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Putin Lectures Democrats on Losing with Dignity

Suck it up, losers—Russian President Vladimir Putin, press conference, Moscow, Russia, 2016.12.23
Suck it up, losers—Russian President Vladimir Putin, press conference, Moscow, Russia, 2016.12.23.

Нужно уметь проигрывать достойно—Nuzhno umet’ proigryvat’ dostojno—“One must know how to lose with dignity,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin of the U.S. Democratic Party. Fielding questions for nearly four hours at a big annual press conference today in Moscow, Putin was responding to a rambling question about a global revolt against old political concepts and elites, President Obama’s statement that Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave over Putin’s 37% approval rating among Republicans, and his apparent ability to manipulate elections around the world. “Как вы себя ощущаете“—How do you feel, asked journalist Yevgeny Primakov, Jr., grandson of former Russian prime minister and Putin’s political godfather Yevgeny Primakov, “в кресле самого влиятельного человека мира?“—in the seat of the most powerful man in the world?

Putin noted that Democrats didn’t just lose the Presidency but also elections in the Senate and the House, where Republicans kept their majorities. “Это что, тоже моя работа?”—What, is that also my work? the Russian President asked. (For the record, Democrats gained seats in both chambers.) He said it’s good that there are people like those pro-Putin Republicans who sympathize with our ideas and traditional values, because such sympathy is a pre-requisite for building relations between two such powerful nations. He said distinguished historical figures from the Democratic Party would be turning in their graves to see the current administration dividing the country. Putin Democrats’ divisive calls on Electors not to vote for Trump not only capped their election failure (By the way, said Putin, two Electors bailed on Trump, but four bailed on Clinton) but debased their dignity. Learn to lose with dignity, Putin tells Democrats.

This lesson in dignified losing comes from a president who reduces his chances of losing by creating a political climate in which journalists strangely tend to die when they challenge the government. His parliament has defined “those slandering the individual occupying the post of president of the Russian Federation” as “extremists” and given him the authority to kill such slanderers without trial, an authority he used to poison spy and defector Aleksandr Litvinenko. That’s dignity KGB-style.

We Democrats and Vladimir Putin may define dignity differently. But maybe that’s Putin’s point. Maybe he’s just offering some friendly advice to get tough with our opponents. On that count, I can agree with Putin. I don’t recommend polonium and ice picks, but I agree with Senator McCain that we should investigate Russian hacking. I agree with diplomat and counterterrorism expert Daniel Benjamin that we should investigate financial connections between our President-Elect and Russia.

And I suggest that perhaps on the way out the door, some intrepid member of the Obama Administration should grab a few papers that could answer questions on those topics and drop them off at the Washington Post. That’s how we play the game with dignity, right, President Putin?


  1. Roger Elgersma 2016-12-23 11:24

    We will keep our individual dignity no matter what fool runs this country.

  2. Robert McTaggart 2016-12-23 12:02

    Polonium gets deposited in the human body fairly widely. It is also an alpha-emitter (an alpha particle is a doubly-ionized helium atom common in radioactive decays).

    The good news is that outside the body those alphas can be stopped by paper. The bad news is that once inside the body you lose the external protection your skin provides. But I think in large part the chemical toxicity can do a lot of damage in large enough concentrations.

    Because it is an alpha-emitter, whatever container it comes in will not emit radiation because alphas are easily shielded, so it is hard to detect.

  3. Porter Lansing 2016-12-23 12:52

    Trump is the next Nixon and Putin is the next Castro. Relegated to the trash heap of public embarrassment and irrelevance by their own self-consumed decisions.

  4. Loren 2016-12-23 17:29

    Remember when the Republicans graciously conceded to President Obama and said, “Oh well, we lost. Guess we better not whine. Better give him a chance?” Remember that? REMEMBER? Uh huh.

  5. Darin Larson 2016-12-23 22:39

    It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to know that tyrants and dictators the world over don’t approve of Democrats and seem to have it out for us, while they sure like our Republican President-Elect and his Secretary of State to be. From Evil Empire to BFF comrades. From “tear down this wall” to “bring on the nuclear arms race.”

  6. Adam 2016-12-24 05:03

    I’m so glad to know that polonium is safe while it’s still in the test tube. Thanks Doc, for offering such deep insight on the Aleksandr Litvinenkoattempted murder.

    Vladimir Putin has just proved that these oceans can no longer protect this country from every danger. The ocean is not a digital firewall.

    Republicans are fine with foreign counties interfering with our elections just as long as it only helps them, but if it help the Democrats, oh my Lord would they wrap themselves in the American flag point at Democrats and claim they hated and were out to destroy America.

  7. Adam 2016-12-24 05:04

    *attempted murder

  8. leslie 2016-12-24 05:42

    BBC ‘s owen bennet reports 2006 Bush ambassador cables encouraged saudi arabia to exascerbate Syria’s exaggerated fear of sunni/shia sectarian strife. So just as KGB ‘s Putin, like CIA’s Bush Sr., swings USA’s election to distract Obama’s Syrian policy; sophomore Bush Jr’s neocons led by “president” Cheney started the 2nd Iraq War spilling blood yet today; intentional Destabilization of Syria, after destabilizing Iraq, after destabilizing OBAMA with racist scorched earth obstruction, is clearly now a viscious greedy republican hallmark of its conspiracy for power. Mitch McConnell illegally prevented Merrick Garland’s moderate Supreme Court replacement of zealot Scalia. Puppet Trump the uneducated mental lightweight, much like “turd blossom” Rove, will likely be manipulated by power hungry hypocrites like Gingrich, mad General Flynn and grinning elite .001 % billionaires. Upsetting Israel, cozying up to Russia, threatening China, Bolton’s hawks are back. Wow. Some strategy Thune.

  9. Darin Larson 2016-12-24 09:22

    Republicans lost two presidential elections to Obama and this is how he and his family is treated by the New York state co-chair for Trump’s campaign, Carl Paladino:

    Of Barack Obama, Paladino said in response to the question of what he would most like to see happen next year, “Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.”

    Paladino, an ally of Trump who recently visited Trump Tower, told a weekly paper in Buffalo that Michelle Obama was the person whom he would “most like to see go in 2017.”

    “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” Paladino said.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-12-25 08:04

    Good example, Darin, of the hypocrisy of Trump backers telling Democrats to behave with dignity. Barack and Michelle Obama write the book on dignity daily.

  11. mike from iowa 2016-12-25 09:18

    I am surprised wingnuts didn’t officially invite Putin to address Congress and not bother to inform our last legally elected Potus since “Slick Willie”. Pretty sure he would have received a thunderous round of applause from standing and then kneeling wingnuts.

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