Monday, October 18, 2004

Putinization of America

Named after Russian President Vladimir Putin (or Pooty-Poot if you prefer). You remember him for his desire to appoint his own regional government leaders to ensure he'll stay in power for years to come. Credit Matthew Yglesias for the phrase and the details:
...evidence of what one might call 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.) are beginning to make me think this assessment may have been misguided. Terrorist forces operating in and around Chechnya have done some horrible things -- I was in Moscow for the big apartment bombings -- but ultimately the most harmful thing they have done was to enable Putin to tighten his grip on power.

I heard a report a month ago on NPR which detailed Putin's response to questions about problems with the Russian electoral system (as proposed by Putin.) In essence, he said, 'There are problems with governments all over the world. Look at the United States. They have serious issues with elections there.'

The USA. A shining beacon of....what, exactly?

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