Opinion: Gov. Katie Hobbs and ASU’s Michael Crow are on Russia’s list of banned Americans. But not me. The latest in a long line of snubs.
I can now add Vladimir Putin to the rogues’ gallery of politicians and political organizations who’ve tried to ruin my reputation by doing the worst thing they could do to a hack like me:
Leave me off their enemies list.
Know this, comrade Putin. You are not the first. Not by a long shot.
Way back in the 1980s, the governor of Arizona was a Trump-before-there-was-Trump politician named Evan Mecham.
He railed about “alternative facts,” appealed to the worse of humanity, believed his enemies were “shooting lasers through the windows” of his house to eavesdrop on him and once told a reporter — I swear I am not making this up — “Don’t ever ask me for a true statement again.”
The shame of not being declared a ‘non-person’
Mecham eventually was impeached and removed from office in a state Senate trial — a Republican who was done in by a group of Republicans who put state over party. (What a concept.)
I wrote column after column for The Arizona Republic criticizing Mecham and yet … and yet … when all the negative coverage finally pushed him over the edge and Mecham chose to publicly admonish his enemies, he declared Phoenix Gazette columnist John Kolbe — not me — as a “non-person” whom he would pretend did not exist.
I was crushed.
And what about organizations like the National Rifle Association?
NRA cruelly makes me look like a friend
Over the years I’ve portrayed that group as the fear-mongering con artist it is, written in favor of licensing and registration, and closing the gun-show loophole, and banning assault weapons, and more.
And yet, some years back, when the NRA put together a list of people and organizations who “support the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms and which organizations didn’t” I was not among those listed as enemies.
Jimmy Carter was on the list. Drew Barrymore was on the list. Matt Damon. Sting.
Even — and this really hurt — my old buddy and former editorial columnist for The Republic, Steve Benson, was on the list.
But me? No.
Finchem omits me from his ‘Treason Watch List’
It happens locally, too.
For example, not too long ago, losing Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, who got a well-deserved financial smackdown from the courts recently, published what he called his personal “Treason Watch List.”
I’d written many columns about Finchem, one of Arizona’s most vocal election-denying, conspiracy-driven, insurrectionist supporters.
After groundless election challenge: Finchem ordered to pay sanctions
His personal list of enemies included the civil rights icon Jesse Jackson, former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and former Secretary of State John Kerry.
But not you-know-who.Now, it’s Putin.
Calling Putin a thug and murderer isn’t enough?
The plucky Russian dictator has been adding to a growing list of Americans who have been permanently barred from Russia. The number is more than 1,300.
Last week, Gov. Katie Hobbs was added to his list of enemies. Along with Arizona Rep. Eli Crane and Arizona State University President Michael Crow.
I have repeated in print a number of times how the late-Sen. John McCain called Putin a “thug and a murderer.”
I’ve mentioned more than a few times how McCain criticized Trump for kissing up to Putin at a meeting in Helsinki by saying, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
I wrote that basketball star Brittney Griner, locked up in a Russian jail for nearly 10 months, was a kidnap victim “in Putin’s criminal enterprise.”
Now I have incentive to do better (or worse?)
I’ve condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and rapped Arizona Republican Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar for being part of the “Putin wing” of the GOP.
But did any of that get me on the list?
Don’t get me wrong. There are more than a few people — politicians, mostly — who would gladly put me on an enemies list if they were adept enough to put one together.
Unfortunately, they are not.
In the meantime, this snub by the Russians will serve as an incentive for me to do better (or is it worse?)
Either way, spasibo, Putin.
Reach Montini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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