IN TWEET: TED NUGENT IS SO LAST MONTH. THE NUTS ON THE RIGHT HAVE A NEW HERO (AND SARAH PALIN CAN SEE HIM FROM HER HOUSE).
Let’s take a stroll back in time to the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Close your eyes really tight and imagine, for just a moment, what would have happened if any elected Democrat had coupled public praise for Saddam Hussein with condemnation of President Bush’s foreign policy strategy.
Picture Al Gore on the Sunday talk show circuit claiming that Hussein “makes a decision and executes it quickly, then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader” or Hillary Clinton going off half-cocked about Bush wearing “mom jeans” while his Iraqi counterpart was all bullets and bear wrestling. The flip out from all quarters (including a then complicit mainstream media) would make what happened to the Dixie Chicks looks like a walk in the park.
Why then, in the face of a very real crisis in Ukraine, is it now perfectly acceptable for a gaggle of GOP mouthpieces to sling their usual mud at President Obama while also getting a political hard on for Russian President Vladimir Putin? It’s one thing to disagree with Obama. It’s another thing entirely to loudly and proudly undermine his diplomatic efforts with fervent praise for the bad guy at the center of this storm. It’s reprehensible and, dare I say, borders on traitorous.
Though Al Gore never gave an “attaboy” shout out to Saddam Hussein, the words attributed to him above are real. It’s just that someone else said them. They are quoted, verbatim, from an interview with Rudy Giuliani on Fox News. The kick-ass leader in question? Vladimir Putin.
Hillary Clinton never accused Bush of wearing mom jeans but perennial loser Sarah Palin seems to think they Obama’s denim of choice. That immature dig was part of a rambling pile of nonsense Palin spouted on Sean Hannity’s show Monday night.
While it’s easy to dismiss the deranged ramblings of bitter has-beens like Giuliani and Palin, they were only two members of a very chatty Greek chorus made up almost entirely of Republicans who currently hold national office.
There was the spectacle of John McCain jumping around like a baboon on meth while he excoriated Obama for his “feckless” foreign policy. Marco Rubio slithered back out from under his rock to offer advice no one asked for. Best of all was Lindsey Graham who, bless his heart, trotted out the Benghazi dead horse and tossed the carcass right into the middle of the Ukraine debate. When Eric Cantor is the voice of reason on the Right, you know things have gone topsy-turvy.
To make the freak show even more bizarre, Ted Nugent has been shoved to the back of the GOP clown car and replaced by a new nut job du jour: Vladimir Putin. Republicans are bitching about President Obama’s supposed foreign policy foibles by waxing poetic about Putin. Call me crazy but, I can’t think of a worse strategy than undermining your own President by getting giddy for the guy who just sent troops into Ukraine to illegally occupy a southern port. Talk about enabling someone who is already drunk with delusions of grandeur.
Of course, all this Putin love from the Right is really just part of the long-term GOP strategy of disrespecting and demeaning the scary black man in the White House. When Palin babbles about the Russian President wrestling bears, what she really means is that Barack Obama is a flaccid wimp. He’s not “all man” like Burly Vladistud (or Todd, her half-wit husband). In a party obsessed with guns, drilling for oil and John Wayne diplomacy, getting moist for Vladimir Putin must make some kind of sense. To those outside the Fox News bubble, it’s just fucked up.
Want to get even more WTF? A little over a month ago, most members of Club Vladimir were talking about Obama like he was a comic book super villain hell-bent on total domination. The official GOP talking point was all about “Commandant Obama” the “Dictator-In-Chief.” Everyone from Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell to Michele Bachmann and (of course) Sarah Palin picked up that ball and ran with it.
So which is it, Republicans? Is Obama an emperor or a serf? Of course, it doesn’t really matter. Most of the players in this theater of the absurd don’t believe half of what comes out of their mealy mouths (except, perhaps, for the blithely ignorant like Palin and Bachmann). Facts and consistency don’t matter when you are playing to a base that long ago divorced itself from reality. As long as the whipping boy is Barack Obama, the sheep are happy. It’s the only way to explain how the same people who praise Putin for being decisive can then turn around and make our President into a boogeyman who wants nothing more than to sit on a gilded throne.
When it comes to the far Right and Vladimir Putin, nuts of a feather do seem to flock together. Still, no matter how outlandish the antics from the GOP, at the end of the day the stakes are very real in Ukraine and people’s lives hang in the balance. That is what should be shaping the debate.