Sunday, June 26, 2005

YOU HAVE TO ADMIRE the Bushies for their complete and utter lack of self-consciousness. There is an innocence and a guilelessness in the expectations Pres. Bush and his staff have for the world. How else to explain their touching willingness to demand that other countries measure up to standards that we fall flat on ourselves? But this administration does not let itself be deterred by such obstacles.

Take the Iran elections, for example. Iranians elected an Islamic hard-liner -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- who takes a conservative line on democratic reforms. The White House wanted the more U.S.-friendly Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's former president, and accused Ahmadinejad's campaign of election fraud.

The White House responded to the election result by reiterating charges made previously by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the legitimacy of the vote, noting that "over 1,000 candidates were disqualified from running and there were many allegations of election fraud and interference."

On Fox News Sunday, Donald Rumsfeld first said he did "not know much" about Ahmadinejad, and then declared that Ahmadinejad is trying to interfere in Iranians' personal lifestyle decisions:

''He is no friend of democracy,'' Rumsfeld said on ''Fox News Sunday.'' ''He is a person who is very much supportive of the current ayatollahs, who are telling the people of that country how to live their lives, and my guess is over time the young people and women will find him as well as his masters unacceptable.''

A less bold and daring administration might hesitate to mention "allegations of election fraud and interference" with reference to another country's elections. A more fearful and timid administration would think twice, and probably three or four times, before making public statements criticizing Iran's new president for supporting the existing power structure and trying to control people's private lives. But we Americans are blessed to have a president who does not give considerations of hypocrisy a second thought.

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