McCarthy: Obama hates freedom, loves Islamofascism

By Daniel Luban

It’s too early to declare a winner of the prize for “most unhinged right-wing commentary on the Iran crisis,” but National Review Online‘s Andy McCarthy (currently a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies) makes a strong bid for it with his post today. While most right-wingers are taking the line that Obama sympathizes with the protesters, but is failing to stand up for them strongly enough, McCarthy argues that Obama’s response to the Iran situation is in fact based on his deep ideological sympathy for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. “The fact is that, as a man of the hard Left, Obama is more comfortable with a totalitarian Islamic regime than he would be with a free Iranian society,” McCarthy writes. This is because Obama is an adherent of “radical Leftism,” an ideology which has “much more in common [with radical Islam] than not, especially when it comes to suppression of freedom, intrusiveness in all aspects of life, notions of ‘social justice,’ and their economic programs.” (However, McCarthy neglects to mention the Frank Gaffney thesis that Obama might simply be a radical Muslim himself.)

Although Obama’s personal wish would be an outright win for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, McCarthy notes that “[i]t would have been political suicide to issue a statement supportive of the mullahs, so Obama’s instinct was to do the next best thing: to say nothing supportive of the freedom fighters.” He concludes:

It’s a mistake to perceive this as “weakness” in Obama…Obama has a preferred outcome here, one that is more in line with his worldview, and it is not victory for the freedom fighters. He is hanging as tough as political pragmatism allows, and by doing so he is making his preferred outcome more likely. That’s not weakness, it’s strength — and strength of the sort that ought to frighten us.

McCarthy’s rant was extreme enough that it prompted a rare rebuke from his boss, National Review editor Rich Lowry. However, it’s worth noting that this is far from the craziest conspiracy theory about Obama that McCarthy has espoused. In my mind, that prize has to go to his October 2008 classic, “Did Obama Writes ‘Dreams From My Father’ … Or Did [Bill] Ayers?”

Daniel Luban

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Chicago and was formerly a correspondent in the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.



  1. Just as an aside, allow me to mention that there are lots of “right-wingers” — libertarians (please note the small “l”) and traditional conservatives (admittedly a vanishing breed) who like me utterly oppose the neocon world view (particularly as it pertains to the Middle East). Intervention around the world for “moral” purposes was invented, or at least brought to flower, by Wilsonian Democrats. It’s a liberal idea. Both world wars, Korea and Vietnam came under Democratic administrations. Remember too that most of the neocons started their political lives on the far or liberal left.

    McCarthy is a good candidate for wackiest guy out there, but there’s so much competition it’s hard to call him the clear-cut winner.

    I will say this: if the United States somehow gets involved in another war in the Middle East (unless it occurs under Pearl Harbor-like circumstances), the McCarthys (and Lowrys) of the world will be shocked by the reaction of what used to be called Middle America. Another war fought by average Joes and Janes on behalf of American elites and foreigners will cause an explosion of protest, even if the soldiers who do the fighting are volunteers. Urban intellectuals across the political spectrum do not really understand the level of disaffection that exists as a result of the Iraq war, the financial scandals, and the virtual collapse of the job market.

  2. Obama’s doing the best thing he can do with Iran: Shut up. It’s their civil squabble. They’ve got to settle it. I don’t see any Winston Churchill types in Iran calling for our help.

    As for Andy Mac, used to be a decent prosecuting attorney. After 9/11, the boy’s jumped on the Wing Nut Express. Andy Mac’s so scared I’m not surprised he hasn’t called his mother a fascist/socialist/communist terrorist for not baking him chocolate chip cookies when he was six. I just can read his material anymore; besides, I’m holding off until he prints his texts in their original German.

  3. TYPO above:

    Should read: I just can NOT read Andy Mac’s material anymore; besides, I’m holding off until he prints his texts in their original German.

    Personally, I’ll add, I think the boy’s as crazy as Dan Burton, the Indiana congressman who wants a plexiglass shield around the floor of the House; that is, when he’s not shooting unarmed watermelons.

  4. I saw this on my FB news feed: The Cato Institute Andrew McCarthy: The Very Model of a Modern Right-Wing Foreign Policy Thinker. What in he world is going on.

    McCarthy is obviously blind, deaf, and dumb to the realty of the situation. Perhaps a study nonviolence movements would help. To say that Obama is more comfortable with a totalitarian Islam than a free and open Iran is cynical, jaded, and unfortunately rather louche.

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