When protesters were dying in the streets of Iran demonstrating against a rigged election that returned one of the most dangerous regimes in the world to power, President Obama stood on the sidelines while France, Italy and Germany took the lead and publicly condemned the elections and the Iranian government crackdown on the demonstrators.
At the time President Obama, thought it better to preserve the idea of trying to negotiate with a mad man who said his goal was to wipe Israel off the face of the earth rather than speak out against the rigged election and the crackdown on the demonstrators. In his words, he didn’t want to “meddle” in the affairs of Iran.
But he had no problem meddling in the affairs of New York state politics when he tried to pressure Gov. Patterson not to run again for governor. And it looks like New Yorkers, who, while they clearly do not support Patterson, resent Obama’s meddling.
A recent poll showed that 62% of New Yorkers want President Obama to keep out of New York politics and making the point even stronger, 51% of New York Democrats say he should mind his own business.
In all probability Patterson will not run anyway since his poll numbers are so low, and the Democratic candidate will be Andrew Cuomo. In a Democratic primary Cuomo would beat Patterson handily. But that is something that could be decided without Obama’s interference.
The time and place for Obama to have meddled was months ago in Iran when he could have further weakened Ahmedinejad, given the demonstrators encouragement while standing by American values of democracy and adding to the pressure the Iranian government was under. Seeing a different regime in Iran was very much his business. Instead he said he didn’t want to meddle in Iran’s affairs in order to stay on the good side of Ahmedinejad and then got a pie in the face when Ahmedinejad accused him of meddling anyway. Perhaps a teachable moment.
Obama’s interfering in New York politics suggests some confusion in presidential priorities. Not that the President was necessarily trying to take the easy way out when he was muted on Iran but the last time I looked Patterson wasn’t developing a nuclear bomb that he was threatening to use on his enemies.