Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's critics could hardly accuse him of abandoning Kremlin commitments to human rights, since those commitments have been dubious at best. But he's gone on the offensive anyway.
Russia's de facto No. 2 plans to use a visit this month to the United States for a UN General Assembly and a G-20 summit to turn the tables, according to Itar-Tass:
With less than a week to go before the September 22-25 visit, Medvedev's planning team must be in overdrive.
So we'd like to do our part and suggest a few American dissidents who might fit the Kremlin's bill as the payback date approaches. (Note to Medvedev handlers: American regime-bashers come from both wings of the political spectrum, although they often sound indistinguishable.)
Noam Chomsky -- iconic linguist, lecturer, and voice of the left for decadesFor: instant cachet among the beard-stroking intellectual elite of any nation
Against: makes Marx look like a reactionary; kind of stingy with his Facebook friendships
Rush Limbaugh -- combative radio talk show host of the rightFor: millions of fawning American listeners every day
Against: you can't get a word in edgewise
Michael Moore -- documentary filmmaker whose enormous success at Cannes earned him powerful enemies in the U.S.For: revered in many circles
Against: reviled in nearly all the others
Kanye West -- rapper and record producerFor: influential with the young set; feuding with current U.S. president
Against: tends to go off-message
Sarah Palin -- former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governorFor: close neighbor of Russia's; got on great with Pakistan's president; sees America on the verge of slipping into terminal communism
Against: see McCain/Palin '08; sees America on the verge of slipping into terminal communism
Reverend Jeremiah Wright -- former pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago who famously inveighed "God damn America!" from the pulpitFor: friends in high places
Against: out of step with said friends
Gus Hall -- American Communist Party leader who stuck with it through years of persecution and the Soviet collapseFor: though now dead, Hall, too, regarded Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin as "a wrecking crew"
Against: symbolic visits to monuments to dead Communists are no longer the preferred Russian photo op
Sean Penn -- Oscar-winning actor/director and political activistFor: lots of showbiz friends and a cozy relationship with the Huffington Post
Against: less disgruntled since January
Christopher Hitchens -- former flame-breathing Trotskyite turned neocon boosterFor: dual nationality lends him trans-Atlantic heft
Against: hard to tell whose side he's on; interventionist bent and outspoken atheism could backfire on the Russian leader; he laid waste to Mother Teresa, for goodness sake
Eric Cartman -- vitriolic "South Park" fourth-graderFor: global recognition and an enemy of political correctness
Against: has variously advocated or committed tyranny, piracy, genocide, pedophilia, murder, misogyny, blackmail, hate crimes, rape, and terrorism
Medvedev's handlers might welcome more suggestions. Got any?
-- Andy Heil