The Washington Post Sees Striking Similarities Between Greg Abbott and Vladimir Putin

VladimirPutinShirtless.jpg
Hopefully Greg Abbott will also take fashion cues from Putin.
At first blush, it wouldn't seem that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have much in common. The former is an ex-KGB agent who, through a bizarre combination of dictatorial repression and sheer animal magnetism, has cemented his status as Russia's de facto leader for life. The latter is Texas' duly elected Attorney General who seldom, if ever, is photographed shirtless.

Those are superficial differences, and the Washington Post thinks the men have more in common than either would probably like to admit. In an editorial today, the paper takes on Abbott's recent bombast directed at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a respected international body that dispatches election observers to monitor elections.

Abbott was not about to let European intruders tread on Texas soil, at least not within 100 feet of a polling place. He threatened to arrest any election monitors who did so, then sent a strongly worded letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to underline the point. Such threats were necessary, Abbott argued, to protect the integrity of the state's election from outside meddling. Never mind that the state's recent voter ID law does exactly that.

Turns out, Putin's administration took a remarkably similar stance against observers from the OCSE. The country's election czar referred to them as spies, while another post-Soviet autocrat, Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev, threatened to bar them altogether.

The Post is a bit perplexed by Abbott's "bizarre" chest-thumping, concluding that he is pandering to the "paranoiacs in the Republican Party who have bought into the theory that OSCE election monitors are determined to subvert voter ID laws."

Such grandstanding, the paper argues, comes at a cost. Abbott's threats against a well-respected international body dedicated to ensuring free and fair elections, and their subsequent endorsement by Governor Rick Perry, represent "a propaganda gift to dictators everywhere."

More to the point, Mr. Abbott has no business interfering with international election monitors from a group in which the United States is one of 56 member states. According to the State Department, visiting international election officials are accorded diplomatic immunity. "In general we give them protected status, as we expect of our people when we participate in OSCE delegations," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

One reason that the United States remains so widely admired is its habit of democratic transparency. That transparency represents an admonition, and a threat, to autocracies and dictatorships. Most states get that and welcome international election monitors. Texas should get a clue.

No doubt the Post's editorial is already prompting Abbott to do some soul-searching. Perhaps tomorrow will reveal a kinder, gentler Greg Abbott no longer bent on pandering to right-wing conspiracy theorists.

Or he'll sue them. One of the two.


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15 comments
wayneriddletx
wayneriddletx

Abbott did not accuse the OSCE monitors of being spies; he laid out Texas law, which does not allow for persons that are not registered Texas voters to enter polling stations. If they want permission to monitor Texas elections, then they need to apply to the state of Texas not the U.S. State Department. The federal govt is not our overlord.

 

Also, the OSCE, which you refer to as "a respected international body" belies the fact that many of the OSCE members & monitors are not even democratic countries, but actually dictatorships. So much for being "respected."

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

I for one welcome our cultured socialist overlords, maybe some if their flair and panache will run off on the embarrassingly monolingual God-people of America.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Speaking of ripping off Putin's ideas, how about that ad aimed at your virginal daughters who just became of voting age? But then again, the Russkie stole the idea from Aussie Greens. Great minds think alike!

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

This is a big dust up over nothing.  The law is what it is.  Got forbid someone enforce the law.  It was designed to prevent intimidation at the polls.  So they didn't have the foresight to make exceptions for international observers when they wrote it.  Big deal.  Call you legislator.  

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

All of this assumed that the OSCE actually makes a difference in any election, dictator or not.  

 

They don't.  They are pontificating time wasters, and when they violate our laws, they need to be called on it.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Eric, while your comments about transparency of the voting process in America are laudable, the fact remains that the current political parties place a significant bar to entry to running for office.

 

Try looking at what is required to getting onto any ballot when you are not a member of either of the major political parties.

 

Then if you do manage to do so, there is criticism that the "person is not qualified" coming from multiple media outlets; which seems pretty lame when you consider the job that many of the current officeholders have done.

 

That being said AG Abbott is still, in my opinion, way off base in his comments.  He, like a number of other current officeholders, should be turned out of office as soon as possible.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Conservatives will always take the opportunity to poke anything related to the UN in the eye, no big deal, certainly not a coup, as the UN is not US government.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

Damm, I shouldn't have posted that - Abbott's gonna sue ME now!!

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

Other countries have crappy, oppressive governments thrust upon them by coup, revolution, etc.

 

Here in Texas we freely elected one.  Pathetic.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

And now Iowa is jumping on the anti-euro bandwagon, but it's 300 feet distance. With this and the 17 states that require photo ID, the US is becoming Soviet Russia! I wonder if the WaPo sees The cluster surrounding Benghazi as KGB-like as well?

Edward
Edward

My bet is on him suing them, IF he can also sue President Obama at the same time.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

In the words of repubs everywhere, "if you ain't done nothing wrong, what have you got to hide?"

I welcome the commie/socialist European elections monitors.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Montemalone - The first thing a conservative demands is a larger, more intrusive state.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @Montemalone - They got it.

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