I am hoping for two things in President Obama’s speech to the AMA Monday.
First, that he begin with an honest review of the past 72 hours in Iran that includes a demand upon the mullahs and their thugs that human rights be respected as protests grow. Forceful, blunt talk directed at Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and their allies will encourage the opposition and also cue the MSM to continue the coverage as best it can of the crack-down underway in Tehran and other cities.
Second, the president should also speak honestly with regards to the “government option” (or “public option” as his supporters have begun to call it) being pushed by him, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid under the banner of “health care reform.” The president repeatedly says when he discusses health insurance that if “you like what you have got, you can keep it,” or some variation of that theme. This is profoundly misleading disinformation as most health insurance comes from employers, and many if not most employers will quickly move to dump their workers into a cheaper government option if and when it appears. My new WashingtonExaminer.com column addresses this. President Obama can try and argue that workers will be better off under the government plan, but he shouldn’t casually deceive his listeners about their personal stake in this debate. If Democrats push through a “government option” tens of millions of Americans will not get to keep what they like for even a single year, and tens of millions who do not get immediately forced into the government plan will watch the private insurance market steadily erode away and end up there eventually.
His audience at home and abroad needs candor on the big subjects from the president, not rhetoric.
Michael Totten has joined Andrew Sullivan and The Corner in providing comprehensive links throughout the weekend. Time has an excellent collection of photos from Iran:
Memo to the relevant producers and hosts:
Assume that many mullahs and various elites in Iran will be watching via satellite in the morning to see exactly how much coverage the turmoil in Tehran is generating in the U.S. MSM did not distinguish itself on Saturday with haphazard coverage that failed to communicate anything like the interest level that telegraphs to the Iranian people –either directly or through the hundreds of thousands of ex-pats in the U.S. connected with their friends and families in the Islamic Republic– that the West generally and Americans especially are cheering for genuine reform of the political system there and a toppling of the theocracy via democratic resistance. Courage can’t be imported, but it can be encouraged by steady, sympathetic reporting and the sort of 24/7 fixation that our media can deliver as none other can.
So blow out the scheduled panels and bring in talking heads who are up to speed. Survey Andrew Sullivan and The Corner and round up the not-so-usual suspects both blogs are linking to in abundance to talk about the importance of the next few days. Get Michael Ledeen and Michael Rubin, Juan Cole and Joshua Micah Marshall. Better yet, find the folks who run the Persian satellite networks. Run the clips of the suppression of dissent again and again and again. Get the makers of The Stoning of Soraya M. Find and book Amir Taheri.
Anything else signals a giant “shrug of the shoulders” that sends a message of disinterest in the future of Iran that will not be forgotten for a long time. Imagine Iranians who long to be free of the Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard. Many must be watching us watch them –or not. If the West doesn’t even break from regularly scheduled programming for a few days, how can they ever be expected to trust our oft-repeated statements of genuine friendship for the people of Iran even as we oppose the regime?
If the Iranian people have the courage of the electorates in Ukraine, Lebanon and Philippines, this could be the week that the three decades of Islamist terror export begins to unravel. All of western media should be focusing every resource at its disposal on the election fraud and Khamenei’s and Ahmadinejad’s resort to brutal thuggery against the Iranian people. At Denver’s airport this morning I was amazed that coverage was at a minimum on CNN. Like the revolutions of 1989 in Europe, the next few days could have enormous consequences for the world for decades to come.
K-lo and the Corner are shining many lights on events in Tehran and showing MSM how to do it. Andrew Sullivan has many key links. Juan Cole has an analysis of why you can believe the “election” was fraudulent.