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Hey, American conservatives: Why do you love this socialist, who hates your guts?

Whenever we publish a news article that mentions President Duterte (in good faith, without any attempt at bias) we expect to be attacked. (For clarity: This is an “opinion” column, so I’ll say what I damn well please here).

We understand that his army of Filipino trolls will jump on anything that doesn’t portray him in the most glowing of terms, but we’ve been rather confused by the number of apparently right-wing American patriots who so often take issue with our reports.

Even when we merely convey, without comment or condemnation, the words that issue (on record) from his own mouth, we’re often accused of having a hidden agenda. Comments at the foot of such stories are peppered with insults such as “cry-baby libs”, “leftards” and (my personal favourite) “liberal bitches”.

Whenever I’ve looked at the Facebook pages of these commentators, more often than not, I find myself reading the thoughts and opinions of a deeply conservative and patriotic American.

So this is why I’m confused: Mr Duterte is a self-described socialist who hates America. In case anyone is still in doubt about this, let’s just recap some of our recent news (and news-based opinion) stories about the man…

He seems to be doing everything he can to sideline and insult his former “imperial” masters (also, see this). He wants to bring in visas for American citizens, close US military bases, cosy up to Washington’s most intractable opponents in Beijing and Moscow and even refuse aid payments from the country.

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If that’s not enough, he said that “three out of five Americans are idiots” (also see here) called the former US ambassador a “gay son of a bitch” (because he had the temerity to criticise Duterte after he said that he “should have had first go” on an Australian nun who was raped before being murdered) and called Barack Obama a “son of a whore”.

Now, I know I’ll have to pause here, because after that last point I can almost hear the cries of “hell, yeah, goddam Obama”, “ain’t that so” and “you tell him Rody!”… Ok, so maybe you don’t like Obama, and never voted for him. Fair enough, but he’s still your democratically elected head of state and deserving of some respect (from foreigners, at least). It’s a generally accepted diplomatic convention that national leaders don’t insult one another’s mothers. I don’t think even Hitler said anything horrid about Churchill’s parentage.

Given some of the points I’ve just mentioned, it’s particularly baffling that some of the most fervent defenders of Duterte are former US servicemen. Surely they should retain (at least in theory) some loyalty to their nation’s commander in chief? Seeing their country’s long-standing ally getting cosy with old enemies must cause some alarm and annoyance. No?

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Just a few days ago, we reported how armed communist guerrillas — still fighting Asia’s longest running Maoist/Marxist insurgency — openly gathered in the centre of Duterte’s power base in Davao, and declared their support for him. “The Reds would die for me,” the president (perhaps optimistically) declared just weeks earlier.

Some of these American veterans supporting Duterte are members of that brave generation who actually fought, often hand to hand, against the forces of communism. So how can they be so comfortable with backing a self-declared socialist who insults their leaders, and scorns their serving brothers in arms?

How does this work? I am genuinely bamboozled. Is it just because he’s being tough on crime? Dead bodies in the street, or in churches, are the sign of a good leader? Is that how it is? As basic, and as unthinking as that?

By that count, why aren’t you conservative patriots fans of Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein? What about Castro? Or Chavez? They all took a firm hand on “criminality”, and at least one of them was on the right of the political spectrum. So, why weren’t you lot cheerleaders for any of them?

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So, again, now I’ve mentioned dead bodies in the streets (as a bad thing) some commentators will conclude that they were right the first time, and I am indeed a “liberal bitch”. But as I have admitted elsewhere, I generally describe myself as an extremely old-fashioned British Imperialist. I genuinely believe that much of the developing world would be much better today if there were red-faced blokes called Cuthbert or Dave hitting people with sticks for driving like idiots or dumping rubbish in rivers. An unfashionable view, of course, but one that absolutely disbars me from being labelled a “liberal”.

If there is one thing I can quite honestly (and seriously) take pride in from the British legacy to the world, it’s the rule of law, habeas corpus and the right to fair trial by jury. From what I understand, some of you chaps from over the pond are also quite fond of these concepts too. In his policy of encouraging extra-judicial killings, Duterte is trashing these concepts, that were bequeathed to his nation by America.

So, with all this said, how can any proud American, whether they served their nation or not, and from whichever wing of the political spectrum, possibly express support for this man?

