The nearly deafening silence from Washington on the suspicious outcome of the Iranian election and the ruthless crackdown that has followed may not be inspiring, but it is understandable.

President Obama has made a very large bet on the possibilities of a new era of diplomatic engagement with Iran — a bet based heavily, it seems, on his belief in his own personal powers. So Obama and his team are waiting — hoping, apparently — that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be shown to have won the election on the up and up, and can therefore be approached as the country's legitimate leader.

Which raises the question of how legitimate he can be in after an election in which the reigning mullahs and ayatollahs chose which candidates were allowed to run. That same body of clerics, by the way, is the one which will investigate the election.

The Iranians who took to the streets again Monday have already shown what they think of all this and risked a lot to do it. They apparently do not share the Obama administration's belief that Ahmadinejad can be their legitimate leader.

One senses that the administration probably doesn't believe it either, but does believe in the wonders that will ensue once President Obama commences his diplomatic outreach to Iran and works his personal magic.

He just needs things to calm down so that he can get started.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for FOX News Channel.