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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Dick and Nick

Dick Morris and Nicholas Kristof; two "sensible liberals" who buy the whole good guy-bad guy crap.

I would generally prefer to go to the dentist than listen to talk radio--even NPR or Air America. Having to listen to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity for any length of time is something I would consider torture (aka as "abuse" by the US government). Because of this, I do miss some things, like this from Tom Tomorrow:
Dick Morris was on Hannity's radio show yesterday afternoon, claiming that he is working as a paid political consultant to Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. Which illustrates once again why any politician hires Morris at their own peril--he may or may not be a good strategist, but his ego just won't let him keep quiet about his own role in things. Among other things, Morris claims to have orchestrated the revelation that Yushchenko was poisoned.

One very odd note: Morris also claims--and I'd really emphasize the word "claims" here--that he was approached by "a Republican congressman who shall remain nameless," who passed along an offer from Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych--if Morris was willing to switch sides, he'd get a million dollars cash, "and that was only a down payment." (Morris says he declined.) Now the whole story may be bollocks, I have no idea--but if there's any truth to it, one question immediately occurred to me (but apparently not to Hannity): what Republican congressman is passing along messages from Yanukovych? What American congressman is working behind the scenes for the anti-democratic, dirty tricks, poison-the-opposition candidate preferred by former KGB officers everywhere? What's up with that?
Now, I think Tom is being somewhat sarcastic in his description of Yanukovich; I doubt if many American progressives are fully buying the Bush-Powell line that Yushchenko is George Washington and Martin Luther King rolled into one, while Yanukovich combines the worst features of Stalin and Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, Nicholas Kristof apparently does:
It was good to see that Colin Powell didn't let Mr. Putin push us around over Ukraine. We need to stop letting him bully us on other issues - and help him find his head again. If the Baltic citizens and those brave Ukrainians can stand up to Mr. Putin, so can we.
Kristof's whole column is bizarre, especially this part:
In effect, Mr. Putin has steered Russia from a dictatorship of the left to a dictatorship of the right (Chinese leaders have done much the same thing). Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Park Chung Hee and Putin all emerged in societies suffering from economic and political chaos. All consolidated power in part because they established order and made the trains - or planes - run on time.

That's why Mr. Putin still has 70 percent approval ratings in Russia: he has done well economically, presiding over growth rates of 5 to 10 percent. Polls by the Pew Research Center suggest that Russia is fertile soil for such a Putinocracy: Russians say, by a margin of 70 to 21, that a strong leader can solve their problems better than a democratic form of government.

Still, a fascist Russia is a much better thing than a Communist Russia. Communism was a failed economic system, while Franco's Spain, General Pinochet's Chile and the others generated solid economic growth, a middle class and international contacts - ultimately laying the groundwork for democracy. Eventually we'll see pro-democracy demonstrations in Moscow like those in Kiev.
I'm sure the families of the thousands of people killed and disappeared by Franco and Pinochet are thrilled to see Kristof praising those monsters for "solid economic growth." I don't know enough of the history to thoroughly refute Kristof right now, but I imagine some other blogger does--and I'll link to it when I find it.

Oooh! I thought of one killer put-down for Kristof! When he says "a fascist Russia is a much better thing than a Communist Russia," he is basically saying that the world would be better off if Hitler had won World War II (because, based on the amount of fighting and casualties, WWII was more a war between Germany and the USSR than anything else).

Take that, Greatest Generation! Take that, Band of Brothers! Your efforts were wasted. If you hadn't helped Uncle Joe out by opening up a western front, Russia could be enjoying the benefits of fascism to this day! Love, Nick Kristof.