Over the last eight years Andrew Sullivan has taken some odd turns on the political spectrum. At times sounding like the worse of the we create our own reality neocons. He would never allow for the reality that most Americans have come to see, that the “war on terror” was like a dream come true for terrorist recruitment. That occupying Iraq, getting hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed – that had nothing to do with 9-11 or the spread of radical al-Queda sponsored terror, was a waste of lives and resources. His consistent opposition to torture has been admirable, which drives the rabid right crazy. Sullivan pushing some of the same buttons with his look at the Iranian elections, The Rovian Islamist
Think of this regime as Cheney and Rove in a police state setting, and you see what’s been going on. (Of course, Rove and Cheney live within a democratic system utterly unlike Iran, and there’s no evidence they would violate democratic norms as Khamenei just did. But their demagoguery, abuse of the state, dedication to conflict abroad, co-optation of the armed forces, and manipulation of rural and religious voters all have parallels in Red State Iran.) We keep expecting to see some kind of shame or some attempt at rational dialogue.
On that basic level of political maneuvering and manipulation, along with the qualifiers Sullivan throws in, Ahmadinejad and his supporters in Iran’s power structure are very much red staters. Their attempts to manipulate and steal the election is a replay of Bush v Gore. Using all the political arm twisting and legal maneuvering they can muster, Iran’s conservatives have appealed to the powers that be to throw the election. Noting the political similarities, not the physical violence, is well within the realm of civil comparisons. Yet the Right, the Cult of Bush that will forever see Bush as a hero rather then frat boy with an emperor complex is ever so offended. A Republican blogger called The Other McCain writes, Karl Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Rove?
Really, Sully? I mean, really? WTF goes through someone’s mind when they dream up an idiotic comparison between (a) Karl Rove, a Republican political strategist, and (b) Mahmoud Ahmadinejed, a Jew-hating genocidal maniac?
Ahmadinejad might hate Jews. His public comments in that regard have been deplorable, but Sullivan’s comparison holds in the since that Ahmadinejad uses the threat of the Jews and the U.S. occupation of Iraq to exploit fear for political gain, just as conservatives did and still do in regards to Muslims. “Genocidal maniac” from someone complaining that Sullivan’s post is nothing but hyberbole? As far as I know, as loathsome as Ahmadinejad might be, he has not come close to committing genocide. He is a Holocaust denier, a common rhetorical ploy among the more radical elements in the Middle-East, but still markedly different then committing actual genocide. Because of Bush’s occupation of Iraq, BushCo – which would include Unka Karl – what occured in Iraq as a consequence was what some experts consider a level of violence that neared genocidal levels. Most observers, including Human Rights Watch, settled on “ethnic cleansing” – Satellite images show ethnic cleanout in Iraq
Minority Sunni Arabs were driven out of many neighborhoods by Shi’ite militants enraged by the bombing of the Samarra mosque in February 2006. The bombing, blamed on the Sunni militant group al Qaeda, sparked a wave of sectarian violence.
“By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left,” geography professor John Agnew of the University of California Los Angeles, who led the study, said in a statement.
“Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning,” said Agnew, who studies ethnic conflict.
Some 2 million Iraqis are displaced within Iraq, while 2 million more have sought refuge in neighboring Syria and Jordan. Previously religiously mixed neighborhoods of Baghdad became homogenized Sunni or Shi’ite Muslim enclaves.
Why were hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed or turned into refugees. We know that it was not because of those WMD that posed an “urgent” threat. It was not because of connections between Saddam and al-Queda. Dick Cheney just recently admitted there was no connection. It should be a disturbing thought that as deranged as Ahmadinejad is, Bush and Cheney have gotten more Americans killed based on pure cynical political manipulations. If Bush, Cheney, Rove and assorted other neocons didn’t want to be remembered for their exploitation of fear and their manipulation of public, thus the comparisons to Ahmadinejad and his ilk, they should have thought about that eight years ago.
The WaPO has some fun with numbers in The Iranian People Speak. Which takes a look at some pre-election polls to show that Iranian incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had more support then some might think. Juan Cole takes them to task, Terror Free Tomorrow Poll Did not Predict Ahmadinejad Win
The poll did not find that Ahmadinejad had majority support. It found that the level of support for the incumbent was 34%, with Mousavi at 14%.
27% said that they were undecided. (Some 22% of respondents are not accounted for by any of the 4 candidates or by the undecided category, and I cannot find an explanation for this. Did they plan to write in for other candidates? A little over a quarter of respondents did say they wanted more choice than they were being given.)
Here’s the important point: 60% of the 27% who said they were undecided favored political reform.
Historically the average Iranian has been more moderate then the over wrought boiler plate for which Ahmadinejad has become infamous. That is part of the survey that holds up at WaPo,
Similarly, Iranians chose free elections and a free press as their most important priorities for their government, virtually tied with improving the national economy. These were hardly “politically correct” responses to voice publicly in a largely authoritarian society.
Indeed, and consistently among all three of our surveys over the past two years, more than 70 percent of Iranians also expressed support for providing full access to weapons inspectors and a guarantee that Iran will not develop or possess nuclear weapons, in return for outside aid and investment. And 77 percent of Iranians favored normal relations and trade with the United States, another result consistent with our previous findings.
One assumes in a half ass attempt to put some pretense of seriousness behind the tea bagging, the Right has dragged out Arthur Laffer and the certain doom that will be caused by the coming tsunami of inflation. I thought that was the comic relief, but Krugman rightly points to Congressional Republicans for the laugh of the day, Stay the Course
And Republicans, providing a bit of comic relief, are saying that the stimulus has failed, because the enabling legislation was passed four months ago — wow, four whole months! — yet unemployment is still rising. This suggests an interesting comparison with the economic record of Ronald Reagan, whose 1981 tax cut was followed by no less than 16 months of rising unemployment.
[ ]…What about the claim that the Fed is risking inflation? It isn’t. Mr. Laffer seems panicked by a rapid rise in the monetary base, the sum of currency in circulation and the reserves of banks. But a rising monetary base isn’t inflationary when you’re in a liquidity trap. America’s monetary base doubled between 1929 and 1939; prices fell 19 percent. Japan’s monetary base rose 85 percent between 1997 and 2003; deflation continued apace.
Where Bill Kristol, Victor David Hanson, and Rush Limbaugh are the always wrong pundits of rightwing spin on foriegn policy, Laffer is the always wrong neocon of economics. Yet, like the others he keeps swating at flies hoping that one day he’ll nail one.
While the Federal Reserve might not be the best vehicle for enforcing new financial regulation, other then that Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers seem to be on the right, if imperfect course, A New Financial Foundation
First, existing regulation focuses on the safety and soundness of individual institutions but not the stability of the system as a whole. As a result, institutions were not required to maintain sufficient capital or liquidity to keep them safe in times of system-wide stress. In a world in which the troubles of a few large firms can put the entire system at risk, that approach is insufficient.
The administration’s proposal will address that problem by raising capital and liquidity requirements for all institutions, with more stringent requirements for the largest and most interconnected firms.
[ ]…Fourth, the federal government does not have the tools it needs to contain and manage financial crises. Relying on the Federal Reserve’s lending authority to avert the disorderly failure of nonbank financial firms, while essential in this crisis, is not an appropriate or effective solution in the long term.
To address this problem, we will establish a resolution mechanism that allows for the orderly resolution of any financial holding company whose failure might threaten the stability of the financial system. This authority will be available only in extraordinary circumstances, but it will help ensure that the government is no longer forced to choose between bailouts and financial collapse.