a self-indulgence at this point. Senator McCain, if he’s going to talk about this, should also talk about the fact that the United States supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran/Iraq war for eight years. Every one of those protesters out in the streets, every last one of them believes the United States supplied Saddam Hussein with the poison gas that has debilitated tens of thousands of Iranian men…. They blame us for identifying them as part of the Axis of Evil, with two countries that they disdain, the Iraqis and the North Koreans.”
To go back even further, Iranians also know that it was our CIA who overthrew their democratically elected government in 1953 and put the Shah in power. It was also American presidents who supported the Shah for the next 26 years while his secret police brutalized and terrorized the Iranian people leading up to the 1979 revolution.
And try as McCain might to make the situation in Iran analogous to Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the fall of the Soviet Union, it just isn’t the same.
“Obama’s shades-of-gray approach rejects comparison to an era when Communist bloc dissidents had virtually no access to the Western media and the world was more neatly divided between a pair of superpowers, not complicated by the set of ambitious regional powers such as Iran that the Obama administration is seeking to manage.”
The day following his remarks on Larry King, Klein posted this at Swampland:
“I’ve been receiving a steady stream of favorable emails from Iranian-Americans regarding my appearance on Larry King last night. They’re delighted that I made it clear that Iran is different from the other countries in the region–better educated, more sophisticated, with far greater rights for women (although not nearly enough). And they also appreciated the fact that when King asked me what John McCain should do right now, I said, “Be quiet.”
I have yet to hear what possible good it would do for the President of the United States to encourage the protesters, except to give the Iranian regime a better excuse for killing more of them. McCain’s bleatings are either for domestic political consumption or self-satisfaction, a form of hip-shooting that demonstrates why he would have been a foreign policy disaster had he been elected.
To put it as simply as possible, McCain–and his cohorts–are trying to score political points against the President in the midst of an international crisis. It is the sort of behavior that Republicans routinely call “unpatriotic” when Democrats are doing it. I would never question John McCain’s patriotism, no matter how misguided his sense of the country’s best interests sometimes seems. His behavior has nothing to do with love of country; it has everything to do with love of self.”
I have some advice of my own for Sen. McCain and his cohorts, join Governor Sanford on the Appalachian Trail. In other words, take a hike.