Michael Crowley has a devastating piece out now on Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, the former National Security Council staffers and expert self-marginalizers. In it, the Leverett does something I didn't think she was foolish enough to do, which is to tell a reporter what he actually thinks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The verdict: He likes him! Also, and more egregiously, he defends the Iranian regime for showing restraint in the face of pro-democracy demonstrators:
I asked the Leveretts why, if Ahmadinejad enjoys such broad support, his regime has cracked down so brutally. In fact, they told me, Ahmadinejad has shown restraint. "It's become politically incorrect and impossible to say it, but ... this government hasn't even begun to deploy the force it's capable of using," says Hillary. (Even the videotaped shooting of Neda Agha-Soltan on a Tehran street was an "exceptional" and "isolated" case, she says.) "There's a slightly flippant counter-response," Flynt says with a wry grin. "Why did the Nixon campaign order the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building when it was clear Nixon was going to win reelection by a landslide?" The Leveretts also sought to account for Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel as shrewd regional politics. "It does get to him when he's described to the outside world as anti-Semitic. He would describe himself as anti-Zionist," Flynt explains. "Resistance to Israel is an important theme to him. ... If it's crazy, it's crazy like a fox."