If beating dead horses were an Olympic event, Joe Klein would have more medals gracing his neck than Michael Phelps.
On his magazine's Swampland blog, the Time columnist returned to his latest overwrought left-wing pandering point: labeling hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the Iranian version of George W. Bush:
The protesters admire our freedom, but they are appalled--and insulted--by our neocolonialist condescension over the past 50 years. The reformers, and even some conservatives, consider Ahmadinejad the George W. Bush of Iran--a crude, unsophisticated demagogue, who puts a strong Potemkin face to the world without very much knowledge of what the rest of the world is about. This was an anology [sic] that came up in interview after interview, with reformers and conservatives alike.
Klein doesn't explicitly reference the "axis of evil" remarks in then-President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address as an offense, although he quite probably has it in mind. Yet a review of the relevant passage from that speech shows Bush was dead-on and arguably eerily prophetic about the iron-fisted repression that the world is witness to presently on the streets of Tehran (portion in bold is my emphasis):
Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
Although Klein won't admit it, he partially agrees with former President Bush -- the Iranian people want greater freedom -- although the Time columnist also insisted that the Iranian protesters are content with the Islamic "revolution" that is denying them said freedom (emphasis mine):
They do not believe they live in an Evil Empire. They still support their revolution. They shout "Allahu Akbar" in the streets, which was the rallying cry of 1979. They are proud of their nuclear program, even if many have doubts about the efficacy of weaponizing the enriched uraniam that is being produced. They want greater freedom, to be sure. And they believe that the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad forces--and the militarized regime they have empowered, the millions of basiji and revolutionary guards--is a profound perversion of that revolution. They are right. They deserve our prayers and support. But they don't need grandstanding from an American President, and they certainly don't need histrionics from blustery old John McCain.
It seems Klein is the one that has bought the Iranian mullahs' "Potemkin face to the world." After all, the basij and the Revolutionary Guard are not perversions of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, they are a fundamental component of it, the armed enforcement mechanism and thought police, as it were, of the "revolution" which Klein insists the intelligent, sophisticated, and world-wise Iranian protesters support.
What's more, contrary to Klein's insistence, there is evidence that there are at least some protesters now publicly long for Ayatollah Khameini's death and perhaps with it fundamental change to the regime's theocratic structure. As the Associated Press reported on Saturday (emphasis mine):
On the streets, witnesses said some protesters also shouted "Death to Khamenei!" — another sign of once unthinkable challenges to the authority of the successor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution.