machismo

¡A Puti-Toots Bonanza!

"I understand why he has to do this—to prove he's a man.  He's afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this."  (Angela Merkel)

When it rains ....

And that’s not a Weather Girls joke.

Apparently the story is famous, which is why Max Fisher has to explain it to Americans, complete with a headline that tells us what it means.

The incident of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and the dog is a famous one. It was 2007 and Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, was visiting Putin at his presidential residence in Sochi to discuss energy trade. Putin, surely aware of Merkel’s well-known fear of dogs, waited until the press gathered in the room, then called for his black Labrador to be sent in. The Russian president watched in unconcealed glee as the dog sniffed at Merkel, who sat frozen in fear.

Later, in discussing the incident with a group of reporters, Merkel attempted an explanation of Putin’s behavior. Her quote, reported in George Packer’s recent profile of Merkel in the New Yorker, is one of the most pithily succinct insights into Putin and the psychology of his 14-year reign that I have read:

“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man,” Merkel said. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”

And who else but Puti-Toots would try to dog the German Chancellor … with an actual dog?

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Fisher, Max. “This quote about Putin’s machismo from Angela Merkel is just devastating”. Vox. 2 December 2014.

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Quotability: Potted Meathead Parts

Chris Christie's lyin' eyes

“Look out, Moscow. You’ve got bridges and Team Christie knows how to use them.”

Steve Benen

So this is the problem. If Benen seems glib, there is perhaps a reasonable excuse; it is about the only response of any useful merit for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s argument that Russia would not be screwing with Ukraine right now if the ethically questionable Republican was president, because, well, Vladimir Putin just wouldn’t dare fuck with Chris Christie.

No, really. This is what it comes to. Funny thing is, people keep talking about Governor Christie as if he expects to be some sort of serious candidate for the presidency in 2016. In truth, it is hard to imagine why.

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Benen, Steve. “Bluster is not the basis for a foreign policy”. msnbc. 3 September 2014.

A Quote … and an Onion Metaphor

I have my concerns about President Obama's foreign policy. But nothing eases them like listening to his Republican critics. There's an onion-like quality to the arguments GOP politicians often deploy against Obama's policies in the Middle East. Peel away the layers of grave-sounding but vacuous rhetoric, and you're left with almost nothing intellectually nourishing at all.

“I have my concerns about President Obama’s foreign policy. But nothing eases them like listening to his Republican critics. There’s an onion-like quality to the arguments GOP politicians often deploy against Obama’s policies in the Middle East. Peel away the layers of grave-sounding but vacuous rhetoric, and you’re left with almost nothing intellectually nourishing at all.”

Peter Beinart

There really is something to the idea that Republicans have simply lost the plot of their own myth. We might, for instance, ask ourselves just when it became a complaint that a president preferred to understand a situation before sending people to start shooting and bombing and killing?

Just sayin’.

And it is true; we all have our concerns about something President Obama is doing or failing to do. But that is rather quite the way things are supposed to be. Another question we might pause to consider: When did perfection become our expectation?

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