Vladimir Putin Makes Us Laugh
Putin displayed his lighter side in his recent musings on former President Donald Trump’s legal predicament: “What’s happening with Trump is a persecution of a political rival for political motives.”
WASHINGTON — Well, we finally got to see the funny side of Vladimir Putin, the usually dour president of Russia. Vladi is not known for joking around a lot. Ask Yevgeny Prigozhin, if you can find him. But seriously, Vladimir Putin — when the spirit moves him — can be as funny as any American president, except perhaps Calvin Coolidge. If you think back to the 1920s, Cal was not a lot of laughs. He was too busy balancing the budget and building bridges – that sort of thing. Yet, Vladi does not have to balance his budget, and so when the president of Russia jokes, he can sometimes deliver a real knee-slapper.
Of course, he demonstrated his more serious side on Aug. 23 in the skies above Tver when he administered to his old pal — in fact to his personal caterer, Yevgeny Prigozhin — what we might call “the jolly what-for.” I would estimate Prigozhin enjoyed Putin’s jolly what-for for about one split-second before kaboom the bomb went off in Prigozhin’s airplane and it crashed. That was the Vladimir Putin we have all come to know, but apparently there is another side to him, a lighter side, a whimsical side. Putin displayed his lighter side in his recent musings on former President Donald Trump’s legal predicament.
Said President Putin: “What’s happening with Trump is a persecution of a political rival for political motives.” Well, that is not the funniest political joke I have ever heard, but it is better than what we heard from former political bigwigs residing in the Kremlin, say, Leonid Brezhnev or Stalin. Stalin had no sense of humor at all. And Putin almost immediately reverted to politics on this occasion, saying, “This shows the whole rottenness of the American political system, which cannot claim to teach others about democracy.” Frankly, Vladi, I preferred you when you were trying to be amusing.
As for Trump, he agreed with Putin’s joke. Trump now stands accused of 91 charges at the state and federal levels for conspiring to undo the 2020 election results, and he thinks the charges are baseless. So does Vladi. In fact, they even appear baseless to me.
Yet the first time Donald trotted out his joke about his warm feelings for the president of Russia, he set himself up for trouble. From that point on, Donald had the entire intelligence community on his trail, all the Democrats on Capitol Hill, and even the saintly Hillary Clinton, who herself left a trail of incriminating documents in her wake that would have been enough to jail a lesser celebrity. There was almost nothing to the charges raised against Trump.
The Steele dossier that was bandied about forever, the Mueller Report that almost killed its author, and on and on it goes. What does one learn from this fabulous concatenation of lies and exaggerations? I spent years chasing down the Steele nonsense and the Mueller mumbo-jumbo. The prostitutes urinating in President Barack Obama’s hotel bed in Moscow particularly caught my eye. There was nothing to any of the charges against Trump, and my guess is there will be nothing that sticks in the legal charges being brought against him.
Yet one thing strikes me still: Why did the intelligence community fasten its attention on Donald Trump? And why did it fasten its attention on Donald Trump so early in his political career? Did they know something about the New York real estate mogul that we still do not know about? Nothing has turned up yet, and so the Democrats have turned to the courts. They are at work in four different courtrooms nationwide that surely are going to disrupt Trump’s primary schedule. Can this be legal?
In the meantime, we have the new Vladimir Putin to contend with. He is, all of a sudden, a stand-up comic. He will not be getting any laughs from Yevgeny Prigozhin, but Donald Trump is in his corner, and there may be millions more.
Glory to Ukraine!
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