Is it really just because he’s “tough on drugs”?


14 Comments on "Hey, American conservatives: Why do you love this socialist, who hates your guts?"

  1. MOST Americans married to Filipinas support him simply because their wives do. It’s that simple. Instead of educating their wives on politics and instilling some common sense in them, they just go along with whatever beliefs their previously impoverished wife holds. The irony is that in many cases the wife is so desperate for a better Philippines, one where she doesn’t have to “sacrifice herself” with an aged expat just to feed her family, that she’s willing to take a chance on Duterte and his promises.

    • I find it strange to hear this, the majority of expats that I know that are married to locals have wives that do not support him and many of them have a different opinion. Can make for some VERY lively dinner table conversations.

  2. Dave, that’s the reality of it down here in the provincial Visayas. Only a couple thousand expats around here, but they tend to just tow the line. You can find the same sentiment on the expat forums, where those delusional fools just repeat the same Duterte rhetoric. A few of them are finally realizing their mistake, but much too late. Oh well, Filipinos and expats get the president they deserve.

  3. The writer of this article should visit Expats pages living in Philippines. A lot of expats have cursed Duterte especially when he started swearing against U.S President Obama. And by the way, if ever there were expats loved Duterte, I think it’s none of your business anymore. Just like you, they are free to choose whom they will like or love. What a crappy acrticle here!

    • I never said all expats hate the president. This article was based on my experiences of right-wing commentators on this site (so yes, so it is sort of my business when somebody calls me a “liberal bitch”). And yes, of course they are free to choose who they like or love, just as we are all free to have an opinion on their choices. What a crappy comment! (CD)

  4. my wife and her family do not support Duterte in the least. And she would have a good laugh if some one told her that she was “sacrificing” herself to me, lol

  5. All of this is based on ignorant generalizations. I love how the author groups all American Conservatives as Duterte supporters. I am married to a Filipina, I am an American Conservative, I despise Duterte, so does my wife. I know many others just like her and I. Get a grip.

    • Hey Dale, where in the article do I refer to “all” American expats? (Clue: I don’t) As it goes, all the conservative Americans I know personally in the Philippines share your opinion about Duterte. This article was based on a number of comments we’ve received on recent articles. Cheers.

  6. I agree with Larry. Last year in Philippines, before getting voted in, I would ask my wife her thoughts and some of her family and friends. I would also listen to the things Filipinos would say. I have a few Filipino friends from co-worker living in Pasay. I would ask them. I would listen but not try to get involved. I tried to explain to my wife the promises and propaganda her and her family believes come at a high cost, The protections and rights in the US. All I would say is to my wife that this guy is going to be dangerous and not good. I can see and feel her reel back not understanding the world and the protections she will have as a US citizen. For expats and many visitors as I, the future I want in Phils., may not be looking good. I enjoy some of the freedoms in Phils but never liked the strictness in Davao for years.

  7. Once again I do not believe most Americans support this President. My wife sure didn’t vote for him.
    All the sites I follow it seems most Americans do not support this man

    • I agree that most Americans don’t support Duterte. CD’s article never said that. But those Americans who attack us for criticising him (even when we’re not) always seem to be conspicuously on the right (based on their Facebook feeds). My real-life American mates are all, to a man, anti-Duterte. Most of them are conservative – but above all believe in the rule of law. This article was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and a response to the insults our reporters have shouldered in doing their job. Thanks for your comment Jerry.

  8. Of course, nobody in this thread will admit they let their wife vote for Duterte, or even associate with anyone who supports him….it’s comical. Read the 3 biggest Philippines expat forums…almost 100% Duterte before the election. It’s like Obama’s first election…overwhelming support and hindsight regret…apparently, nobody voted for him….lol.

  9. Chicago Mike | January 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm |

    I love Duterte for standing up to American BS. U S foreign policy has been self serving and warlike all my 76 years and then some. Beg D tells it like it is. So did the other four you reference. They were all good men if you could see through the propaganda.

  10. andy engelhardt | January 6, 2017 at 3:34 am |

    more than 90% of the european loves duterte.100% of european , who live in davao , love duterte.of course USA dont like him, he is not an american marionette like the other presidents before,who sold their people for a coupple dollars.

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