Yesterday, not only did George W. Bush decide to take the basically unprecedented step of lashing out at his domestic political opponents in a speech to a foreign parliament, but John McCain chimed in to say he agrees with Bush. He busted out the frequently heard idea that "serious negotiations" that are "done in a face to face fashion as Senator Obama wants to do" is a step that "enhances the prestige of a nation that's a sponsor of terrorists" and sundry other evils.

This is such a common talking point on the right that you'd think that somewhere out there you could find some kind of causal explanation of how this works. Obama takes office. The Iranians, having heard his campaign rhetoric, send a message through the Swiss or something about the possibility of arranging a summit. Our guys talk to their guys, the meeting happens, and this gives Khatami enhanced prestige in the eyes of whom? And what does this enhanced prestige allow him to do? What, in other words, are we afraid of?