I think President Obama’s expression of support Friday for Iranians “seeking justice in a peaceful way” in Iran set the proper tone. I’d give it a B+, with points deducted for tardiness, as it could and should have been said days earlier. Obama is right to be wary of appearing to meddle in Iranian affairs, but proclaiming American support for democracy and non-violence isn’t meddling. Calling for a new election would have been meddling.
Some commentators give the President an F — one of them literally using the word “failure.” In the lead-in to a broader article on the Obama Administration’s alleged “Abandonment of Democracy,” Commentary magazine writes:
Failure to use the bully pulpit to give the Iranian people as much support as possible is morally reprehensible and a strategic blunder for which he will not be forgiven.
Wow. “Reprehensible” is way over the top, and the “will not be forgiven” part sounds like wishful thinking. The lengthy article actually has some serious things to say about the administration’s apparent de-emphasis (not “abandonment”) of Democracy, but the article’s florid lead-in undercuts its credibility.