Monday, March 15, 2004

How to Win an Election, Soviet Style

Almost 50 years ago, the Russians claimed cultural and intellectual superiority over us and the rest of the world with the launch of the first space satellite, Sputnik. Somehow the Russian psyche (like our own in many respects) is one that insists it is the best at everything and that it invented virtually everything worth inventing. Those of you old enough to remember, can relate to yesterday's celebration of the 1972 Cold War chess victory of American Bobby Fischer over Russian world champ Boris Spaasky. We remember with relish how Fischer used American-style "psyching out" strategies to defeat Spaasky - as, believe it or not, millions listened and watched for the results of a chess match! But this was not any chess match - this was Communism against Capitalism.

Many in this country praised Vladimir Putin's decision not to go along with the war in Iraq, but it would also be wise to remember that his re-election yesterday was largely a dressed-up reprise of the communist-era cold war "elections" in Russia. Resumes are important for those of us looking for full time employment again, and Putin's resume, in case you did not know it, includes leadership positions in the former Russian secret police, the KGB. Among other 1960s Chicago-style election tactics used this week, Putin set up grocery stands with give-away prices next to polling booths. The Russian media ignored the other five candidates. Maybe the Russians have learned something from how we do things.

Responding to criticisms from the Bush administration for using heavy-handed tactics to win the election (about the last place such criticism should come from), Putin rightly responded that the U.S. was hardly in a position to make such judgments.

However, Vladimir just couldn't help himself when, as ABC News quoted him this morning, he stated that it was appropriate that he use an "Old Russian Proverb: Take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Sorry Vladimir, but both you and ABC News need to check your sources. If memory serves me right, that quote is actually quite a bit older, perhaps 2,000 years older, and comes from the most widely read book in the world.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link