Lucky that Vladimir Putin wasn't born in the USA, or he'd whomp Donald Trump (and wimpier rivals) in the GOP three ring circus -- even shake Hillary. The formidable Putin has all of Trump's virtues (bravado, success, showmanship, risk-taking, wealth, plus certainty only the strongest survive) with few of the Donald's glaring downsides (ham-fisted at lying, narcissistic yet thin skinned, awash with opportunistic bigotry).
No doubt, Putin (VP) the fully vetted, impregnable world veteran, elbows Trump aside when denying heavyweight indictments: 1) has VP never facilitated harsh penalties against any critics or journalists no longer with us? 2) did VP never authorize widely-reported, covert Russian soldiers in Crimea? 3) did no Russian missile launchers or expertise enter Crimea to help cut down that victimized civilian airliner?
Clearly, both Putin and Trump are lock-step on leadership style: top-down dominance, charisma and bravado rule, reinforced by slighting opponents as virtual enemies of the state (to be insulted, investigated or exiled). It is telling that Putin, the classic Russian autocrat to his critics, invoked for him the positive word "absolute" when calling Trump "the absolute leader of the presidential race" when praising his "outstanding and talented personality." Well, Trump's hardly the absolute leader, not in national polling, not even in Iowa. However premature, the appeal of total domination fits both men like a velvet glove over an iron fist.
Putin the World Rorschach
Talk about your Rorschach test. Trump the ego-driven absolutist (about walls, immigrant rapists, Muslim barriers, even lies about NJ cheering 9/11 tragedy) embraced Putin's fulsome applause:
"I welcome it. I think it's great. I think that's what should be happening. I mean, his dislike for President Obama, and it's a mutual thing, is terrible. That's why you see all the conflict, all the problems, all the hatred. We should be able to work and [if] we can't work with Russia, that's not a good thing. And I'm greatly honored by his statement. I think it is terrific."
Right, Putin good, Obama bad, and thus a simpleton explains "all" the conflicts and "all" the hatred, every world problem, huge, tiny and in-between. Yikes. And yet, what stewpot of ambition can't dream Vlad might help with a deal, even get Trump a few bucks, if not votes.