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Obama Is Confusing The Right. Again.

In his post below, Jon links to some conservative op-eds that don't even bother to rebut the Obama administration's argument for staying relatively quiet on Iran. That argument, of course, is that speaking too loudly would be counter-productive. Over at The Corner, however, Rich Lowry brings up the Obama argument, only to misunderstand it. Here is Lowry, in a post entitled 'Questions':

If the regime would be actually helped by comments criticizing it — as Obama's defenders say — why does the regime go nuts any time any foreign leader criticizes it?

Huh? Lowry seems to think there is a difference between Iranian leaders who "go nuts" over criticism from the United States, and Iranian leaders who cheaply use American rhetoric to boost their own standing. Of course, these two things are the same. This is exactly the point Obama is making! Reading Lowry, one would think that criticism from America causes the mullahs to sit around stewing, before losing complete sanity and becoming incapacitated. Conservatives seem to be greatly overstating American power, and, as Mike oberserves, the power of American rhetoric.

--Isaac Chotiner