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Hard-Liner Urges Reconciliation After Victory in Iranian Vote - New York Times
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- The winner of Iran's presidential election, whose landslide victory dealt a setback to reformers, said Saturday he seeks to make his country a ''modern, advanced, powerful, and Islamic'' model for the world...The victory gives conservatives control of Iran's two highest elected offices -- the presidency and parliament -- enabling the non-elected theocracy to rule with a freer hand...Ahmadinejad, the son of a blacksmith, presented himself as the humble alternative to Rafsanjani, whose family runs a large business empire. He has promised Iran's underclass higher wages, more development funds for rural areas, expanded health insurance and more social benefits for women.
Deja vu...again. Thomas Frank imagined that working class Americans' support for a conservative religious candidate who banged the drum of patriotism and promised get-tough policies, as anomalous--something that required explanation. Hardly. The proles and peasants almost always support alpha-males (or facsimiles) who promise protection and patronage. Whether in the US or in Iran, in Zimbabwe or Afghanistan, or in medieval Europe, they back tribal war lords and charismatic cult figures--because they're ignorant, cynical, fatalistic and desperate.
The amazing thing is that for a fairly brief period of time in human history, following the Enlightenment in Europe and America , at least some of the peasants actually supported humane, egalitarian political and social policies. That's what cries out for explanation and if Democrats can figure that one out there may be hope.