It was a nice kum ba yah moment while it lasted.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made a remark at today’s briefing that has even the normally reasonable right-wingers in an insane froth. The key passage is Gibbs’ last line of this clip:
Q But does the administration recognize Ahmadinejad as the legitimate President in Iran?
MR. GIBBS: He’s the elected leader.
Now, Gibbs may or may not deserve some ire for his execution, but he was obviously trying to parse the difference between formally recognizing Ahmadinejad as President, and acknowledging the fact that he has been awarded the election. “He was awarded the election” might have been a better word choice, but as the last in a series of follow-ups, there wasn’t opportunity for much clarification.
What it is not is this: (from Hot Air)
Instead, so desperate are these tools to get Iran to the bargaining table and show Americans some sort of dividend from Hopenchange diplomacy that Gibbs actually acknowledges Ahmadinejad as the “elected leader” — the same lie the regime’s been telling the world and the same lie Iranians have been dying in the streets to challenge. As a de facto — and entirely gratuitous — endorsement of their corruption, it’s the lowest moment of The One’s presidency so far.
However, while I find this overreaching attempt to score political points on the backs of Iran’s protesters distasteful and disappointing, I’m absolutely shocked by this presumption of bad faith:
And the only thing that’ll take the sting out of it is watching all the dumb liberals who painted their Twitter avatars green two months ago in solidarity with Mousavi’s supporters hemming and hawing now over how our lord and savior really had no choice but to kiss ass here.
This is a sickening violation of an unspoken armistice that rose up between the left and the right during the Iranian unrest.
When this whole thing started, when conservatives on Twitter took the lead in supporting protesters of the Iranian election, there was a suspicion voiced among some liberals that this was pure opportunism, that the concern was feigned as an excuse to criticize President Obama. Indeed, this was true of some GOP politicians, but in the Twitter community, the Iranian election developed into a moment of surprising unity.
At times, liberals would, privately, evince feelings of superiority at their late-arriving conservative counterparts’ seemingly new-found concern for Iranian citizens, but I wouldn’t entertain that. A sincere change of heart is to be welcomed, not scorned. You would have to think pretty poorly of your fellow man to think he wasn’t moved to the core by events such as the killing of Neda.
Alas, the right seems unable to extend that same benefit of the doubt. Now, we either agree with Allahpundit, or we’re trendspotting dilletantes who could give 2 shits about the Iranian people. This, from the same guy who cheered when John McCain cracked wise about bombing those same Iranian people:
It’s obvious that this is less an example of Maverick’s vaunted “straight talk” than him just being playful on the spur of the moment. Even if so, joking about bombing Iran certainly won’t hurt his standing with the base, to whom he needs to feed a lot more red meat if he wants the nomination. He’s already starting to do that; the trick is to not alienate the centrists and leftists who admire him in the process.
Here’s that ruddy, meaty crowd-pleaser now:
The accomplishments of the Twitter community (right, left, up, down, and center) during the Iranian unrest were remarkable. Here’s hoping that the desire to score cheap political points doesn’t overshadow them completely.
As for Gibbs, you could argue that he deserves some measured criticism here, but I don’t think this statement alone warrants it.