Monday, September 26, 2011

Twelve More Years Of Putin, There's a Punchline, Somewhere, Florida Straw Poll Where I Rip Off the St Petersberg Times

Matthew Sutton

The big news out of Russia, is the happy announcement that Vladimir Putin has decided that he will become the next Russian President again, and will appoint Dmitri Medvedev as Prime Minister. Since the tenure of President has been changed from four to six years, that means that Putin will be in charge for the next twelve years, until 2024... This officially means to the Russian people that all hope has disappeared. At least with Medvedev, he gave voice to the reforms he would make, too bad they were empty promises... To be honest, I can't think of any other industries that Putin needs to own or acquire as President, so it must be for his ego, strange and twisted as it is. Of course, their still has to be an election. What if nobody showed up to vote? Would they still go ahead with an Iranian solution? Interesting to see what BS he would come up with, eh?

Maybe he has a hit list like the Obama administration, and won't rest until they're all either in prison or have been assassinated... In that spirit, I offer some of the Putin jokes that have been making the rounds:

1)  A Russian spy critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin was radioactively poisoned in a sushi restaurant. In a remarkable death-bed letter the spy accused Putin of killing him. Police recently uncovered the spy's Zagat survey form where he complained about the restaurant's "lack of ambiance" and warned diners to "stay away from the Polonium-210 Roll."
Putin maintained that there is no evidence that Alexander Litvinenko died a "violent death." He repeated his call for all Russians to get an annual radioactive flu shot and not to disagree with him in order to prevent further deaths.

2)  ― Have you heard, Putin ordered the government to stop the inflation.
     ― Well, not exactly, he ordered to have it held back...and jailed.
(It is a pun: Russian zadierzhat means both to hold back and to detain.)

3)  Stalin's ghost appears to Putin in a dream, and Putin asks for his help running the country. Stalin says,
"Round up and shoot all the democrats, and then paint the inside of the Kremlin blue."
"Why blue?" Putin asks.
"Ha!" says Stalin. "I knew you wouldn't ask me about the first part."

4)  Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev go out to a nice restaurant. The waiter approaches them and asks what they would like to eat.
"I'll have the meat." says Putin.
"Very good sir," said the waiter. "And for the vegetable?"
"He'll have the meat, too"

After the last Republican debate in Florida, there was a straw poll, which has absolutely no meaning or validity of any kind. Herman Cain won that one, and he has been gloating all afternoon. But the folks at the St Petersberg Times want you to know that the Florida straw poll does have meaning and the lessons learned were enumerated by their columnist Adam Smith - Here are 10 things we learned about the Republican Party and its field of presidential candidates:

1. The idea of Rick Perry is a lot stronger than the reality of Rick Perry.

Republicans eager for a principled, proven conservative as an alternative to Mitt Romney hoped the Texas governor would roar to the front as a forceful contrast to President Barack Obama in the general election. Instead, they saw a halting and unsteady debater who looked over his head. Florida killed his front-runner status.

2. Conservatives are as hungry as ever for a Romney alternative.

No question Herman Cain wowed voters in the Presidency 5 straw poll, but many of his backers have no expectation he will win the GOP nomination. It was a particularly conservative part of the Republican electorate voting Saturday and it sent a thunderous message of rejection to the front-runners. Romney has been campaigning in Florida for at least five years and still finished third.

3. Electability matters. Debates matter.

Even in the tea party era where conservative purism is prized, Republicans are determined to beat Obama. Throughout the Orange County Convention Center, formerly enthusiastic Perry supporters backed away, saying his debate performance left them uneasy about his ability to take on the president. While debates are dominated by talking points and rehearsed one-liners, they've also been drawing big ratings. And in Perry's case, Thursday's debate proved how they can make or break a campaign.

4. Voters demand specifics.

In this economy it's not enough to just attack Obama, offer vague promises or, as Perry did, say he'll eventually deliver an economic plan for the country. One of the things many delegates said they liked about Cain was his relentless focus on his "9-9-9" plan: 9 percent national sales tax, 9 percent flat business tax and 9 percent flat personal income tax.

5. It's too late for another viable candidate.

Despite the chatter about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumping into the race, Perry showed how hard it is to mount a serious campaign just four months before the voting starts. Courting major fund-raisers, developing a platform, preparing for debates and actual campaigning are extremely tough to do with so little time.

6. Perry made Romney a better candidate.

Forced by Perry's momentum to abandon his play-it-safe, inevitable nominee approach, Romney, right, is looking less like an automaton and more like a tough fighter.

7. Illegal immigration is toxic among Republican primary voters.

Not so long ago, then-Gov. Jeb Bush supported driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and then-state Rep. Marco Rubio supported a bill to give tuition assistance to children of illegal immigrants without causing a firestorm. Those days are gone. Romney, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum bludgeoned Perry for supporting in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants in Texas.

8. Michele Bachmann is no longer relevant.

Less than 2 percent of the straw poll voters supported the Minnesota congresswoman, right, who used to be the darling of tea party activists.

9. Republicans are energized.

They may be ambivalent about the top contenders in the race, but the Presidency 5 event left no doubt that the activist base of the party is fired up and passionate about making Obama a one-term president. He is the greatest unifying force Republicans have had in years.

10. Florida matters.

Three times the winner of the state party's straw poll has gone on to win the nomination. Cain will likely break that streak, but Florida demonstrated once again what an unpredictable and important political battleground it is. Cain may still be a long shot for the nomination, but the straw poll inflicted major damage to Perry, who campaigned harder than anyone.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at


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