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?”