James Piereson notes that “progressives” squirm like a worm on a hot rock when their own arguments are used against them:
Members of the Washington establishment were quick to denounce Vladimir Putin’s op ed article in Thursday’s New York Times questioning the legitimacy and legality of a U.S. attack on Syria. The White House quickly dismissed his column as “irrelevant” and a sideshow to the real issues at stake. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that Putin’s column made him want to “vomit.” Several other members of Congress, including Sen. McCain and Rep. Boehner, have denounced the column. Pundits have also weighed in against Mr. Putin’s intervention into the American debate over Syria. Many tweeters and “texters” have criticized the Times for daring to publish a column by the Russian President that is critical of President Obama and U.S. policy abroad.
There is an unspoken sub-text at play here: what President Putin said in his column is pretty much what American liberals and leftists have been saying about the United States since the 1960s. From the standpoint of American liberals, there is nothing the least bit new or controversial in anything Mr. Putin wrote in his column. He is merely hoisting President Obama and his liberal friends by their own ideological petard.
It pains me to have to say that the versatile Vlad makes a much better columnist than I’d be a KGB torturer. His “plea for caution” was an exquisitely masterful parody of liberal bromides far better than most of the Times’ in-house writers can produce these days. He talked up the U.N. and international law, was alarmed by U.S. military intervention, and worried that America was no longer seen as “a model of democracy” but instead as erratic cowboys “cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’” He warned against chest-thumping about “American exceptionalism,” pointing out that, just like America’s grade-school classrooms, in the international community everyone is exceptional in his own way.
All this the average Times reader would find entirely unexceptional. Indeed, it’s the sort of thing a young Senator Obama would have been writing himself a mere five years ago. Putin even appropriated the 2008 Obama’s core platitude: “We must work together to keep this hope alive.” In the biographical tag at the end, the Times editors informed us: “Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.” But by this stage, one would not have been surprised to see: “Vladimir V. Putin is the author of the new memoir The Audacity of Vlad, which he will be launching at a campaign breakfast in Ames, Iowa, this weekend.”
As Iowahawk ingeniously summed it up, Putin is “now just basically doing donuts in Obama’s front yard.” It’s not just that he can stitch him up at the G-8, G-20, Gee-don’t-tell-me-you’re-coming-back-for-more, and turn the leader of the free world into the planet’s designated decline-and-fall-guy, but he can slough off crappy third-rate telepromptered mush better than you community-organizer schmucks, too. Let’s take it as read that Putin didn’t write this himself any more than Obama wrote that bilge he was drowning in on Tuesday night, when he took to the airwaves to argue in favor of the fierce urgency of doing something about gassed Syrian moppets but not just yet. Both guys are using writers, but Putin’s are way better than Obama’s — and English isn’t even their first language. With this op-ed Tsar Vlad is telling Obama: The world knows you haven’t a clue how to play the Great Game or even what it is, but the only parochial solipsistic dweeby game you do know how to play I can kick your butt all over town on, too.
President Community Organizer vs. Prim Minister KGB – what did people expect would happen?