There are already a lot of high-profile Republicans that are considered contenders to run for President in 2016 — Christie, Paul, Perry, you know the names — but at least one conservative Fox News host has a different dream candidate in mind. I'm talking about Kimberly Guilfoyle, who wishes Vladimir Putin were President, at least for a couple days. On an episode of The Five Tuesday, Guilfoyle pined for a magic lamp that would let her swap the oppressive Russian leader (or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for that matter) in as America's leader. Because Putin knows how to get things done, not like our President, obviously.
While it sounds silly on its face, taken in full context, Guilfoyle's commentary is troubling. Her co-host, Greg Gutfeld, introduced the segment with a monologue about the danger of radical Islam, concluding (condescendingly, to say the least) by suggesting it might be best if President Obama "stays on the [golf] course, for good."
He then threw the topic over to Guilfoyle, asking her if London Mayor Boris Johnson's proposal to strip Britons of their citizenship if they travel to so-called "terror zones" was a violation of their civil liberties. Guilfoyle then launched into her diatribe, concluding with a call for the leadership qualities of Vladimir Putin.
Um, guess what, I don't care, and in fact I hope we violate a lot of their civil liberties. This is war, this is terror, there should be no mercy involved because they have shown none, that's the only language that they understand. And in terms of making decisive action, I hope the President has enough people around him to push him in the right direction ... Can I just make a special request in the magic lamp? Can we get Netanyahu, or Putin in for 48 hours, as head of the United States? I don't know. I just want somebody to get in here and get it done right so that Americans don't have to worry and wake up in the morning fearful of a group that's murderous and horrific like ISIS.
Obviously, Netanyahu is a world leader in far better standing with the United States than Putin is, so his inclusion in Guilfoyle's leadership fantasy isn't quite as surprising (though countless pro-Palestinian activists and residents of Gaza wouldn't take too kindly to the implication). But Vladmir Putin?
Unless it's gone unnoticed at Fox News — and I know it hasn't, because they've talked about it at some length, at least when criticizing Putin makes President Obama look bad — his leadership over the last few years has reduced American-Russian relations to their worst, most tense state in decades. It includes:
- Government crackdowns on political dissent, demonstrated in the arrests of punk-rock band Pussy Riot, and their later whipping at the hands of Cossack security forces during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
- The enactment of harsh, homophobic anti-gay laws which prohibit any showing or approval of homosexuality which children might see — they call it "homosexual propaganda."
- The military invasion and annexation of Crimea, sparking an armed conflict between Russia and the Ukraine which continues to this very moment.
- The arming of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine — an escalation of potential violence in its own right, before you even consider they're suspected of shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
Basically, whatever the disdain she feels about President Obama's unwillingness to "show no mercy," it's flat-out awful to be calling for President Putin instead. And yes, even if it's only "for 48 hours."
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