Time’s choice is Vladimir Putin — coincidentally our cover story in weekly Variety this week — and it drew an immediate reaction from Mitt Romney.
“Disgusting,” he told Glenn Beck on his radio show.
“You know, he imprisoned his political opponents. There have been a number of highly suspicious murders,” Romney said. “He has squelched public dissent and free press. And to suggest that someone like that is the Man of the Year is really disgusting. I’m just appalled.”
“Clearly General Petraeus is the person, or one of a few people, who would certainly merit that designation,” he added.
John McCain wasn’t as appalled — it is just a magazine promotional stunt. And last year the choice was “You.”
But he too made sure to recognize Petraeus, and make the point that the surge is working.
“I noticed that Time Magazine made President Putin the Time Magazine ‘Man of the Year,’” McCain said, according to NBC. “I understand that probably, but my man of the year is one Gen. David Petraeus, our general who has brought success in Iraq.”
The choice of Putin, however, is a welcome return to a singular figure, rather than the concepts like “The Whistleblowers” or Planet of the Year. What most people forget is that the editors also face the prospect of choosing the person who has the greatest impact on the world that year — so it naturally isn’t always going to be a saint. The last “disgusting” figure was probably Ayatollah Khomeni in 1979.