What’s with the Right and Vladimir Putin?

Over at Political Animal, Martin Longman notes something that has bothered me as well.

I voted against George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, and I spent most of his presidency actively working against his administration with every tool at my disposal, but I never said or wrote that I would prefer that the country be led by a foreigner or a foreign leader. Not so, for many pundits on the right. Ann Coulter wants Benjamin Netanyahu to be our president, Erick Erickson wants David Cameron to be our president, and Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle would be okay with either Netanyahu or Vladimir Putin being our president.

Someone needs to explain the right’s adoration for Vladimir Putin because it’s creeping me out.

This desire for a strongman to tell us all what to think and do–and take us into glorious battle a la “Braveheart” or whatever–is creepy. But it’s also a characteristic of people frightened by complexity and ambiguity, people who want bright lines distinguishing good ‘us’ from evil ‘them,’  who conflate strength with certitude.

People who don’t want to have to think too much.


  1. Looking for the “Man on the White Horse” — Alexander to come along cutting those Gordian knots instead of the slow, complicated, arduous work of understanding them enough to untie them.

  2. I learned (much to my surprise) that two of my enlightened, politically aware friends who supported and voted for President Obama now have little good to say about him. This is true of many who voted for him and now have lost faith. It took a while to figure out that they had placed him on a pedestal and expected miracles to be performed by this man who gave us hope for our future and the future of America. I didn’t expect miracles or perfection; I expected the best the man could do as President within this political system. I have rarely been disappointed, maintain my hope that voters will wake up to reality so I continue to support President Obama 100%. The political system has been bought and paid for; Sheila’s previous quote, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” points to John Boehner as our one-eyed king today. Regarding those who are looking to leaders and/or representatives from other countries for salvation, one quote comes to mind, “Love it or leave it!” They should go to wherever their version of a leader is located and stay there; and not be allowed back into this country.

  3. I sometimes wonder what the Right expects Obama to do with Putin and Ukraine. Russia is not a Third Rate Military Power. NATO’s reason to exist was to counter the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, which ceased to exist decades ago. The West instead of backing off pushed NATO into Russia’s doorstep. If the Russians are paranoid, they have good reasons to be. Napoleon and Hitler were two of the most recent invaders. Fact is the USA has been engaged in more Wars, Invasions, and Coups since 1945 than any other nation on the face of the earth.

    My own opinion is some on the Right hate Obama so much (the Enemy), that Putin by default becomes a friend of Right. Just like the Sun is in the East at dawn, the Mega-Media can be depended upon top feature the McCainiac on their so called News Shows. The McCainic’s judgement should be considered in light of his selection of Sarah Palin for VP.

    I voted for Obama over the McCainic and the RomBot. However, my opinion of “Folks” Obama is he was made in Wall Street, and like Bill and Hillary Clinton will enjoy a cushy retirement on the Corporate speaking tour.

    I happen to agree with Cornell West’s opinion of Obama – “the thing is he (Obama)posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. “

  4. I’m probably guilty of over simplification but I believe that much culture comes about from seeds that are planted in the hopes of a moderate crop of support for some special interest but turn out to be the most verile of weeds and soon are out of everybody’s control. An example is the “ALS Challenge” which though eminently admirable has taken on a life of its own.

    In 2008 Republicans knew without doubt that if they stayed with politics as usual the damage done by their Bush whacking of America would essentially put them out of business. Everything that defined them would be called into question by undeniable results which could not ever be explained away. The perfect storm.

    They knew that their only hope for redemption lay in creating the culture that the only thing worse than Bush was Obama. What I doubt that even those at the core of their party realized is that the ground that they planted those seeds in would be actively fertilized by so many other special interests.

    Racism was no surprize but the connection to the NRAs gun running business, the need for the Koch’s and Sheldon Adelson to grow the global warming and gambling businesses were, as well as Rupert Murdoch’s faux media empire and several state political machines. As the weed spread it soon consumed the health care insurance as well.

    To we, the people it’s the most noxious of weeds but to such special interests it’s the most nutritious buffet.

    Among its evils is also addiction. The GOP is now hooked. Tearing down the competition is all they have to offer. The special interests that they had to sell out to now own them rather than vice versa.

    Hence the worship of evil. War, holy and otherwise, prejudice, earth bashing, autocracy and dark ages like denial of science are mainstream republicanism now. Even Putin. The culture necessary for their redemption from themselves has consumed them.

    Is there a cure or annedote? We’ll have to wait and see.

