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(I'm guessing Rohrabacher's hug-a-Nazi line wouldn't have gone over so well with the Tea Party crowd if he had admitted Reagan, his hero and White House boss, practiced the theory.)
At this point, the list of the congressman's boneheaded moves is approaching legendary status: Claiming vibrant democracy would result from George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq; hailing Arnold Schwarzenegger as California's fiscal savior; repeatedly hiring Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, an unrepentant molester of seventh- and eighth-grade boys, as his congressional aide; using public funds in 2007 to "solve" the Robert F. Kennedy assassination that was solved 39 years earlier; backing ally Dave Garofalo for Huntington Beach mayor before the man's corruption conviction; backing Mike Carona for sheriff before that man's corruption conviction; predicting Chris Cox would be a superb chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission before the man lead the agency into horrific scandals; lobbying on behalf of the Taliban as pro-democracy in the mid-1990s, when the terrorist group harbored Osama bin Laden; and claiming no anti-immigrant animus while calling Mexicans "Pedro" and "wetbacks."
But like the proverbial broken clock that accidentally finds the correct time twice a day, the congressman got something right at the Tea Party event: Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed the extent of government snooping. "He tipped off the American people as to what was going on," said Rohrabacher, who refuses to label the revelations treason. "They want to keep a record of every phone call you have ever made and will make. That's baloney! That's garbage! That's tyranny! That's totalitarianism!"
Putin must be tickled he has grabbed Rohrabacher's affection. To this day, the Russian leader speaks fondly of the old Soviet Union, one of the most oppressive systems in world history. It's no secret he climbed the ranks of the KGB by mastering the surveillance of his fellow citizens.
This column appeared in print as "Moscow's Mule: Dana Rohrabacher falls smitten with Russian strong man Vladimir Putin."