Pew tells us about a new survey on the Olympics:
Russian President Vladimir Putin worked hard to get the International Olympic Committee to award this year's winter games to Russia and then plowed about $51 billion to turn the Black Sea resort of Sochi, with its subtropical climate, into a fitting site. But if the Russian leader hoped to burnish his country's image, and his own, the effort has fallen short -- at least, with the U.S. public.But disapproval of Putin is not even across the U.S. party spectrum:
About six-in-ten (58%) Americans expressed an unfavorable view of Putin compared with 27% who saw him favorably, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News survey....
That's right -- 32% of Republicans have a favorable view of Putin, as opposed to 20% of Democrats and 28% of independents.
Republicans also have the most favorable view of the Sochi games overall, and of the Russians' anti-terrorism efforts.
So what's up with this?
Steve Benen has frequently written about Republicans who think Putin is dreamy:
Social conservatives' love of Putin at least makes coherent sense. They hate gay people; Putin is cracking down on gay rights; so it stands to reason that that the right's theo-con wing would swoon over the Russian leader.Yup:
But for the rest of the party, this conservative cheerleading for the Russian president is getting creepier by the day.
... the right's embrace of Putin seems to have expanded well beyond social conservatives and anti-gay activists. Eric Boehlert reported ... on Republican media figures backing Putin with growing enthusiasm as U.S. tensions with Syria escalate.I think a surprising number of Republican voters feel the way Ralph Peters does. As far as they're concerned, Putin can take his shirt off for them anytime he pleases.
Note that late last month, just hours before Obama addressed the nation regarding Syria, Matt Drudge bizarrely tweeted that "Putin is the leader of the free world."RedState published a piece ... arguing, "We've reached a sad state of affairs when the Russian president has more credibility that [sic] the American president but that is where we are." Pat Buchanan defended Putin after the Russian leader prosecuted a rock band that played songs Putin didn’t like.
... On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh ... appeared to be impressed by the fact Russia had compiled a 100-page report blaming Syrian rebels for the chemical weapons attack, not Russia's longtime ally, President Bashar al-Assad. Limbaugh told his listeners: "Now, I don't know about you, but what does it feel like to have to agree with a former KGB agent?"
The Washington Times' Ralph Peters told Fox viewers ..., "I don't like Putin, but I respect that guy. He is tough. He delivers what he says he'll deliver. He knows his people. He presents himself as a real He-Man." ...