The Null Device

Red-state America's man-crush

Russian president Vladimir Putin, it seems, has a fan base in the US, whose membership leans conservative and admires his red-blooded, two-fisted old-world machismo with perhaps a hint of envy:
There are many faux Putin fans in America—those who mock the hero worship ironically or half-ironically. But plenty of his fans are serious. Three months ago, Americans for Putin, a Facebook group, sprang up "for Americans who admire many of the policies and the leadership style of Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin" and think he "sounds better than the Republicrat establishment." The group has an eight-point policy platform calling for "a unified [American] national culture," a "firm stance against Israeli imperialism," and an opposition to the political correctness it says dominates Washington. Though that group is relatively small (167 likes as of Wednesday afternoon, ticking up every few hours), the Obama's-so-bad-Putin-almost-looks-good sentiment can be found on plenty of conservative message boards. Earlier this year, when Putin supposedly caught—and kissed—a 46-pound pike fish, posters on Free Republic, a major grassroots message board for the Right, were overwhelmingly pro-Putin:
"I wonder what photoup [sic] of his vacation will the Usurper show us? Maybe clipping his fingernails I suppose or maybe hanging some curtains. Yep manly. I can't believe I'm siding with Putin," one wrote. "I have President envy," another said. "Better than our metrosexual president," said a third. One riffed that a Putin-Sarah Palin ticket would lead to a more moral United States.

There are 4 comments on "Red-state America's man-crush":

Posted by: Greg Fri Sep 27 13:27:43 2013

There should be two heads of state: one to make complex decisions that will shape the live of millions, the other to catch fish in a manly manner for the cameras. One guy can't reasonably be expected to do both of these.

Posted by: unixdj Fri Sep 27 17:35:12 2013

Not a bad idea. Could this have been the thinking behind the Israeli system, in which the president is explicitly defined as a figurehead? Didn't work, though: it's the prime minister who catches fi^W^Wincites hatred in a manly manner.

Posted by: acb Tue Oct 1 10:09:11 2013

That's sort of what the Royal Family's for in Britain. Perhaps Prince Harry can take some tips from Vladimir Vissarionovich on how to swagger and be the “legend” and “top lad, innit?” of the state?

Posted by: OddiousMember Thu Oct 24 20:48:10 2013

Germany is another example, having a President (mostly ceremonial duties) and Chancellor (the equivalent to Prime Minister and the seat of political power). I have objections to this system: First, such a system dilutes political power, which I assume is its intention, making decision-making more problematic (if you're a Putin lover) or more democratic, if you're into that sort of thing. Second, this division is no guarantee against the rise of an authoritarian regime, e.g., von Hindenburg/Hitler. (The Putin lover probably doesn't think this a big drawback, however.) My biggest objection: why should we bother catering to the pro-Putin crowd at all? There will always be a reactionary, paleoconservative, Luddite, non-thinking segment in any political society, who dream of a strongman, alpha-male to “set things right.” These are the same sort who miss Stalin in Russia or who idealize Reagan as a demigod here in the States. This impulse is a seductive but dangerous one.