Political theorist Benjamin Barber (pictured, right) has been shilling for the Libyan regime for a number of years. On February 1 his article “No Democratic Dominoes in the Middle East” was published by HuffPo. It contained the following insight:

Qadaffi himself is not detested in the way that Mubarak has been detested and rules by means other than fear. His son Saif, with a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the London School of Economics and two forthcoming books focused on liberalism in the developing world , has pioneered a gradualist approach to civil society in Libya, insisting along the way that he would accept no office that wasn’t subject to popular elections. No dynasty likely there.

Wow. “Qadaffi is not detested” by Libyans, says a prominent American political theorist on February 1, just three weeks before the people of Libya brave snipers, drive-by shooters and fighter planes to tell the world how much they detest their leader. And Saif, the devoted democrat and Ph.D., takes to the airwaves to accuse the protesters of being on drugs and vows to “fight until the last bullet.”

Can Benjamin Barber retain even a shred of credibility, on Libya or any other subject, after an analysis as clueless and bought-off as this?

Marc Lynch (via Ken Silverstein) said it best in this retort to Barber in 2007:

You presented some very interesting ideas about Libya in your Washington Post op-ed. I found particularly interesting your ideas about Col. Qaddafi’s experiments with direct democracy and efficient government. I know just the person you should talk to about these ideas – a brave journalist exposing official corruption in Libya by the name of Dhayf al-Gazzal. Be careful shaking his hand, though, because about a year and a half ago he had his fingers cut off before his body was riddled with bullets and abandoned in the desert. Hey, wasn’t that right around the time you were having such pleasant chats about direct democracy and the Green Book with the flexible and adaptive Colonel? How embarrassing! Anyway, since he’s dead, he might not be as vivacious a conversationalist as Col. Qaddafi. But I’m sure he’d be fascinated by your notions of Qaddafi’s enlightened rule and might even have some notes.