Right-wing media have a new problem with Barack Obama: the president just isn't badass enough for their tastes. Apparently, in their minds, Obama's level of testosterone compares unfavorably with that of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. How this interacts with the conservative media's claims that Obama is operating an army of “thugs” is anyone's guess, but it appears that they long for a leader who can put the “strong” back in “strongman.”
The most recent iteration of the right's Putin swoon began on August 26, with an inane Big Hollywood post by Greg Gutfeld. Gutfeld contrasted Obama's “We're buying shrimp guys... C'mon” response to reporters questioning him on Iraq while he was at a restaurant unfavorably with President Bush's infamous “Thank you. Now watch this drive” comment to reporters after talking terrorism on the golf course shortly before September 11. Gutfeld added, “Anyway, as Obama delicately sucks the meat out of a tiny crustacean, Vlad Putin harpoons a whale with a cross bow.”
RedState.com's Erick Erickson followed up the next day with a post headlined “Their Guy vs. Our Guy,” which consisted of photo collages of Putin and Obama that Erickson thought “worth sharing.” The Putin collage showed a bare-chested Russian leader wielding a rifle and fishing pole and on horseback; it also included pictures of Putin pinning someone in a martial arts match and on a boat holding a harpoon gun. Obama was portrayed bicycling, golfing, eating ice cream, swimming, and on the set of The View. Apparently, the Obama collage originally showed him playing with his daughter; that photo has been replaced with the note that “Fatherhood is manly.”
And now, Matt Drudge is running the following image on his website:
In unfortunate timing, today brings the following report:
In the Kommersant interview, Putin robustly defended police crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters in recent months. He said those who marched must obey current laws requiring them to seek advance permission from local authorities.
“If you get (permission), you go and march,” Putin said. “If you don't - you have no right to. Go without permission, and you will be hit on the head with batons. That's all there is to it.”
Yes, Putin is a former KGB officer with a history of brutally repressing dissent. But at least he doesn't wear a helmet when he rides a bicycle. That would make him look like a weenie.