Today on ABC’s This Week, likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blamed President Obama for the reelection of Ahmadinejad, while at the same time calling the election a fraud. Romney claimed that the election fraud is evidence the Obama’s foreign policy is not working. While over on NBC, Joe Scarborough made the opposite argument.
Romney said, “The comments by the president last week, that there was a robust debate going on in iran, was obviously entirely wrong-headed. What has occurred is the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you’re seeing a brutal repression of the people as they protest. … It’s very clear that the president’s policies of going around the world and apologizing for America aren’t working. … Look, just sweet talk and criticizing America is not going to enhance freedom in the world.”
Here is the video of Scarborough on Meet the Press:
Over on Meet the Press, Joe Scarborough said that Obama’s speech scared the grand ayatollahs into fixing the election, “And how fascinating as I sat there listening to him talk about this, looking at the election results. You know, the law of unintended consequences came in again. I suspect that Cairo speech really scared the grand ayatollahs in Iran.”
He continued, “If they were going to fix an election this was a time to fix it, because the last thing they wanted to do was Barack Obama to take credit for reformers winning in Iran, like they already have in Lebanon. And, and by the way, in the short-term that’s bad news for us. I think in the long-term, though if ayatollahs are seen stealing an election as a result from what Barack Obama did in Cairo, I actually think that’s a positive for the United States and Iran in the long run.”
I think that Scarborough has the right idea, while Romney is trying to appeal to the GOP base for 2012. How can Obama be blamed for the result of a fraudulent election? It was Obama’s speech, which Romney defined as apologizing, that took away the anti-American argument that Obama and the U.S. is the great Satan.
The Obama administration is also following the correct path by not getting in the middle of the post election situation. The Islamic establishment has created their own problem here, and the one thing that could bail them out would be if the U.S. appeared to be intervening in the election. Any strong statement by the administration at this moment would give the ruling clerics justification for tightening their grip on power, which they would attempt to use to legitimize the results of the election.
The Bush administration’s Axis of Evil position towards Iran was a dream come true for President Ahmadinejad. Since most of the Iranian people want better relations with the United States, the best way to pressure the Iranian government is not play the role of the evil empire. America can be strong with Iran, without being threatening. This is a concept that many Republicans, like Romney, don’t want to acknowledge.