Sunday, October 17, 2004

Politics a la Putin

Matthew Yglesias notes the similarities between Bush and Russian Democrat/Dictator Vladimir Putin (comparisons between Bush and oppressive rulers seem to be in the vogue right now!). Yglesias talks about
the creeping Putinization of American life (the Sinclair incident, the threatening letter to Rock The Vote, the specter of the top official in the House of Representatives making totally baseless charges of criminal conduct against a major financier of the political opposition [shades of Mikhail Khodorovsky], the increasing evidence that the 'terror alert' system is nothing more than a political prop, the 'torture memo' asserting that the president is above the law, the imposition of rigid discipline on the congress, the abuse of the conference committee procedure, the ability of the administration to lie to congress without penalty, the exclusion of non-supporters from Bush's public appearances, etc.)

I wouldn't necessarily make the comparison to Putin. Instead, I'd say that what we are seeing is the complete subordination of principle to political expediency. I've written about this before, and I write again because I think this is the single most disturbing trend in this administration. I could deal with unilateral pre-emption, I could accept necessary, even excessive bravado on the international stage, but at some point the basic responsibilty of the president has to be promoting the interests of the people EVEN AT THE EXPENSE of his own political prospect. Not only has Bush abdicated this responsibility, he's turned it on its head, making every policy decision an outgrowth of political considerations (one of the core allegations in both The Price of Loyalty and Against All Enemies). Above anything else, the American people must stand up against this action, which cheapens democracy and is ultimately disasterous to our national interest.

In fairness, I give you a post by Froggy Ruminations who notes a possible exception to this rule: The Status of Osama Bin Laden. I'm not sure if I buy it, but I feel its necessary to at least provide the opposing side when I see it. I may not be non-partisan, but I do try to conduct this blog in as honest and ethical a manner as possible.

1 comment:

BG said...

This is a tangent, but a Central Asian blog, recently had an interesting perspective of Putin's recent 'power grab'.