Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Barack refuses to call the Iranian election illegitimate

Barack, in a press conference, changed protocol and called on a HuffPo blogger for the second question of the press conference, in expectation of a question about Iraq. Politico recounts the blogger's question:
“I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian.”

He then noted that the site had solicited questions from people in the country “who were still courageous enough to be communicating online.”

“Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't that a betrayal of the — of what the demonstrators there are working towards?”
That's the best possible question. Kudos to the HuffPo blogger. The question both put Barack on the spot and gave Barack opportunity to call the election result illegitimate; to say he would not recognize an illegitimate President of Iran; to thus delegitimize the Iranian regime and legitimize the protesters.

Barack punted, of course. An answer to that question wasn't in his script. Besides, Barack is all about negotiating with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This matter of murderous action to retain power is just a kerfuffle. It happens. Such ought not derail negotiations, for gosh sakes. Pish.

Politico completely misses the real story, i.e. Pres. Obama evades question. Politico instead focuses on the breach of press conference protocol via calling on HuffPo second. American reporting is no longer about reporting, but rather about petty turf disputes amongst the media who are themselves the real story. Contemptible.

Paul at Powerline notices the same thing: the real story was the excellence of the question and Barack's inability to directly address the question without making himself look bad in the process. Barack's only recourse was to look bad in evading the question, which still allowed him to look less bad than if he had addressed the question - and especially so since the U.S. media seem to not have noticed his evasion(due in part, perhaps, to U.S. media's disdain of any question originating from HuffPo). Paul:
What a terrific question -- a query that not one in a thousand American journalists could be expected to match -- and kudos to Pitney for selecting it. The question elegantly but pointedly (1) refutes the suggestion of Obama's apologists that the president helps the protesters by remaining above the fray while (2) reminding Obama that he cannot really remain above the fray in any event because he must eventually accept the election of Ahmadinejad by dealing with him as planned or reject that fraudulently reached outcome by changing his course.

The president could only bob and weave.
The question thus stands unanswered by Obama, though it answers itself: if Obama treats Ahmadinejad as the legitimate leader of Iran in the absence of significant changes in conditions there, that would indeed constitute a betrayal of what the demonstrators are working to achieve.

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