This was a busy and important weekend on several fronts.
The narrow defeat of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez attempt to hijack his democracy and make himself a "president for life/dictator" is a huge development. Why? Because it means a slight majority of people down there had the courage to stand up to a bad guy who already has hurt their nation.
He may blame his defeat on the CIA and Bush and thus try some sort of retaliation. He has mentioned “turning off the spigot” of the Chevron oil that is sold here. He may be just loco enough to try something like that.
All the more reason for us, as a matter of national policy, to get off our addiction to foreign oil. Look at who were are giving our money to: Chavez, the Saudi royal family, Iran, and Russia’s Putin! This has to stop.
Indeed, Russian strong man/President Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia, won a substantial victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Most international observers believe it was a somewhat flawed election in that the Kremlin set rules which kept many legitimate opposition parties off the ballot. And under Putin’s rule, state TV has also refused to cover legitimate opposition voices.
There is no longer independent TV in Russia; Putin saw that would undermine his power so he re-nationalized all TV stations several years ago.
Why should we care?
We must care because Russia, fueled by huge oil revenues in an era of $90+/barrel oil, is swimming in cash and thus is no longer dependent on the West for a cooperative partnership.
The old Russian arrogance has returned, led by a career KGB agent who cannot be trusted. Those who oppose him, at home and maybe abroad, suddenly find themselves dead.
With Iran on the verge of building the bomb, Putin has so far refused to exert pressure on Tehran to stop; Russia is in fact building the Busheihr Reactor for them. (He recently flew there and had a meeting with Ayatollah Khameini; apparently he saw what oddballs these Revolutionary Council fanatics are.)
Putin is trying to set himself up to rule Russia for his entire lifetime without violating his nation’s constitutional provision against more than two consecutive presidential terms. So we are all awaiting to see how he plans to exert power.
But, as Americans, we have a strong interest in a good working relationship with Moscow.
We do not want to see an aggressive Russia causing trouble, as they did for most of the 20th century.
Political developments have occurred here at home: With one month left before Iowa, much is changing right in front of our eyes.
Huckabee is surging in Iowa and that hurts Romney’s plan of running the table in the first four contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina and thus gaining unstoppable momentum. But many conservatives dislike Huckabee’s phony conservatism so they have a month to try to blunt his surge and raise doubts about Huckabee.
Rudy’s problems continue. The careful leak from within New York City government or police about the hiding of Rudy’s travel expenses while philandering with his then-mistress is but the tip of the iceberg. He is an inveterate womanizer and if he had other girlfriends during his eight years in city hall, you can bet that will be leaked out soon, too.
Meanwhile his poll numbers continue to deteriorate. Six weeks ago he was tied for the lead in South Carolina; today he is fourth and only gets 9 percent of the vote.
Romney is a poor candidate who has just tried to remake himself so many times that he just doesn’t cut it.
Ron Paul — online — is hot. But he needs to get a third in Iowa and then build momentum from there. Otherwise his campaign is an exercise in futility. But he is growing in support and donations, and for that he and his loyal supporters need to be congratulated. Much of his message would be popular if more people knew of it.
Somehow, looking at this current GOP field, it is hard to believe a future president is among them.
As several veteran politicos said to me last week, “The ultimate nominee isn’t even in the race yet.”
Welcome back, Imus. Radio needs you!
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