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GOP Falls Short in Standing Up Against Putin … and for First Amendment Rights

Republicans are missing a golden opportunity to seriously undermine Obama with his base.

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October 25, 2013 - 11:48 pm
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There seems to be some danger that the Republican Party is beginning to associate itself with a policy that permits it to disregard American citizenship and hurl certain Americans under the ideological bus. This is a bad idea, to say the least, both morally and politically.

On October 7, 2013, Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, received a bipartisan letter from over three dozen U.S. House members.  The lead signors were Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Democrat Mark Takano of California.  But only one other Republican, Richard Hanna of New York, signed the document.

The letter called on Blackmun to stand up for the rights of U.S. athletes against the International Olympic Committee, which was pressuring them not to make any public display of opposition to Russia’s draconian crackdown on the rights of homosexuals during the 2014 Winter Olympics to be staged in Sochi, Russia. Under the new laws, unless you hide your homosexuality in public you are subject to arrest. Similar laws prohibit many kinds of criticism of Putin.

Even a Republican who supports Russia’s crackdown on gays should be concerned about an IOC precedent that would muzzle American political speech.  Such a Republican should consider the possibility that the next IOC ban will be on displays of opposition by athletes visiting an Olympics host country which aggressively restricts the rights of those who protest against gay marriage or gay adoption. They wouldn’t care for that much, would they? Slippery slope.

Signing the Ros-Lehtinen letter would have been a perfect opportunity for such a Republican to establish credibility through moderation and to blunt criticism from the left that could have serious political repercussions in a country that now supports gay marriage by a strong and clear majority. As they have been doing so often these days, Republicans missed the boat.

But this brings up the question: Where do mainstream Republicans stand on Russia’s anti-gay crackdown?  According to left-wing extremist Rachel Maddow, they not only support the crackdown but helped enact it.

In a recent broadcast, Maddow relied on reporting from Right Wing Watch to suggest that since some Republicans support the National Organization for Marriage, and since the NOM’s president visited Russia to advocate for the enactment of that country’s anti-gay crackdown, the Republican Party is as much responsible for the crackdown as Vladimir Putin is. Maddow declared that Russia’s virulent homophobia was “made in America!”

Of course, mainstream Republicans had nothing whatsoever to do with Russia’s neo-Soviet pogrom against gays (just one of many groups that have been targeted, including all non-Orthodox Christians).  But the silence of mainstream Republicans on the Russian crackdown opens the party to scurrilous attacks like those Maddow and her ilk routinely offer. It’s a political and moral error, the kind that has seen the party pay a heavy price at the polls of late.  And this isn’t an isolated example.

Take the case of Peter Willcox, for instance.

Wilcox was the skipper of a Greenpeace vessel that was boarded in international waters by the Russian secret police.  The ship was circling a Russian oil rig in the Pechora Sea, a rig which had an expired spill contingency plan but was operating anyway. Greenpeace believed that Russia lacked the ability to respond appropriately to a spill, and that a situation similar to what occurred with the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico was in the offing.

Wilcox, who never even left his ship much less set foot on the Russian rig, was illegally Shanghaied and transported to Russia, along with his entire crew, and is being held without bail on absolutely bogus charges of “piracy” that could send him to a Russian dungeon for more than a decade.

If Russians can kidnap Peter Willcox today, which American citizens will they kidnap tomorrow?  Russians believe that all broadcast television should be state-operated, that critics of Putin can be arrested or murdered, that Hezbollah and Iran are friends to be supported and that the price of oil can never be too high. Are Americans on the other side of those issues subject to arrest?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I don't think there is anything worse than people who live in another country and constantly write about what people in another country do. If you want to change things in Russia, go there and try to change them.

There is nothing the US can do to change Russian conduct. We're not going to war, we're not going to do a trade embargo.

Frankly, this sounds like concern trolling. If Republicans make a big deal of supporting gay rights or the "environment", are they going to get any votes because of it? Er, no. All this talk about how the Republicans needs to be just like the Democrats in order to beat the Democrats is silly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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RINO”S you’re going home! The Tea Party "is" the Republican Party. Its members are the majority. We will not be dissuaded, deluded, compromised, delayed, detoured, bought or lured away. We will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, negotiate at the table of corruption, hesitate in the presence of adversary or meander in the maze of mediocrity. We won't give up, shut up or let up because we're prayed up and suited up. You won't have any problem recognizing us! We’re through with your phony, backstabbing, panty waist, cloistered backroom clique politics that have brought our country to ruin and the party to impotence. WE WILL VOTE YOU OUT!!!! WE WILL VOTE YOU OUT!!!! GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Tea Party is the Tea Party. Don't tarnish their viewpoint with the socialists that the Republican party has become.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As far as the Olympics are concerned, I would like them to be as apolitical as possible. I do not want athletes or even spectators using the games as an opportunity for protest, whether I agree with their views or not.

This is supposedly a time to set aside political and cultural differences and come together for the pure love of sport. Can't we ever take a break from the incessant posturing and preaching?!?

Putin is indeed a thug, but whatever influence we might have had on him died when the American people decided to hand over foreign affairs to an infantile fool.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Kim" is a dude....? Well, that explains a lot of 'his' article. People like "Kim" are a large part of the problem; promoting political correctness across international boundaries will do nothing but exacerbate existing tensions - Vlad knows that Barry's a pu$$y and will continue to rub his nose in the dirt until we get rid of the man-child weakling and elect a real president. Instead of looking at foreign policy as an adult, and facing real threats with concrete solutions, "Kim' wishes for us to stand up for the sodomites around the globe....What about the Germans being pissed off about Dear Leader snooping on Chancellor Merkel's cell phone? Is the solution to that supporting butt pirates in Frankfurt?

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If Russians can kidnap Peter Willcox today, which American citizens will they kidnap tomorrow?"

Russians are kidnapping American communists?

Color me...supportive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Americans have no right to demonstrate against Russian laws in Russia, and U.S. government support for such a demonstration would be a needless act of diplomatic hostility against Russia.

There seems to be a pattern at PJ Media. Yesterday there was an article against "death panels" that pretended that there's a "fundamental right" to have a terminally ill relative kept alive indefinitely, by hospitals whose resources are not unlimited. And now an article that claims that the First Amendment gives Americans the "right" to go to a foreign country and demonstrate against its laws while enjoying unlimited U.S. protection.

Mainstream so-called "conservatism" is degenerating into babbling idiocy, methinks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As nauseating as reality can be sometimes; we now know that the establishment GOP has embraced collectivism by embracing Obamacare; proven by their utter failure to combat the totalitarian monstrosity of that trojan horse.
Why be surprised at the capitulation to Putin's decrees. Ileana Ros Lehtinen is a warrior; unlike the majority of the GOP linguini-spined morons. The GOP is history; and is being replaced by American with a powerful love for and fidelity to our Funding Principles ... An American Party that truly has integrity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think there is anything worse than people who live in another country and constantly write about what people in another country do. If you want to change things in Russia, go there and try to change them.

There is nothing the US can do to change Russian conduct. We're not going to war, we're not going to do a trade embargo.

Frankly, this sounds like concern trolling. If Republicans make a big deal of supporting gay rights or the "environment", are they going to get any votes because of it? Er, no. All this talk about how the Republicans needs to be just like the Democrats in order to beat the Democrats is silly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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