President Bollinger suggested that Ahmadinejad's speech to the Council on Foreign relations last year led to Ahmadienjad's party losing local elections, thus indulging the twin absurdities that Iranian elections are free and that open and sustained debate occurs over the airwaves which can use Ahmadinejad's speeches against him to win elections. "May this do that and more," intoned Bollinger. Talk about cluelessness combined with epic self-importance.The cluelessness is, in part, because liberals believe, unless they catch themselves, that all countries are alike. If they believe the same of the US, then the idea that the Iranian government is subject to overthrow by popular elections that benefit from free speech is natural and instinctive.
This is of a piece with the liberal belief that all nations share a vision of generous human rights (except, of course, for the temporary bad example of the US under Geo. Bush). Bizarrely, liberals also expect terrorists to share a similar idealism. Sen Murray (D-WA) even imagines that bin Laden shares her dreams about building health care facilities and providing day care.
Bollinger also said that Ahmadinejad was "exhibit[ing] all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator." Liberals would likely regard this as just another similarity between Iran and the US: Bollinger is likely imagining that Pres. Ahmadinejad as playing the same role in Iran that, in their minds, Pres. Geo. Bush plays in the US.
UPDATE: The Islamic Republic News Agency reports that Ahmadinejad received a "standing ovation" and Columbia and "[t]he audience on repeated occasion applauded Ahmadinejad when he touched on international crises." What was Bollinger really expecting them to report?