Click here to read the Washington Post article. Sadly, the writer misses some key points.
- Managed democracy, as she defines it is a misnomer. Democracy, by its very definition implies that voters have a franchise. That means that votes are cast, counted and the candidate of the voter’s choosing gets elected.
- Hamas getting elected in the Palestinian elections is more of what a democracy might be, but again, this misses the point. Hamas was elected in a democratic manner insofar as votes were cast and counted. But, it can hardly be considered a free election when candidates are chosen by the government to run on the ballot.
- True democracy, then implies two things that have to be present at the same time… First, candidates should be able to go through some sort of nominating process or process sanctioned by the public where the public hears the views of a wide range of candidates on the issues of the day. This implies a free press, and no squelching of opposition figures via arresting them, or killing them, in some cases. Second, the elections themselves should be carried out in an open, free manner where the legitimacy of the results cannot be questioned on a wide scale. Even here in the US, we have an imperfect system, but we won’t usually have millions of people protesting in the street the day after elections saying the outcome was not legitimate.
- I doubt anyone could argue that either condition was met in Iran. This whole idea of a “managed” democracy is simply a device by which the writer offers a fig leaf to other countries which do not care to honor the fundamental precepts of a representative democracy. Not to belabor the above, but if there is no debate about the candidates, and no opposition that can offer ideas, and no free elections, then you cannot use the word democracy. Managed or not..
So, if this story is really not written from the right perspective, where to go then?
Try this… Instead of wringing your hands, trying to figure out whether it is a managed democracy, or something else, why not figure out what you are going to do about it now??
The editors over at National Review Online have it about right. Check out their thoughts here. There were plenty of ways that one could point out that this was not a legitimate exercise in democracy, but really, the end game here is laid out by the writers quite starkly…
The supreme leader and his president have little choice except to pretend to strength. President Obama should call them on it, lending the opposition his rhetorical support. So far, he has given the impression that he wants the dictatorship to stabilize itself so he can get back to the work of appeasing it. The more Obama extends that hand of his, the likelier the regime is to try to crush its bones.
So, we watch and wait. Given the weakness of Obama’s speech in Cairo, and the fact that the fix was in for Iranian elections from the beginning, the Iranian government is seeking legitimization that they never can have. They wanted a position of strength to bargain with Obama, and they’ve made themselves weaker. But, the nuclear weapons work still continues. Notice that part of the story has kind of fallen off the front pages??
Update: Just saw this one over at Hot Air. Liebermann has come out and said he’s with the protesters in the streets. It’s about time someone did.