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Coulter And Hannity Credit George W. Bush For Iran Protests

Reported by Ellen - June 25, 2009 -

Two-time voter fraud suspect Ann “Boombox” Coulter appeared on Hannity last tonight to offer her thoughts on Gov. Mark Sanford’s infidelity, Iran and other matters. Despite the official voter fraud investigation currently pending against her in Connecticut, and despite a previously unbridled enthusiasm for (other people) going to war against Iran, Coulter was suddenly in solidarity with the Iranians protesting what they feel are fraudulent election results there. Apparently, however, Coulter likes Iranians better than she likes a good chunk of America. With her characteristic hyperkinetic speech, she declared that the left “hate(s) America so much, they assume the rest of the world does. No, Iran does not - especially those protesters. They don’t hate Americans... Those kids want to live in freedom.” Then, barely pausing for a breath, she went on to claim that the Iranian dissidents had been inspired by Bush’s 2003 “liberation” of Iraq. Sean Hannity agreed and falsely claimed she and he were the only ones saying so. With video.

As the music began, signaling the end of the segment, Coulter said, “George Bush helps the Iranians. They saw fellow Muslims living in freedom, in democracy, in Iraq, and that’s what inspired this. And Obama is living off the war on terrorism waged by George Bush.”

Hannity happily agreed, before gushing, “You’re the only one that’s said that. And I thought the exact same thing. I think George W. Bush helped create this thing.”

“Patriotic” Coulter got in another dig at her country. “Let’s hope Obama doesn’t blow it,” she said.

Predictably, neither of them offered any grounds for believing (other than their desire to simultaneously promote the neocon agenda and attack President Barack Obama - and liberals, for good measure) that the Iranian protesters were motivated by Iraq, Bush or anything related to his administration.

As it turns out, the “Thank Bush for Iran” meme is nothing new. Judging from an exhaustive roundup in the New York Times on June 19, it’s at least 9 days old. Furthermore, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that we should not thank Bush for Iran. Unlike Coulter and Hannity, several liberal bloggers have laid out the case, as the Times repeated. For example, Spencer Ackerman wrote,

No Iranian on the #IranElection hashtag, for instance, has mentioned Iraq as an inspiration for the demonstrations, nor has any leader of the opposition cited their Iraqi neighbors as a model or a source of guidance. Instead, they talk about internal, domestic provocations provided by Ahmadinejad and the clerical regime. If we're going to go by, say, business ties, Iran's main trading partners are China, India, Germany, South Korea, France, Russia and Italy. Which of those countries inspired the Iranian protests we're seeing now? If there's additional evidence for believing that Iraq's nascent democracy is influencing the Iranian opposition, I'd consider it, but assertion isn't a compelling argument. It's probably best to look to what the Iranian opposition is actually saying if we're to understand it.

Ben Armbruster, at Think Progress, noted about former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer’s similar claim on June 15th, “It’s clear that Iran’s power in the region has grown significantly in the region since 2001 — a point one wonders if Fleischer will also give Bush credit for.”

And Matthew Yglesias wrote,

I think that the key point to make here is that the reformist candidate won the Iranian presidential election in 1997, and won re-election by a big margin in 2001. Then back in 2003 when a reformist president was actually in office and the Iranian government was looking to improve relations with the United States, the Bush administration chose to strengthen the hand of Iranian hardliners by (a) labeling Iran part of an “axis of evil” (b) refusing to engage in bilateral dialogue with Iran (c) cutting off cooperation on Afghanistan and (d) invading Iraq. We then got Ahmadenijad in the 2005 election, and now we’re watching the 2009 election unfold right before our eyes. The moral of the story is that there’s nothing unusual about a reformist candidate getting strong support from the Iranian voters.

But nobody offered that perspective on the “fair and balanced” network’s Hannity last night.

Video below via Media Matters.