Putin returned to our loving public gaze on Monday, after disappearing for 11 days. There was spin coming out of every source possible, and tons of speculation. One rumor put him in Italy at the secret birth of his lovechild with Russian Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. But thank the stars our paragon of stability in Russia has returned. Where are we going to go for our semi-subtle passive aggressive brinksmanship? Tehran? Caracas?
No, it’s got to be Moscow, and it’s got to be that toothy-grinned, former-KGB rascal Putin.
Only a guy like that could pull something like this off in the modern age. This is a king’s move. Whether it was a love child, the even more plausible health scare, or a third scenario which may sound a bit nutty—a failed coup that had him detained for a time before his rescue (hey, I’ve read my Tom Clancy)—no other head of state could go radio silent for nearly two weeks and shrug it off like it was no big deal.
It’s not like Russia isn’t embroiled in several international conflicts currently that could go all pear-shaped at any moment. Putin himself recently confirmed his willingness to use nukes to secure the Crimea region.
So one can only imagine the type of power—true power, not a lot of Twitter followers—that Putin must hold to be able to do something like that.
Mark Sanford couldn’t even keep a six-day love jaunt under wraps, and he was just the governor of South Carolina, a decidedly less crucial strip of real estate than Russia. Where’s a Pussy Riot distraction when you need one, am I right, Governor?<
I recently bragged about Hillary Clinton’s ability to stay above the fray by staying totally below the radar. Well, you’re about to see her put on a master class about keeping your trap shut and waiting out a scandal.
The former secretary of state and presumed future president has a not inconsiderable mess in her lap. Her use of a private “homebrew” server for emails while at the State Department is a huge deal, and a big stick in the eye of the Obama administration’s supposed transparency. Her explanation was woefully insubstantial. Maureen Dowd took her to the woodshed in a column that shook the weekend political talkosphere. James Carville went on TV and said everyone knows what she did, that she hid her email because she “didn’t want Louie Gohmert rifling through her emails” (something I’ve said to myself before when deleting emails). And he was defending her.
But Hillary’s no dummy. She’s not going to defiantly call out anybody, she’s not going to draw a lot of attention. And she’s damn sure not going to let herself get caught in a debate with Elizabeth Warren, a contender she no doubt fears (a little).
She’s going to hunker down.
If there’s one thing Hillary Clinton knows, it’s that there’s always another scandal brewing somewhere to take people’s minds off whatever she or Bill did most recently. It’s like waiting for a subway; if your train blows by without letting you on, you don’t go running down the tracks screaming at it. You just wait for the next one.
By Sidney Reilly