IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME…. I’m not surprised Joe Lieberman is offering veiled criticism of President Obama on Iran. I’m surprised it took this long for Joe Lieberman to offer veiled criticism of President Obama on Iran.

At a presser today, Lieberman seemed to take a veiled shot at President Obama’s handling of the Iran crisis, obliquely comparing Obama’s desire not to be seen as “meddling” in Iran with a failure to stand up for protesters.

Lieberman was at the presser with John McCain, where they unveiled new Iran legislation, to be introduced next month, that would boost funding for radio outlets that have been informing Iranians and might fund a new Farsi-language website. Lieberman said:

“I know somebody asked, ‘Don’t we risk discrediting the forces of change and reform — and reform in Iran and risk that the regime will accuse us of meddling.’ I would ask, if we don’t stand up for the fundamental rights of the Iranian people to speak freely, to assemble peacefully, don’t we risk abandoning our own first principles as Americans in undermining the courageous quest of the Iranian people for freedom?”

Lieberman didn’t (or couldn’t) specify what “standing up” would constitute, how/why it would help reform-minded Iranians, how/why it would advance American interests, or why we should disregard concerns about “discrediting the forces of change and reform” in Iran.

In other words, Lieberman’s grandstanding and posturing is about as constructive as all of the other neocon palaver we’ve been listening to for nearly two weeks.

Indeed, Lieberman’s remarks today further reinforce the point from the weekend: we’re not dealing with a dynamic that pits the left vs. the right, or Democrats against Republicans. Rather, this is a situation featuring neocons vs. everyone else.

Lieberman isn’t satisfied with the administration’s deft handling of the issue, but notice that plenty of prominent Republicans believe Obama is absolutely right — including 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).

Lieberman is siding with McCain, Graham, Kristol, and Krauthammer on U.S. foreign policy? You don’t say.

For an alternate take, consider Reza Aslan’s interview on “The Daily Show” last night. Here’s a teaser: he told Jon Stewart, “All I can say is thank you God for President Barack Obama.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.