  5. No one expected Obama to be a cure all for the many ills of the previous administration but we thought he would have at least tried. It is well known there are things difficult to change but we are aware of things simple to correct. KBJ cancelled JFK’s Vietnam pullout order on his FIRST DAY IN OFFICE. JFK ‘retired’ Dulles and began moves against the CIA. Truman wrote a note and fired warmonger MacArthur on the spot. Obama simply doesn’t know who he is. He retained all of Bush’s cronies due to fear of not knowing what to do. He didn’t trust anyone who wasn’t already doing the job. So he got the same job. It was when he allowed a General to visit the C in C while dressed in battle uniform, that I lost all respect for the man as a leader. I, along with all my buddies at the Legion, cried aloud when we witnessed such a transgression. Topping that, he allowed another insubordinate to retire at a higher grade than warranted which would not have happened without his explicit concurrence. No backbone. No Knowledge. No balls. Sure I voted for him. Sarah Palin VP? Worse yet; the man who chose her. Go figure. What choices we avail to ourselves. Now we face another Clinton, another attempt by entitled Romney or a GOP succumb to the wiles of the TP and Cruze, Ryan, Paul, Koch whatever.

    In order to make all of the above implicitly clear, I will allude to one simple fact: It is now very clear that the Arab world holds Gitmo as the example of Western oppression. This is evinced by their use of Orange prison suits during beheadings. Obama could have closed Gitmo by the simple order of transferring troops. Congress says they won’t defund it, CIC says he won’t man it. Who wins?

  6. Anyone who is mystified by the Right’s love affair with Putin should look at Gregory Feifer’s book “Russians: the People Behind the Power”. The following has been said about Mr. Putin in Feifer’s book:

    If you are stuck in your memories of Russia as the “communist empire”, get over it. Both countries are run by oligarchs. Meanwhile, Putin is a talented actor, using repetition building to crescendo, using aphorisms that everyone remembers. He connects with his supporters using language which enables him to play the part of the political pundit playing the role of tsar. He skillfully separates himself from the scandals and disasters for which he is responsible, presenting himself as “good tsar, bad boyars”. Meanwhile, he is at the bottom of the ongoing corruption, manipulating the system to his advantage, managing the oligarchs and the public. Capital expenditures cost far more than they would in other countries because much of the money is stripped off in “asset-stripping”.

    From the beginning, the cruder his persona became, the tighter his connection to his conservative majority. Basically, Putin runs Russia by making the Kremlin the main Mafia, the purpose of which is to maintain and preserve the status quo of deep corruption that rewards those who participate in it, which is almost everyone. Xenophobia and nationalism are Putin’s cynical tools.

    Russia continues to be a place where fewer people want to live, where poverty is rampant and home to a constant brain drain.

    If this is new to you, Feifer is an eye-opener. The Right loves Putin because they sleep in the same bed.

  7. I’m with JoAnn and Louie on this one (except that I have no enlightened, politically aware friends), so I won’t be repetitive. I would only add that BO’s trajectory has been pretty similar to most hard working black people and women in America. To get the same recognition as a white counterpart, you have to work twice as hard, three times as long, and get ten time as much accomplished. If the Left expected any more than a centrist in Obama they haven’t been watching the news for the last 50 years. The country has been on a slow glide path to the right ever since Barry Goldwater was nominated in ’64.

    It only stands to reason (well not so much reason) that at the end of the landing this group and their rightmost media heavies would be enchanted with a former KBG thug with the personality of a tree toad. But why? why? WHY?

    First, let’s recap:
    Troops are out of Iraq
    Troops are almost out of Afghanistan
    Bin Laden is fish food
    New model for use of military force: reluctant, measured, and focused on clear objectives
    World financial system is back from well over the brink of disaster and recapitalized.
    Unemployment is down to 6% and falling (OK, 12% and falling using real unemployment).
    GDP to back to 2007 levels and more and rising.
    US auto industry revived and thriving
    Access to healthcare extended to 13-15 million Americans and growing dramatically
    Cost curve of US healthcare slowly starting to bend downward.
    Long overdue military build-down after 12 years of 2 military misadventures
    Wasteful and technologically obsolete Space Shuttle and F-22 fighter programs killed
    New START treaty with Russia signed (and hero Vladimir SIGNED it!)
    Stem-cell research expanded and ridiculous restrictions imposed by GWB eliminated
    Painful process to shut down nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants under way
    Long overdue “pivot” of diplomatic, military focus from Mideast to Far East begun
    Support for Veterans increased by 16% and new GI bill signed
    TWO seats on Supreme Court with filled with liberal/moderates, both women and one Hispanic

    So, WHY does the right want a strongman like Putin, or Stalin or Hitler as our leader?

    Easy. Because they’ll never win the White House again as long as they’re against everything on the list above. So why should they care about democracy?

    Stay thirsty my friends.

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