It’s a good thing he lost

IT’S A GOOD THING HE LOST…. John McCain, the one who lost the last presidential election, has been very aggressive over the last 24 hours, demanding that President Obama do more to intervene in Iranian affairs. It’s less clear how McCain wants to see his former rival do.

Yesterday, McCain told Fox News he expects to see the administration “act,” because, “We are for human rights all over the world.” This morning, McCain was on NBC’s “Today” show, pushing some more, insisting that Obama “should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election and that the Iranian people have been deprived of their rights.”

And also this morning, in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper via Twitter, McCain said the White House should call for a new Iranian election. The Arizona Republican added, “USA always stands for freedom and democracy!! … [I]f we are steadfast eventually the Iranian people will prevail.”

Putting aside reasonable questions about the relevance of McCain’s constant and reflexive Obama criticism, and putting aside McCain’s lack of credibility on foreign policy issues in general, McCain’s specific critiques just don’t stand up well to scrutiny. Matt Yglesias had a great item on this earlier:

[W]e can say clearly that the guy is a dangerous madman whose ideas would risk incredibly suffering and destruction around the world. … His twitterview today with Jake Tapper is full of examples as he talks about Iran not so much as an actual country full of actual people doing actual things in a difficult situation, but instead as a kind of phantasmagoric canvass onto which we should paint a tableau of American hubris and militarism. […]

Whether or not the Iranian people prevail [according to McCain] depends on how steadfast we are. How steadfast we are in what? In wishing them well? In tweeting mean things about the Iranian security services?

McCain, in other words, understands developments in Iran about as well as Eric Cantor. That’s not a good thing.

For what it’s worth, Sen. Dick Lugar (R) of Indiana told CBS News this morning that Obama is doing the right thing by allowing the Iranians “to work out their situation.” Lugar added that it would be unwise for the United States “to become heavily involved in the election at this point.”

Here’s hoping McCain was paying attention.

Update: George W. Bush’s top negotiator with Iran, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, also thinks Obama is doing the right thing here, and added that an approach advocated by McCain would play into Ahmadinejad’s hands.