Putting Putin in power

Regardless of whether you call it vision or dream, when I fell off that barstool, I really saw something. And when that big guy from Tri-Met kicked me in the head for looking up his wife’s skirt, I found some answers. One was a cure for this itchy rash, and the other was a cure for the presidential woes of America. Sultry and sweet, fate whispered in my ear, almost inaudibly, “Look to the communists. A hero will become president.”

When I woke up, it was all clear to me. I was a fool to try finding a viable candidate among the corrupt rabble on Capital Hill; I needed to look outside our system. I needed to look outside our political ideologies. I needed a hero. Someone brave. Someone red. Someone the American people could really get behind. The choice was obvious. Who better to run the free world than Yang Liwei, Chinese astronaut, just back from his first trip to outer space?

But after three days of telephone calls produced nothing but a recording of his grandmother singing Elton John’s “Rocketman,” I got sober and gave up. If the answer weren’t Yang Liwei, then who was my muse talking about? I needed a president. In the wake of the Cold War, who has ties to communism and is charismatic and gallant enough to save America from the GOP? The answer is so obvious I can’t believe I missed it the first time.

Less than 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been surpassed in many ways by a democratic Russia. The enthusiasm of freedom has created a country fresh and giddy in its youth, full of new ideas and heroic figures. They have a better mafia than we do. Better porn. More brazen drug traffickers. Cheaper vodka. Upwards of 5.5 million Big Macs sold and a president who isn’t afraid to stick to his guns. And it’s that kind of resilience that America needs. So here it is: my official endorsement for Vladimir V. Putin, United States presidential candidate for 2004.

Last weekend, Putin showed the world what a badass he is, dramatically arresting Russia’s richest man Mikhail Khordorkovsky in an early morning raid on his private jet. Russian special forces, guns drawn, rushed Khordorkovsky in Siberia, arresting him on charges of fraud and tax evasion, which could carry penalties of up to 10 years in jail and runs the risk of crippling Russia’s stock market. Putin doesn’t care, though, because he’s setting an example. And what an example it is. Khordorkovsky represents the best of the worst of Russia’s “oligarchs,” men who since the fall of the Soviet Union have gotten grossly wealthy through what at best can be described as shady business practices. And it doesn’t stop there. While U.S. Democratic hopefuls are busy calling names and pulling each other’s hair, the GOP puppet strings are pulling George Jr. into a second term. Putin, meanwhile, has driven at least three more of his richest enemies out of Russia with the threat of arrest. You make the call. Who’s going to get things done?

And it’s not like Putin represents some sort of angelic na퀌�ve ideals. He knows that a strong upper class is vital to the success of capitalism and has allowed the devious rise of the oligarchs with the simple assertion that they stay away from politics. When Khordorkovsky began making blatant moves for the Kremlin by backing candidates to oppose Putin, prosecutors began investigating his oil conglomerate Yukos and within months were making an arrest. No Vodkagate trials, no pandering and appointing to high-ranking cabinet positions (who would do that?) – just kicking ass and taking names. And that, my friends, is what I’m looking for in an American leader.

It’s arguable that the last three presidential elections were decided not by outstanding candidates but by the presence of strong third parties. People are so enamored by the novelty of a third choice that independent candidates have succeeded in only undermining their closest ideological contenders, but still doing nothing to eliminate the hold our bipartisan system has over America. Perhaps something from out of left field is just the answer to our antiquated problem. No one will know what to do with a Russian candidate. It’ll throw the election into chaos. And I think recent events in California show that media frenzy will get even the most ludicrous candidate into office.

Sure there are hurdles. The memory of the Cold War is fresh in the mind of many Americans. A Russian in the White House may bring to life the paranoid decades between McCarthyism and “Red Dawn,” but I think with a new season of “Temptation Island” under way we may be able to slip this under the radar. Plus, with Gorbachev doing ads for everyone from Apple to Pizza Hut, American viewers are accustomed to the sight of Russian leaders and American ideals sharing the screen. And while the American-born presidential stipulation is a pretty big one, I think it’s something we can talk our way around; ever since the 2000 election, the constitution has seemed really pass퀌� anyhow. So crack those cases of Stoli, boys, put on your ushankas and hop on the bandwagon, because were going to save this country one vote-ski at a time. Putin in 2004. Putting the RED in the Red, White and Blue.