As we discussed earlier, last week was pretty productive for U.S. foreign policy. Over the course of six days, the Obama administration pushed Syria into the chemical weapons convention, helped create a diplomatic framework that will hopefully rid Syria of its stockpiles, successfully pushed Russia into a commitment to help disarm its own ally, quickly won support from the United Nations and our allies -- all without firing a shot.
Over the last 24 hours, the right has responded to these developments with one simple question: Isn't Vladimir Putin dreamy?
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, yesterday:
"I do think Putin is playing chess and we're playing tick-tack-toe," Mr. Rogers, Michigan Republican, said.
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, yesterday:
"Putin has now come forward as a leader, and he owns this now, and I believe that gives us the greatest ability to get this thing done." [...] "I quite frankly think what won the day here is that Putin looked in his own backyard and realized that the policies that he saw in Egypt and Libya [were] going to happen in Syria. ... He decided that it was time to step in and fix the problem," McCaul said. "I would ... caution this administration to not do a victory lap here."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), yesterday:
"You have Putin playing chess and Obama playing, frankly, a very lucky game of tic-tac-toe," Gingrich said on CNN's "State of the Union." ... "We are now relying on the Russians," said Gingrich, now a host of CNN's 'Crossfire." We're now following from behind -- not leading from behind. This is not a good long-term position."
Washington Times columnist Joseph Curl, this morning:
The kids have a word for it: pwned. Used in a sentence: Barack Obama got hard-core pwned by Vladimir Putin. Pronounced: Powned. Definition: Completely dominated by an opponent.Ugh. It was ugly. Vlad drove the lane and dunked in BO's face -- then dissed his mother.
Social conservatives' love of Putin at least makes coherent sense. They hate gay people; Putin is cracking down on gay rights; so it stands to reason that that the right's theo-con wing would swoon over the Russian leader.
But for the rest of the party, this conservative cheerleading for the Russian president is getting creepier by the day. If the right's arguments were accurate, it'd still be a little unseemly to watch so many Republicans draw hearts on their Putin photographs, but therein lies the bigger problem: the GOP talking points don't even make sense. Obama got what he wanted last week, and then got more of what he wanted.
Indeed, it was hard to miss the president gloating just a little on ABC yesterday, saying of Putin, "I welcome him being involved. I welcome him saying, 'I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime, to deal with these chemical weapons.'"
"It`s one thing for the right to fall in love with its own politicians, to make Ronald Reagan a saint, to make Sarah Palin their collective fake girlfriend. But the president of Russia, you guys? He is not that into you."Seriously, I know you guys hate President Obama, so it feels good to have a man-crush on somebody else, but this guy is a president of Russia. Zip it up, you guys, seriously. Have some respect."