McCain: Sanctimonious Grandstanding In Defense Of Liberty Is No Vice

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"McCain: Sanctimonious Grandstanding In Defense Of Liberty Is No Vice"

Matt Corley already commented on a section of this clip, in which Sen. John McCain treated Iran’s Supreme Leader with the same “abject solicitousness” that Charles Krauthammer condemned from the president. But I think the segment is worth seeing in its longer form, as it neatly encapsulates the conservative attempt to use the Iranian protests as an instrument to regain control of the U.S. foreign policy conversation, inconsiderate — indeed, proudly defiant — of the potential negative consequences for the protesters’ cause, or for the protesters themselves.

Watch it:

McCain states that any consideration of the historical context within which an American intervention might be viewed in Iran amounts to “a betrayal of what was declared on the Fourth of July, 1776.” He then launches into a remarkably incoherent mishmash of shopworn Cold War romanticism, half-remembered historical references, and shameless grandstanding, after which Neil Cavuto asks the obvious question:

CAVUTO: All right, so let’s say the commander, supreme leader, ayatollah hears that, Senator, and says yeah that’s all well and good but I’m going through with this, I’m cracking down on these guys, and it could be a very ugly, bloody weekend. What is the United States to do then? What is our posture going to be? How do we move forward? Because this could get very bloody.

MCCAIN: (Pause) Well, you know, and there may be those indications, since the Supreme Leader said they were not gonna tolerate further demonstrations in the street. If they do, we have to judge it by what the situation is as it unfolds, and by the way, the French president, the German chancellor, and the British prime minister, far more strong in their words in support of these protesters than the President of the United States. Interesting turnaround.

…After all the wind, a politician’s dodge. The potential consequences to Iranian demonstrators? Not McCain’s problem.

Full transcript below.

Transcript:

CAVUTO: But to what extent can this administration go? I mean, the rap against US involvement in Iran — whether it’s through support of the Shah that brought Khomeini, and back and forth and this and that – anything we say or do could complicate things or make things worse. What do you think of that?

MCCAIN: Heh, I think it’s the height of – frankly, it’s a betrayal of what was declared on the 4th of July 1776, that all of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights. And one of those rights is to be able to disagree with your government peacefully and not be subject to beatings and killings in the streets of Tehr – of any country. And by the way, we sent an envoy to Iran to tell the Shah of Iran that he had to leave. But look, the point is that all during the Cold War there was the liberal elites who said we shouldn’t do anything to upset the Russians, whether it be the Prague Spring or the workers in Poland in Gdansk. And there was Ronald Reagan who said “take down this wall,” called ‘em an “Evil Empire,” said he’s ready to negotiate but we have a fundamental right and respect to human rights. And to say we don’t want to quote “meddle” of course is not in keeping with that tradition in any way, in fact it’s a direct contradiction of it.

CAVUTO: So let me ask you Senator, if you were president right now, and you heard the Supreme Leader in Iran effectively telling these protesters “knock it off or there’s gonna be trouble,” what would you say? What would you do?

MCCAIN: I would say we support the rights of all human beings, especially those in Iran, who want to peacefully protest and disagree with their government. We support those fundamental, inalienable rights. In 1832, I believe it was, or 1823, uh, Daniel Webster defended the rights of the Greeks to rise up against their oppressors. It is a long tradition, and should be adhered to. And to say that somehow that it will harm our ability to negotiate means we are giving a green light to oppressive governments, and this certainly is an oppressive one.

CAVUTO: All right, so let’s say the commander, supreme leader, ayatollah hears that, Senator, and says yeah that’s all well and good but I’m going through with this, I’m cracking down on these guys, and it could be a very ugly, bloody weekend. What is the United States to do then? What is our posture going to be? How do we move forward? Because this could get very bloody.

MCCAIN: (Pause) Well, you know, and there may be those indications, since the Supreme Leader said they were not gonna tolerate further demonstrations in the street. If they do, we have to judge it by what the situation is as it unfolds, by the way, the French president, the German chancellor, and the British prime minister, far more strong in their words in support of these protesters than the President of the United States. Interesting turnaround.

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