In the midst of his June 16 Swampland blog screed leveled against the "unhinged" Sen. John McCain for his criticism of President Obama's low-key response to the Iranian election, Time magazine's Joe Klein [shown in file photo at right] also worked in a comparison of hardliner Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's support base with former U.S. President George W. Bush's core supporters:
It is not even clear that Ahmadinejad--who has significant backing from the sort of people who support Republicans here (the elderly, the religious extremists) plus a real following among working-class Iranians--would have lost this election, if the votes had been counted fairly. (I tend to believe that they weren't counted at all, but that's just my opinion.)
Twelve days earlier, Klein more subtly made the Ahmadinejad/Bush connection in a comparison that favorably compared Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi to Bush's 2004 rival Sen. John Kerry (emphasis mine):
But Ahmadinejad made the sharper, populist--if inaccurate--appeal: Mousavi represented the Tehran establishment, which was getting rich at the expense of average Iranians. He launched a direct attack on Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom he defeated in the 2005. This sort of attack is unprecedented in Iranian politics--and it may indicate desperation on Ahmadinejad's part. He's been trailing in recent polls. But it also may indicate why Ahmadinejad succeeded in 2005 and has been something less than a comfortable presence for the ruling Mullahs: he presents himself as an average guy, a populist, a man of faith--and a fighter. Mousavi, by contrast, is an artist and architect who allows his wife, a prominent academic, to sit next to him at campaign rallies.
Hmmm. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? (Although there's no evidence that Mousavi wind-surfs or speaks French.)
Closing his June 12 attack on the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Klein lectured that "neoconservatives" like McCain "just can't seem to quit their dangerous habit of making broad, extreme statements based on ideology."
It's a shame Klein chooses not to abide by his own advice and opts to level broad, extreme statements comparing right-leaning Republican politicians with foreign dictators, all on the basis of Klein's liberal ideology.