What widely celebrated world leader draws such praise not just from conservative circles (Limbaugh, Drudge, Breitbart, Palin, PC Roberts) but adulation from the left side as well. For leftists who staunchly hate the west's imperial militarism, Putin is the hero battling the west ("noble" for journalist Finian Cunningham), the strongest moral and political bulwark against the spreading Evil Empire. Agreed, Putin does resist western expansionism (or western mucking about in Ukraine). However self-interested, Putin counters greater economic and military force with agility, diplomacy, and tactical gains. Except for Syria, Russia isn't bombing another country -- whereas US war-making decimates Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria.
For entrenched western media critics, Putin's still the latest Russian czar who manipulates rules to stay in power, denies free speech, lords over domestic media, and misuses courts to intimidate and/or jail dissenters or opponents (even billionaires). Is VP not the driven, nationalistic empire-builder, yearning to regain lost Soviet hegemony, or simply the reigning wizard playing chess against global dimwits playing checkers? Putin effectively annexed Crimea and is surviving strict western sanctions and low oil prices.
Putin, Cudgel Against Wimpy Obama
Curiously, rightwing hero worship is nothing new, a unifying lightning rod against the 90 lb. weakling in charge. Soon after Crimea, House Intell Chair Mike Rogers concluded Putin is "running circles around us" playing chess when "we're playing marbles." Neocons since '08 sound this alarm, wielding the great Putin as cudgel against Obama the Lilliputian. The unhinged Matt Drudge two years ago treated Putin as a western democrat, touting him "the leader of the free world." "Free world?" Against which unfree one? China? Asia? Europe?
With terrible reluctance, Rush Limbaugh was forced to "agree with a former KGB agent" when VP exonerated Syria's Assad from citizen murder by chemical bombs. And what would ultra-conservative delirium be without Palin, the breathless beauty queen gushing over Putin's virile, pin-up masculinity:
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"Look, the perception of Obama, of him and his potency across the world is one of such weakness. People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates."
Par for Palin's nitwittery, the overall rightwing slam falters in contradiction: is Obama both a ball-less wonder here yet also the authoritarian (foreign, illegitimate) tyrant assailed for stripping freedoms right and left? Oh. Trump's idiocy echoes the empty Palin Power Meme, depicting Putin as the decisive leader who commandeers by singly "running his country." Trump's use of the possessive "his" exposes Donald's own autocratic "theory of governance." A duo of strongmen, riveted with personal will and determination, in charge, ready to do deals with each other. I was primed for Trump boasts Russian trains run on time.
Putin Vs. Trump: First-round Knock-out