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Diogenes, the legend goes, spent his life searching for an honest man.
He never found one.
Were he around today and living in America, his search would still be fruitless, especially when it comes to purported “leaders” of our nation.
Which raises another question: Can Americans find a real leader?
A time existed when the President of the United States was also considered the “leader of the free world.”
No more. A “free world” no longer really exists and America hasn’t had a true leader in decades.
True leaders are not controlled by the dictates of their political parties. Our Presidents, sadly, are.
True leaders are not swayed by vacillating public opinion polls, but our Presidents are.
True leaders do not follow the dictates of big-money contributors. Our Presidents do.
So, sadly, are the elected, and misnamed “representatives” who occupy the halls of Congress, a body of men and women devoid of leadership, principle or morality.
In the 2008 Presidential campaign, the laughable “advisers” to Republican candidate John McCain convinced him he needed Sarah Palin on the ballot as his running mate not because she was a potential leader or even a good governor. She was a “celebrity” who would help McCain compete with another celebrity named Barack Obama.
Obama, of course, won the election because he was the better celebrity, not because of any leadership capabilities. As a freshman Senator, he didn’t have any experience as a leader.
As President, he is not a leader and has lost much of his celebrity luster. He promised to close Gitmo but has not been able to accomplish that, among other failures.
Obama promised “the most transparent administration” in recent years but has delivered just the opposite, concealing actions, fighting freedom of information requests and misusing the “national security” excuse to hide many documents and issues.
He claimed lobbyists would have no role in his administration but gave in both the lobbying community and his own party to allow them not only access and a role but also turned the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act over to them so they could fashion a hobbled “reform” that benefit their industry more than it helped Americans.
Obama most likely will be remembered for either the success of failure of his well-intended health care reform plan that got mangled in actual creation.
The final outcome of Obamacare will define whatever legacy our current President has as either a success or a failure.
Obama followed George W. Bush, who was many things as President but “leader” was never in contention as a definition.
Same for Bill Clinton, probably the best “political” President in recent years but it’s hard to equate leadership with a President who talked with foreign heads of states on the phone while getting a blow job from a White House intern.
George H.W. Bush probably had more actual experience in government than any President in current memory but he also made the mistake of promising to not raise taxes and then let his advisers talk him out of keeping that promise. Is that a quality of leadership?
Some Republicans still hold on to the fantasy that Ronald Reagan was a leader. He was a former actor and not a very good one. He put on a better role of “acting” like a President but that was about it and many of the financial problems the nation faces today came out of his time in office.
America has become a country where candidates for public office are judged as symbols of a cause or icons to support a particular point of view.
Conservatives have their favorite sons (and daughters). So do liberals. Tea party devotees idolize their symbols with cult-like zealotry.
But is there a single, solitary “leader” out there to offer to the American public as President in 2016?
From where he sit, the answer is a quick and definitive “no.”
American, sadly, no longer produces leaders.
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