Right-Wing Valentine to Vlad

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The Conservatives recent love affair with Russia's Vladimir Putin is a mysterious contagion from a fever swamp; an odd combination of My Funny Valentine and Jungle Fever, rebranded as To Russia, With Love. It's an odd reversal of the McCarthy era, sixty years later.

Sarah Palin seems deeply enamored as she oozed on Fox, "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."

Add Rudy Giuliani to Putin's fan club too: "In contrast to Obama, Putin is what you call a leader."

Franklin Graham, son of respected pastor, Billy Graham, has a declaration of love for him also. He praises Putin and says he wishes our president was more like him.

On and on, Breitbart gushing over Putin's "traditional values". Fox News producer Jack Hanick injected God into the Putin-love also; saying that God called on Russia to stand up for traditional values. Fox News' Ralph Peters gushed with praise for Russia who has a "real leader".

According to the World Congress of Families, Putin doesn't threaten our national security but Obama does.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer and right-wing pastor Scott Lively hailed Putin as a hero and a positive thing for the whole world, because he was going back to the Tsarist model when the church was strong and the people had Christian values.

No one has a stronger man-crush on Putin than Pat Buchanan. He's defended him for his staunch anti-gay policies, his balanced budget policies, and his hardline on terrorism by stating, "Could he be one of us?" I expect some love poetry to emerge very soon.

This is a complete about-face from the GOP's past attitude toward Russia. Wasn't it Ronald Reagan who called Russia, the black heart of the evil empire? Wasn't it Romney that said that Russia was America's most serious geopolitical threat? And yet, members of the Grand Old Party are celebrating a love-fest for Vlad.

For them, Putin represents the great white hope.

Vlad capitalizes on the unflinching adoration of his fans in America by parading around naked to the waist, atop a black steed,a gun in one hand and fishing rod in the other. All to the delight of the testosterone injected manly-men of the American right wing. It doesn't matter that Putin is a diminutive 5' 5", the camera makes him look taller. Isn't that typical of short men anyway?

All the gushing and sighing ignore the facts: Putin is an authoritarian dictator who hates gays and will use any pretext to invade another country. He is a man who jails rock bands, holds court over the second most corrupt country in the world, squashes free speech, dissent, and freedom of the press. Russia has the dubious honor of being the second most dangerous country for journalists, barely trailing behind Pakistan. Since Putin took office, nearly 500 journalists have been jailed or murdered under suspicious circumstances.

The Right Wing's flaming over Putin is a head-scratcher and it borders on the seditious. If any politician or journalist had lauded Hitler, Franco or Mussolini in the 1930's and 40's, they would have been jailed.

Perhaps it's understandable if you go back in time to 2008, when our President was first elected, Mitch McConnell announced it was his number one priority to make Obama a one term president. Since then, the Tea Party has done everything they can to thwart the President's agenda and label his tenure as a failure.

They love Putin because the carefully nurtured image of Russia is everything they think America should be. Unfortunately, they hate Obama more than they love America. There's only a hair of difference between the Right Wing in Russia and its twin in America.

Both Russia and the American Right have a wholesale worship of authority and it reveals itself in their cherry-picked view of the Constitution. Putin is a temporary ally of convenience as they attempt to wipe out gay rights, religious pluralism, or anything else that offends them in their narrow worldview.

Putin's emphasis on Russia's exceptionalism is a mirror image of the old and dead American exceptionalism. His fierce protection of traditional values is a first cousin to the Tea Party movement. This should be a caveat for the future, as all history lovers know, fervent nationalism is a dangerous obsession. We've seen its disastrous repetition throughout history and with dire results.

Given the opportunity, Putin would squash each and every one of his American right wing admirers under his botinok or put a bullet through their forehead with his Makarov. Npecto! Mission Accomplished, Comrade!

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