A year ago the falsification of election results in Iran led to what seemed like the beginnings of a velvet revolution of the type that led to the overthrow of communism in eastern Europe. They called it the Green Revolution. McCain's immediate response of unmitigated condemnation showed the kind of "tear this down wall" freedom advocacy we might have expected from a McCain administration. Obama responded with words so measured that, coming from an American president who ought to be playing the role of freedom advocate, they sounded almost like an endorsement of the Ahmadinejad regime. Sober experts scolded McCain for his forthrightness and assured us that Obama's mealy-mouthed prevarication was actually the best thing Obama could do for Iranian freedom, because the support of the Great Satan would discredit the revolution in Iranians' eyes, even though polls show that most Iranians have a favorable attitude towards America.
I am too ignorant about the engineering problems of deepwater oil drilling to voice an opinion about whether the Obama administration has been incompetent or not. But it's pretty clear they haven't surprised us with their technocratic solutions. It's not very plausible, by now, to attribute to Obama superior technocratic intelligence, such that we can presume his decisions are wise even when we don't see how. And that makes it, in hindsight, a little harder to believe that Obama's conspicuous indifference to the Green Revolution was actually a shrewd tactic for empowering them by disassociating them from the Great Satan.