Deliberate obtuseness

DELIBERATE OBTUSENESS…. Did you happen to catch Jonah Golberg’s column in the LA Times today? It’s about Golberg’s desire to see President Obama intervene — in some ambiguous, undefined way — in support of protestors in Iran.

Reportedly, you are biding your time, waiting to see what happens, as if it is a great mystery. Your campaign lived and breathed YouTube. Check it now, check it often. You and your team promised “soft power” and “smart power.” Well, let’s see some of that. Because by not clearly picking a side, it appears you have chosen the wrong side.

Do you fear antagonizing the powers-that-be in Iran? That ship has sailed. Though I am sure they’re grateful for your eagerness not to roil the seas around them. Is it because you think “leader of the free world” is just another of those Cold War relics best mothballed in favor of a more cosmopolitan and universal awe at your own story?

“Enough about those people bleeding in the street. What do you think of me?” Is that how it is to be?

Kevin Drum added, “Obama really drives conservatives to the loony bin, doesn’t he?”

Apparently, yes. Goldberg’s column — not just some quick blog post at The Corner, but an actual print piece, published in one of the nation’s largest newspapers, presumably read by an editor or two — goes on and on, paragraph after paragraph, imploring the president to “take the side of democracy” and “lift a finger for democracy.”

It’s not that Goldberg finds the administration’s perspective unpersuasive, rejecting arguments about U.S. intervention undermining Mousavi and helping Ahmadinejad. Goldberg doesn’t even bother to acknowledge this reality.

Maybe Goldberg hasn’t heard that playing a more active role would be counter-productive to U.S. interests? Maybe he has heard but found these pesky details inconvenient to the point (I use the word loosely) he hoped to make?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.