Wednesday, July 13, 2005


The biggest thing missing from the debate last year about presidential candidates was an asessment of their leadership skills, and natural abilities.

Now we are all talking about 2008, and there doesn't seem to be anyone really generating any real interest.

Sure character, intelligence, integrity, and honor are critically important (and Kerry failed on all but one), but none of them tell you much about a persons ability to lead.

Some folks are just natural leaders. People will follow them, and not know why. Natural leaders tend to generate intense passion and loyalty in their supporters, and intense hatred in their opponents.

Some others aren’t actually great natural leaders, but sociopaths who project leadership, which some are duped by, and then use that projection to manipulate the dupes. This is known as the “cult of personality” effect and can be illustrated in cult leaders and politicians like Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro, Hitler, Stalin etc…

There are people who are good leaders solely out of competence. They are just the best person for the job at the time.

Finally there are those who, whatever else they have or don't have; are good leaders because they have overwhelming character, resolve, and purpose. They are on a mission from god, or a holy quest, or a personal crusade and they are gonna take you with them.

To be truly great (or truly monstrous), you need to have at least two of these things behind you. We haven't had a president like that in a loooong time. Maybe Roosevelt, maybe not. Honestly since Lincoln I dont think there’s been a truly great leader as president, only some near greats.

Look at the last 50 or so years:

Bush has some natural leadership ability, but not much skill, and it’s stymied by his other faults.

Cinton was a sociopath plain and simple.

Bush senior was a good administrator, and competent, but not much of a leader.

Reagan was a natural leader, and had great moral character, but he wasnt quite there. Maybe as a younger man he would have been truly great as a natural leader.

Carter, a genius but he had no bottom and almost no natural leadership.

Ford, a joke. A scrub president selected because everyone thought he was too nice and too dumb to lie.

Nixon, a paranoid sociopath.

LBJ, a consumate politican, but no leadership ability at all. He was a great schemer, a great manipulator, a very intelligent man, but not a leader.

The best natural leader we’ve had in the White House in the last 50 years was clearly JFK. Sure the man had a hell of a lot of faults, but he inspired people to follow him. People still have an amazing passionate loyalty and affection for him today (of course this has MANY reasons, most of which are more myth than reality, but still). Unfortunately he had little else going for him. He wasn't very smart, or very competent, and he didnt have a great cause, other than his truly great love for America (which shouldn't be underestimated, but isn't enough for a successful presidency). Basically if he hadnt been shot he would have been well loved, but not done very much.

You would think Eisenhower was a great leader, but actually his subordinates didn't like him very much. What he was was a brilliant delegator, a solid desicison maker, and very good at bringing different elements of his commands together. Of course it was his brilliant delegation that brought us Fidel Castro, the Bay of Pigs, The Cuban Missle crisis, the Viet Nam war etc…

Everyone hated Truman as a boss. He was a nasty bastard, but he was good at his job, and he made tough decisions and mostly stuck to them. He was a very good postwar president, and a good practical leader, but not a natural leader.

You have to go back to Roosevelt before you get a truly great leader, and even then the guy started some things in America that may eventually end in our downfall so I’m not sure if he qualifies.

Of all the possible presidential candidates out there, with any chance in hell of being NOMINATED never mind elected; I can only think of three that I can picture voting for: Ron Paul, George Allen, and Condaleeza Rice.

Honeslty people, I'm not seeing the leadership there either...

So as I’ve asked all too many times before, who and where are our great leaders? I don’t see any coming up right now, and we’re gonna need’em real frikken soon.