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Mr. 95.5%

When I return home from my month long -- hell, six-week!! -- vacation in West Palm Beach I usually find a bored and angry trophy wife, piles of paperwork, and a gang of sycophants just waiting for access to Il Commandante (that's me). It's usually then that, with a sigh of regret, I say to my mistress 'See you in a week, honeybunny.' 

This year, I turned on the news. And I saw what I'd missed since my well-deserved vacation -- the public mastery of the art of dictatorship. 

Large teeth

Sure, one can say that my friend Vladimir's move into the Crimea is a classic and obvious power and terriotory grab. True enough, but it's clear he's also absorbed my book like no other. But the impressive thing, to this old autocrat, is the panache with which he's moving. Consider:

  • The referendum organized with jaw-dropping speed

  • The pristine motives for invasion (e.g., to 'protect' the Russian minority)

  • The way he caught the international community flat-footed

  • The way he's fueled the notion that Crimea, whatever else happens, is Russia's for ever

  • The thumb-your-nose at the West election results -- 95.5%! -- now that's the way to rig an election, dictator-style! 

So bravo, Vlad ... but if you were expecting more than that, or expecting to be placed on my level, well, think again. All this belligerence is fine, but remember you've got your legacy to think about. I'm not sure that you'll be looked on with kindness 100 years from now. If that's that the case, and you are hailed as 'Vlad the Great', then my apologies. But until then, you're not entitled to my bullet-proof Cadillac. Rich Tater has spoken. 

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