Say what you will about Mikhail Gorbachev, I’m having a hard time today understanding the National Constitution Center’s decision to award him with the 2008 Liberty Medal.

Just look at this sentence – The former head of the Soviet Union is receiving The Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center.

Am I missing something?

The National Constitution Center’s 2008 Liberty Medal will be awarded to former Soviet leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev for his courageous role in ending the dangerous, decades-long Cold War and in giving hope and freedom to millions who lived behind the Iron Curtain. The public Liberty Medal ceremony will take place on Thursday, September 18, 2008, at the National Constitution Center in Historic Philadelphia, and will set the stage for international commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009.

To put it plainly, the freedoms described in the actual Constitution were and are mainly opposed by this man. He didn’t grant the people freedom. He just found himself a little short of money to keep quelling all these protests and revolutions.

The Liberty Medal recipient charmingly failed to warn the public about the damage from the explosion and fire in Chernobyl, which spread a radioactive cloud over the western Soviet Union. Gorbachev also wouldn’t allow international aid and relief because he was clearly more interested in covering up the incident.

And just in case you think he’s changed he recently, according to CNN, claimed that Georgia started the war with Russia.

And here’s a nice Gorbachev quote I bet they won’t be reading at the Constitution Center any time soon: “I am a Communist, a convinced Communist! For some that may be a fantasy. But to me it is my main goal.”

I’ve been to the National Constitution Center twice here in Philadelphia and found it…a little silly. But this makes it silly and stunningly stupid.

Gorbachev was certainly more reasonable than his predecessors but I’d hardly think he was one of the luminaries of promoting freedom. I mean, being the least murderous of all the heads of the Soviet Union doesn’t exactly make you a saint. The death of the Soviet Union was destined by their own flawed economic system and not solely by Gorby’s perestroika. Gorbachev was the Soviet Union’s reluctant undertaker. The tab for years of corruption and lethargy just came due on his watch.

Yes, he was certainly less bloodthirsty than many of his predecessors and we should be grateful for that. But this award from the National Constitution center seems to imply that he is in line with…well…the Constitution -which he is not.

In fact, Ronald Reagan, who was mysteriously left off the list of Liberty Medal recipients, once demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Now, typically you’d think that the guy demanding walls be taken down would be the recipient of the Liberty Medal Award but…nope.

Pope John Paul II also got no mention even though Gorbachev himself once said the collapse of the Iron Curtain would have been impossible without him. You remember him, right. He was the likely saint who backed Solidarity at the risk of his own life and who supported freedom, despite attempts on his life.

A list of former recipients include Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, CNN (I’m not kidding), Kofi Annan, and Bono (not of the Sonny variety but the self-righteous Irishman version.)’Nuff said.