Kiggans Won’t Stand Up for Ukraine

As Americans in general – and Virginia in particular – careen towards Election Day, the fate of Ukrainian democracy has become a key separator between the parties. Unfortunately, the GOP has become increasingly comfortable with abandoning Ukraine to her bloodthirsty neighbor.

The Wall Street Journal conducted a survey revealing the damage (emphasis added).

The majority of Americans support continuing aid to Ukraine in what will likely be a prolonged war with Russia, but support is becoming a partisan issue as Republican opposition grows to helping the country, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll.

Some 30% of respondents overall said in the new survey they believe the administration is doing too much to help Ukraine, up from 6% in a March Journal poll. The change was driven by a big shift among GOP voters: 48% of Republicans now say the U.S. is doing too much, up from 6% in the previous survey.

The portion of GOP voters who said the U.S. isn’t doing enough to help Ukraine fell to 17%, a steep drop from 61% in March.

So what began as sideline chirping from KGBob and Marjorie Taylor Greene has become a feedback loop of appeasement between Republican voters and Republican leaders. The Russian tyrant himself has added fuel to the fire, as Tom Nichols noted.

This year, Putin tailored his message to appeal to right-wing forces in the United States and Europe. The Russian president has been pursuing his own version of “Unite the Right” for some time now, but at Valdai, he didn’t even bother with the pretense of speaking to diplomats and public intellectuals. Instead, he baited Westerners into arguing with one another about the culture wars instead of opposing his criminal war in Ukraine.

It’s not hard to spot the raw meat in his speech. “If the Western elites believe they can have their people and their societies embrace what I believe are strange and trendy ideas, like dozens of genders or gay-pride parades, so be it. Let them do as they please,” he fumed. “But they certainly have no right to tell others to follow in their steps.” Putin has been attacking gay and trans people in speeches for a while, but reprising his homophobic complaints at a place like Valdai is an indication that Putin is aiming for Western televisions, not an audience of international-affairs experts.

Putin would much rather have us arguing over gay rights than over how many more artillery systems to send to Ukraine. His comments at Valdai might seem like hyperventilation, Soviet-era blather, or even just plain silliness, but he knows what he’s doing. It’s up to us to make sure his culture-war-propaganda gambit doesn’t work.

The evidence clearly shows the GOP is eating up what Putin is serving. Even here in Virginia, it doesn’t stop with KGBob.

In the 2nd District – arguably the most competitive in the country and certainly the most competitive in the state – Ukraine came up in last week’s debate. Incumbent Democrat Elaine Luria reiterated her support for helping Ukraine defend itself.

As for her Republican challenger, here’s how the Virginian-Pilot put it:

Kiggans didn’t offer where she stands on aid to Ukraine.

In other words, as Republican support for Putin grows, the would-be Congresswoman refuses to speak out for the democracy under siege. We can’t risk her becoming another KGBob.

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