This meme surfaced in the comments thread of my primary post yesterday.
That meme hinges on this news, per the WSJ:
The Iranian government … accused the U.S. for the first time of interfering in the postelection dispute. Iran protested to the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. affairs in Iran because the two nations have no diplomatic ties. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Barack Obama stands by his defense of principles such as the right of people to demonstrate.
Those who prefer McCain’s hard-line approach over Obama’s studied, cautious approach seized on this news and essentially argued: “See. Told ya. It doesn’t matter how careful we are in our official words, the Iranian government is accusing us of meddling.”
But the argument (made by those who prefer Obama’s approach) was never about preventing the accusation of meddling; it was about doing everything possible to avoid giving such an accusation credibility — especially with Iranians who are waffling, who are torn between the Ahmadinejad and Mousavi camps.
Much has been written about the ability of Iranians to access information via Twitter and other social media, despite their government’s best efforts to prevent such access. And with access, millions of Iranians, including the fence-sitters, can make their own judgments about whether or not the U.S. is meddling; whether or not the Iranian government’s accusation has any credibility. McCain’s approach risks boosting the Iranian government’s credibility; Obama’s undermines it. And Bill Kristol and Pat Buchanan, of all people, would appear to agree.
UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Marc Ambinder and Andrew Sullivan make similar arguments.