A Hard Line in Iran

A Hard Line in Iran

A Hard Line in Iran

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
June 21 2005 6:22 PM

A Hard Line in Iran

Bloggers discuss the Iranian elections and wonder whether President Bush will defy the Senate and confirm John Bolton as U.N. ambassador; they also react to a liberal initiative to make young Republicans enlist in the military.

A hard line in Iran: During the first round of Iran's presidential elections last week, ultraconservative candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had an extremely good showing against moderate Hashemi Rafsanjani. A run-off is scheduled for later this week.

Many bloggers urge Iranians to boycott the election altogether, calling them a sham. Regime Change Iran's DoctorZin, a Californian, fulminates: "A vote for any of these candidates is approval of poverty, oppression, prostitution, humiliation, frustration, brain drain." Conservative favorite Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters agrees: "[I]n truth the only people running Iran after the election will be the same ones running it now—the unelected and unaccountable Guardian Council. Reformers don't need to give that system any more credibility, and lack of participation costs them nothing in the end. They should walk away."

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Others dissect America's role in the elections. Linking to thisWashington Post piece, Democracy Arsenal's Michael Signer, a Democratic attorney, notes  that President Bush's recent pro-democracy comments about Iran may have been "rewarded with large increases in the turn-out among Iran's conservative base." And WILLism's liberal Will Franklin reports about his visit to an Iranian polling booth in Houston: "In the meantime, I can report firsthand with certainty that Friday's Iranian election in Houston was not free, not transparent, and not truly open to all Iranians who wanted to vote, even just to cast a protest vote. It was a 'private event' paid for by the Iranian regime."

Read more about Iranian elections; read Smart Mobs on the role of text-messaging in the elections.

Bolton redux?: The Senate failed to confirm John Bolton as United Nations ambassador yesterday. No further vote is in the works. However, President Bush still has the option of using a recess appointment to move Bolton to the United Nations, albeit temporarily.

Some people on both sides of the political spectrum really want Bolton to secure the nomination, although their reasons differ. Brother Kenya's Paradigm's liberal Kevin Brennan hopes for a recess appointment because "it would be a singularly self-destructive thing to do, because it would make [Bush] look like what he is, a spoiled rich kid who can't handle someone telling him no. Plus, it would send Bolton to the UN with a portfolio more like a Barbie lunchbox than genuine diplomatic credentials." Best Destiny's conservative Michael thinks that if Bush continues to push for the nomination, it will "make a mockery" of the Democrats' tactics. Others point out that Bolton has hardly helped the Bush administration thus far. War and Piece's liberal Laura Rozen notes, "By so many measures Bolton has been a destructive force for stated Bush administration policy objectives. And as taking Bolton out of the loop furthered US policy goals on Russia's loose nukes, so did Rice's taking him out of the loop on Iran help that sensitive negotiation."

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Read more about Bolton; readSlate's Fred Kaplan on why Bush shouldn't push the nomination through.

Operation Yellow Elephant: Looking ahead to the upcoming 56th College Republican National Convention and the Young Republican National Convention, Jesus' General's flaming liberal General J.C. Christian has launched Operation Yellow Elephant. Its purpose is to use ads and shaming tactics to "recruit College Republicans and Young Republicans to serve as infantry."

Liberals are enthusiastic. Veteran Brain Rants writes, "These chicken-hawks, and anyone who supports them are all Gung-ho as long as it's someone else fighting their war. Now is the time to step up to the plate and fill the sagging ranks of our military. Support the troops, become one." Conservative columnist Adam Graham has a different take: "I've got to tell you that quite frankly, this is 'Operation Red Herring.' " He says that he himself isn't serving because he's not "physically fit enough" and notes that "we live in an era of an all-volunteer force, unlike in World War II or Vietnam. Everyone signed up knowing that they could be sent God knows where to risk their lives."

Read more about Operation Yellow Elephant.

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