Are conservatives in the United States growing fond of Vladimir Putin?
Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post uncover a growing connection between conservative groups and Putin’s Russia. These conservatives are drawn to Putin’s views on guns and gay marriage. A Nashville lawyer with a porcelain bust of Putin in his office put it this way: “the value system of Southern Christians and the value system of Russians are very much in line.”
Before I give you a further taste of this article, I think I should mention that Putin is a ruthless dictator who probably ordered the deaths of several of his political enemies.
But at least he is pro-gun and anti-gay marriage.
Growing up in the 1980s, Brian Brown was taught to think of the communist Soviet Union as a dark and evil place.
But Brown, a leading opponent of same-sex marriage, said that in the past few years he has started meeting Russians at conferences on family issues and finding many kindred spirits.
Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, has visited Moscow four times in four years, including a 2013 trip during which he testified before the Duma as Russia adopted a series of anti-gay laws.
“What I realized was that there was a great change happening in the former Soviet Union,” he said. “There was a real push to re-instill Christian values in the public square.”
A significant shift has been underway in recent years across the Republican right.
On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country’s leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally.
The attitude adjustment among many conservative activists helps explain one of the most curious aspects of the 2016 presidential race: a softening among many conservatives of their historically hard-line views of Russia. To the alarm of some in the GOP’s national security establishment, support in the party base for then-candidate Donald Trump did not wane even after he rejected the tough tone of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who called Russia America’s No. 1 foe, and repeatedly praised Putin.
Read the entire piece here.