Jonah Goldberg
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Reportedly, you are biding your time, waiting to see what happens, as if it is a great mystery. Your campaign lived and breathed YouTube. Check it now, check it often. You and your team promised "soft power" and "smart power." How about moral power? Because by not clearly picking a side, it appears you have chosen the wrong side.

Do you fear antagonizing the powers-that-be in Iran? That ship has sailed. Though I am sure they're tickled by your eagerness not to roil the seas around them. Is it because you think "leader of the free world" is just another of those Cold War relics best mothballed in favor of a more cosmopolitan and universal awe at your own story?

"Enough about those people bleeding in the street. What do you think of me?" Is that how it is to be?

During the Bush years, what was best about liberalism had bled away. One of the worst things about the Republican Party has always been its Kissingerian realpolitik, the "it's just business" approach to world affairs that amounted to a willful blindness to our ideals beyond our own borders. The Democratic Party may not have always gotten the policies right, but it had a firm grasp of the principle.

In the 1990s, liberals championed "nation building," and many conservatives chuckled at the naivete of it. Then came Iraq, and Republicans out of necessity embraced what liberals once believed out of conviction. The result? Liberals ran from their principles, found their inner Kissingers and championed a cold realism whose chill emanated from the corpse of their ideals.

Labor unions, such as the AFL-CIO, once battled tyranny abroad on the grounds that workers everywhere need democracy. Today, the president turns a blind eye to the independent labor movement in Iran, and the unions and Democrats spend their time trying to figure out how to eliminate the secret ballot in the American workplace.

So far, "hope and change" has meant spending trillions we do not have on expanded government we do not need. Meanwhile, the huddled masses of Iranians yearning to breathe free think hope and change means something more. But the new American colossus stands all but silent, her beacon dimmed, her luster tarnished.

Please, Mr. President, prove me wrong. Stop voting "present" on democracy.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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