‘Supreme leader’

‘SUPREME LEADER’…. In his Washington Post column the other day, Charles Krauthammer expressed his outrage that President Obama referred to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “Supreme Leader” of Iran. “‘Supreme Leader’?” Krauthammer asked indignantly. “Note the abject solicitousness with which the American president confers this honorific on a clerical dictator.”

This line of attack seems to be catching on, at least a little, in conservative circles. Yesterday on CNN, Bill Bennett added:

“We should be on the side of freedom, and not on the side of this, our ‘supreme leader,’ as our president keeps referring to.”

This is really silly. Krauthammer and Bennett may be annoyed by the use of the title, but they’re being awfully selective in how they apply their disgust.

The same days as Krauthammer’s column ran, for example, John McCain was on Fox News when he said, “There may be those indications since the Supreme Leader said that they were not going to tolerate further demonstrations in the street.” Does this count as “abject solicitousness,” too?

Likewise, Media Matters added, “[T]he Bush State Department, and conservatives, including The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, and Republican Sens. John McCain and Richard Lugar, have also ‘referred to’ Khamenei as Iran’s ‘supreme leader.'”

The right should at least start taking a little more time to think their criticisms through. Throwing everything at the wall to see what’ll stick is hardly a sound rhetorical strategy.