It’s not exactly left vs right

IT’S NOT EXACTLY LEFT VS RIGHT…. On ABC’s “This Week” earlier, George Will, hardly a liberal ally of the president, noted that he’s heard the criticism of the Obama administration’s tactics regarding Iran, and he finds it unpersuasive.

“The president is being roundly criticized for insufficient, rhetorical support for what’s going on over there. It seems to me foolish criticism. The people on the streets know full well what the American attitude toward the regime is. And they don’t need that reinforced.”

Ben Armbruster noted that Peggy Noonan, another prominent conservative, also rejected the criticism aimed at the president. “To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous,” she wrote, adding that “the ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week.”

Of course, shortly before George Will’s remarks, there was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), blasting the president on the same program for being “timid and passive” when he’d like to see Obama “speak truth to power.”

Graham, as is usually the case in this situation, was pretty vague about what, exactly, he expects the White House to do, and what, exactly, he thinks will happen if the president throws around more bellicose rhetoric regarding developments in Iran. Graham won’t (or can’t) offer anything constructive, except to say he wants to see Obama “speak up” on behalf of Iranian protestors. Great tip.

That said, seeing Will and Graham on opposite sides of this reminds me of a point that often goes overlooked: we’re not dealing with a dynamic that pits the left vs. the right, or Dems against Republicans. Rather, this is a situation featuring neocons vs. everyone else.

You’ll notice that President Obama’s strategy has not only been endorsed by Democratic lawmakers, but also prominent Republicans who are in office (Dick Lugar), served in Republican administrations (Henry Kissinger, Gary Sick, and Nick Burns), or are prominent Republican voices in the media (George Will, Peggy Noonan, and Pat Buchanan).

The president’s leading detractors, meanwhile, primarily come from a motley and discredited crew who cling to neoconservatism — McCain, Graham, Kristol, Krauthammer, Wolfowitz.

When we see reports indicating that “Republicans” are outraged by the president’s tack on Iran, let’s not forget it’s mostly just a certain part of the party.