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Maverick Watch: Iran Edition

June 19, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Ron Paul [R, TX-14] is best known in Congress as a lone dissenter, so it’s not really surprising that he was the only member of the House today to vote against a resolution expressing support for the protesters in Iran. His statement, though, explaining his vote is particularly interesting, in that he aligns President Obama’s response with his own widely-lauded approach to foreign affairs.

Of course I do not support attempts by foreign governments to suppress the democratic aspirations of their people, but when is the last time we condemned Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the many other countries where unlike in Iran there is no opportunity to exercise any substantial vote on political leadership? It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made. I have admired President Obama’s cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly.

Read the full statement here. The full text of the resolution (it’s short) can be read here.

Two Democrats also voted “present” on the resolution: Rep. Brad Ellsworth [D, IN-8] and Rep. David Loebsack [D, IA-2].

Of course, the debate over Obama’s response to the events in Iran is very interesting in and of itself. Charles Krauthammer and Paul Wolfowitz both got spots on the Washington Post editorial page to blast Obama’s measured reponse so far. Jonathan Chait responds that neither Krauthammer or Wofowitz “even mentions, let alone answers, Obama’s argument for why embracing the demonstrators would be counterproductive.” That argument being that a strong American response would be discrediting for the protesters.

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