Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Internet is For-EVAH. . .

. . . And sometimes a guy who slings a bunch of bad juju deserves to get his nose rubbed in it.

Consider the case of the lovely and talented Matthew Yglesias, a fairly prominent lefty blogger and acknowledged member of the smart set who has been known to sling it pretty good. He made this charming comparison recently over at that bastion of bien pensant thinking, the American Prospect:

Ahmadinejad is in most ways a classic right-winger, a demagogic nationalist and cultural conservative. In a manner somewhat reminiscent of a Sarah Palin, however, he clothes this right-wing politics in a language of class resentment, painting his more pragmatic and reformist opponents as decadent elites out of touch with ordinary people.

Of course, Yglesias would admit that it's unfair to compare Palin to Ahmedinejad. After all, Ahmedinejad has some redeeming qualities:

Unlike the populists of the American right, however, [Ahmedinejad] merges this rhetoric with something resembling an actual populist economic agenda. The main element has been the use of oil revenue to expand the state sector of the economy in an attempt to distribute wealth more broadly throughout the country. This approach has gained Ahmadinejad a loyal following among the rural poor and public employees. . . .

So do you think that's fair? Your mileage may vary. But it's not the first time that free-thinker Yglesias has sung the praises of the bearded fellow, as the ever-alert Jim Geraghty notices. Geraghty found this post from back in 2006 that looks, shall we say, a little silly now:

I keep talking about this with people in real life, but it deserves a blog mention as well -- Mahmoun Ahmadinejad has a pretty sweet hipster style. It all starts with a beard not unlike the one I and many of my twentysomething male friends sport. But it goes deeper. The man went without a tie to address the UN General Assembly. And I was in a bar where the TV was showing his interview with Anderson Cooper (it's DC, these things happen) and while there was no sound, he certainly looked witty and charming. There was also this clip of him walking down some hallway shooting the shit with Kofi Annan. It's like diplomacy! Bush should try it.

I mean, dude.

So I'm trying to picture hipster Ahmedinejad sitting around listening to his Death Cab for Bibi (er, I mean Cutie) records, maybe sipping on a fair trade coffee or somesuch. But I'm old, so I guess I can't figure it out. As the Spinners might say -- so much rhythm, grace and debonair for one man? Lord.

Now, I know that Sarah Palin is icky and all that. But seriously, dude, how much of a hipster do you have to be to admire Ahmedinejad more than Sarah Palin? Never mind, don't answer that. Just pray that you are never that hip.


my name is Amanda said...

This is an interesting and funnt post, Mark.

An educated comparison being fair or unfair seems beside the point to me. What did he say about the Right Wing that isn't true?

One thing the US RW has on Ahmedinejad however - at least they admit that our country has a gay population. Even if they shouldn't be allowed to besmirch the institution of marriage by participating in it (with each other).

Also, just to clarify - I am not writing this from an ideology where Everything Iran = Evil. (So comparing Ahmedinejad to Palin is hardly irreverent to me.) And no, I am not saying you are!

Mark Heuring said...

What did he say about the Right Wing that isn't true?

Oh, just for starters, that we're demagogic nationalists (really? All of us?), implying that the cultural conservatism of this country has anything to do with the 13th Century moderne ways of the mullahs at whose behest Ahmedinejad serves, the frisson of "What's the Matter With Kansas" rhetoric held so dear in certain precincts of the Left these days, the endorsement of faux populism. There's more, but it would require me going back and giving the American Prospect another click and frankly they don't deserve that.

And as to your point about gays, I'd simply suggest that evil Dick Cheney seems to be more enlightened on the matter than the current President of the United States.

I don't think Iran is evil at all. Ahmedinejad and the mullahs? Yeah, I think they are.

And as for the "irreverence" of comparing Palin to Ahmedinejad, that's hardly the issue. It's the stupidity of the comparison. Sarah Palin fully accepts the precepts of traditional Western thinking on most issues, as do virtually all conservatives in the United States. And there's nothing "irreverent" about slagging right-wingers in this country. It's about as conventional as conventional wisdom gets.

Gino said...

"expand the state sector of the economy in an attempt to distribute wealth more broadly throughout the country. This approach has gained Ahmadinejad a loyal following among the rural poor and public employees. . . ."

so, in substance, the nutty guy is really an american lefist at heart.

well, at least we got that sorted out.

but sarah's 'class envy' is not based upon income status. it's based upon an intrusive political class that thinks they are better than the rest of us.

but, when you are erecting straw men...

my name is Amanda said...

Now I get to say to you that I didn't *say* Dick Cheney is Evil.

At least not in that first comment.

I am saying it now, however: CHENEY IS EVIL.

Anyway, he's only coming out in support of gay marriage now because he has nothing to lose by it now. And that's BS.

Also BS - Obama's recent support of the DOMA. Yes, it makes many people on the Left angry. We're talking about it. He better fix it in the next four years and make good on that particular campaign promise.

Palin may fully accept the precepts of US conservatives, but she's also not as smart as world leaders ought to be. Anyway, please tell me conservatives would still be as crazy about her if she looked like - say, Linda Tripp (now there's a blast from the past!). Unattractive and not very smart suddenly don't seem as appealing.

Palin's all cheekbones, hair - and lipstick. And that's it.

And apparentely Ahmedinejad is a metrosexual. Haha...

Mark Heuring said...


Actually, I think Cheney is coming out in favor of gay marriage because of his daughter. I'm also guessing he felt that way all along, but he deferred to the wishes of his boss. We don't know what sorts of arguments were made behind the scenes, but an old-school type like Cheney will close ranks and support the policy once the decision is made. Republicans out of the West tend to be more libertarian than Republicans from the South and Cheney is from Wyoming.

I'm never going to convince you that Sarah Palin isn't dumb, but I would suggest that she's a lot smarter than you think she is. And by the time 2012 comes along, she'll be a pretty formidable candidate, especially after the limitations of the current administration's intelligence become more clear. Palin's attractiveness doesn't hurt her, but that's hardly the only thing she has going for her. Watch and see.

Linda Tripp? Wow, good old school reference!