February 27, 2005

Bush Lectures Putin on Democracy

It turns out that an Arizona Republic columnist had exactly the same sort of response to Bush's condescending democracy lesson at his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin:

...Simply remind such a person that Bush wasn't talking to us. He was talking to the Rooskies. And he was doing so in a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of way.

That's why he was able to describe the need for a democratic "rule of law" with a completely straight face. After all, this is a the man whose new attorney general once advised the president that the international conventions against torture applied only within the United States, not while handling foreign prisoners overseas.

Although that rule seems to apply as well in Maricopa County, where some prisoners sleep outside in tents, some work on chain gangs and more than one inmate who hasn't had a trial or been convicted of a crime has died of asphyxia while being restrained in the local jail. The same thing happened to some detainees being held by Americans in Iraqi prisons.

Bush also wasn't embarrassed and didn't burst out laughing when he mentioned a "free press." The Bush administration has paid one columnist $240,000 to write in support of its programs. Paid another columnist $21,500. And paid another $10,000. There's nothing "free" about that. They also allowed a guy using a fake name and working as a Republican Party shill to attend supposedly legitimate presidential news conferences. ...

Go read the rest.

Posted by natasha at February 27, 2005 12:15 AM | International | Technorati links |

Brilliant. Vladimir Putin's retreat from democracy, increasing thuggery, fradulent support of Viktor Yanukovych, criminal interference in the Ukrane elections, and return to Soviet-style power-consolidation is hardly good news, whether it's a Republican White House, Democratic White House, or an Elvis impersonator doing the lecturing. It's not as if we need to rush to defend Putin's crimes in order to make a point about our own.

But since it's the Republican chimp doing the lecturing, Montini finds it impossible to resist mocking the "hypocricy" of it all.

Montini goes on to make a list of alleged U.S. crimes--anti-free press, anti-human rights, anti-minority, etc.--that he suggests are either similar to, as bad as, or worse than Putin's. So much so that they effectively render the U.S. too guilty to advocate Democracy.

It's as if Montini is winking at us, mistakenly assuming we're as ignorant of history as he is (?)

Using this logic, I'd suggest that Montini's smirking, lecturing, arrogant, self-satisfied tone is about as entertaining as Bush's.

Unfortunately, because of the views expressed in his column, the U.S. State Department will have no choice but to close down the Arizona Republic's press offices. Sadly, Montini will be sent to a labor camp in Virginia, his family relocated. Hopefully, he'll be able to smuggle his column out, on scraps of paper, so our fellow freedom fighters--risking their lives--can post them on a blog somewhere so we can still read them. Oh, wait. Montini will still be at his desk tomorrow. I was thinking of something else, never mind.

Posted by: michael at February 27, 2005 04:57 AM

I think that natasha's original post and michael's comment both make some valid points.

Posted by: Abigail at February 27, 2005 09:49 AM

I almost feel that Bush does not get enough credit. It is hard to keep a straight face and say some of the things he says about countries needing a free press, open and honest elections and a rule of law. Given his policies here at home, I would think some of his declarations in foreign countries require a great deal of restraint. I know I could never get through a press conference without losing it if I had to pretend to be able to ignore a record such as Bush's.

Posted by: Scott at February 27, 2005 10:23 AM

Almost too funny to be true. But here it is. Putin asumes the White House orchestrates the firing of network news anchors. Putin and his aides believe President Bush arranged to have Dan Rather terminated. Putin does it, so of course, he assumes the U.S. does it too.

(note: Putin is misinformed on even the basic facts. Dan Rather was never fired, he's still employed at CBS)


George Bush knew Vladimir Putin would be defensive when Bush brought up the pace of democratic reform in Russia in their private meeting at the end of Bush's four-day, three-city tour of Europe. But when Bush talked about the Kremlin's crackdown on the media and explained that democracies require a free press, the Russian leader gave a rebuttal that left the President nonplussed, TIME magazine will report on Monday.

If the press was so free in the U.S., Putin asked, then why had those reporters at CBS lost their jobs? "Putin thought we'd fired Dan Rather," says a senior Administration official.

TIME's John Dickerson: The Russians did not let the matter drop. Later, during the leaders' joint press conference, one of the questioners Putin called on asked Bush about the very same firings, a coincidence the White House assumed had been orchestrated. The odd episode reinforced the Administration's view that Putin's impressions of America are often based on urban myths fed to him by ill-informed aides.

Posted by: Michael at February 27, 2005 03:51 PM