Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category

Dmity Medvedev deserves a chance to rule.  He’s been frequently lambasted as Putin’s “puppet” by know-it-all westerners. But how much worse, how much of a puppet, would Hillary Clinton be?  Isn’t this the high water mark of hypocricy, particularly when this charge is uttered by Hillary herself?

Before his election, Medvedev was a successful lawyer, a law professor, and a participant in the liberal, reformist regime in St. Petersburg during the 1990s.  He ran the huge conglomerate Gazprom.  Then he served as Vladimir Putin’s deputy. Now they will share power differently, with Putin as prime minister. This is unique, but movement in and out of power is not necessarily the end of democracy (ask President and Supreme Court Justice Taft), and it surely is less of a threat than the hereditary duopoly of two mediocre and power-hungry families, as we have at home of late.

Hillary, by contrast, was a reasonably successful commercial lawyer, but in a po-dunk state; she managed to find herself in two major financial scandals (Whitewater and Cattle Futures); there is no doubt she was only elected in NY because of her name recognition and her husband’s fundraising ability.  She failed miserably in her managerial role trying to promote healthcare, and so far has shown little managerial competence in running her presidential campaign.  She has a very thin resume when it comes to executive functions, unlike Putin’s deputy. She has been a competent Senator, but the skills learned there do not translate very well into being President, which is probably why the last six Presidents came from a gubernatorial or VP background.

Hillary’s qualifications are dubious, but all too common in the age of democratic decadence; her First Lady status is something she shares in common with other lackluster, quasi-monarchical “presidents” such as Indira Gandhi (India), Corozon Aquino (Philippines), and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Argentina).   None of these leaders was known for much more than nepotism and corruption.

Russia is not perfect . . . if the standard of perfection is democratic liberalism.  But neither then is China, South Africa, or Albania.  Yet they all get a pass. Russia is certainly in pretty good shape by any world historical standard.  It is much more liberal than it was during the dark days of Soviet Communism, when American intellectuals were talking about convergence and unilateral disarmament and “economic democracy.”  Finally, Russia would be a natural partner in the war against Radical Islam, if only American leaders and journalists would stop going out of our way to insult its leaders. 

American critics insult Russia, even as these same public intellectuals make apologies for useless thugs like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Amadinedjead, not to mention Castro.  Why? Pas d’ennemi a gauche!  Putin is perceived by elites in both parties as a “man of the right,” and thus none of his expressions of national pride and authority go uncriticized. 

He is a de Gaulle figure in his country’s history, restoring pride through competent leadership that is consciously mindful of the value of patriotic symbols.  His restoration of the role of the Orthodox Church in particular grates against liberals and atheist comopolitans.  But it is high time that America behaved, if not justly and fairly, at least sensibly towards Russia.  Mere self interest should correct our path and remind us that the only thing we’ve gotten from this campaign of defamation is highly priced oil and a Russia increasingly unified, once more, against American “imperialists.” 

Conservatives in particular should not fall into an outdated Russophobia, because, for us, any nation expressing its particular identity with pride and confidence is a natural friend, a friend against common enemies:  the leveling forces of globalism, unrestrained materialism, radical Islam, and nation-destroying mass immigration by Third Worlders.

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I thought this article was interesting; I’ve heard of Huck’s ethics problems, but not too many details:

Mr. Huckabee caused an uproar when he used a $60,000 account intended to maintain the governor’s mansion for personal expenses, including restaurant meals, dry cleaning and boat supplies. He also faced a lawsuit over his assertion that $70,000 worth of furniture donated to the mansion was his to keep. Sprinkled among all this are complaints about the misuse of state planes and campaign funds, mistakes on financial disclosure forms, and fights over documents related to ethics investigations.

Any one of these episodes individually may appear penny ante, but they add up to a disturbing pattern. People I’ve spoken with who worked with Mr. Huckabee in Arkansas dispute the idea that he is “corrupt.” They instead ascribe his ethical mishaps to a “blind spot” rooted in his beginnings as a Baptist minister and a Southern culture of gift-giving; they suggest he never made the mental transition to public office.

I think this is actually not that unusual.  Most “corrupt” people are not evil arm-twisters, seeking bribes or threatening opponents with punishment.  They’re instead regular people, who think highly of themselves, and tend to downplay these excesses as helping out friends and family, cutting corners, and rewarding themselves for their years of hardwork and service. 

Huck’s problem, unlike Bush and unlike Clinton and Obama, is that he’s basically a dirt poor country boy, without much education, who never learned how to restrain himself with power and money.  He’s totally unused to it, and, as such, he’s likely to abuse it and take personal advantage.  He’s the kind of guy who will take the shampoo and even towels from a nice hotel room.  In other words, he might be a good guy, affable and full of smiles, but he’s not got a whole lot of class.  He showed this with his “Who me?” response to his passive-aggressive characterization of Mormon beliefs. This resentment of his social betters and opponents is driving a lot of his tax-and-spend and pro-immigration stupidity. 

Hasn’t one white trash President from Arkansas been enough?

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