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.