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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Victory, Defeat, and Leadership fortitude in uncertain difficulties

As an ardent sports fan , I could not help but sometimes attempt to asses a leader’s style , and even effectiveness through a sports lens . There is a certain predictability during smooth moments like victory in a competitive match, a political campaign duel, , or race to win a business lobbying effort. Expect to see some magnanimity in a few , and cockiness, and or ungraciousness toward the losers for other. Defeat brings on similar behaviors. A certain level of hand wringing , anger , and finger pointing by some , as opposed to introspections , grit , determination and optimism about opportunities to ultimately excel by others. It is however in the challenging and uncertain times that one get’s a chance to see the mettle of real leadership globally. No where has this been more vivid than within the historical annals of American Presidential politics.
Join me as we try to give a grade or passing mark to a few noteworthy political leaders that were either tested or was fortunate to avoid and meaningful challenge. For it to work you must work with me on a theory I am using as my base. It is that the sports one plays or adored is an indication as to how one would deal with issues down the road when confronted with deadly , eminent threats and other catastrophes. Let’s see how it worked through the years with a few modern American Presidents.
Richard I am a crook Nixon was an ardent bowler made courageous moves as he pushed ping - pong diplomacy with arch enemy Red China , as well as ended the extremely controversial Viet Nam war during his term of office.
Without these early preambles China would not have emerged into the global pseudo capitalist democracy that it is today, where non regulated business , and blatant human rights atrocities are the norm.
Gerald Ford had a tough time as President due in part to his daily physical and political fumbles. He was however an extra special footballer, with pro capabilities , which he ignored for public service . He took over the country during one of it’s worse economic recessions. He was condemned for granting a Presidential pardon to Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal and deserves an A - for leadership for standing up to principles and being a real team player when it was not popular. His position during the 1976 health crisis was unpopular and politically disastrous.
The two Bushes and Ronald Reagan were ardent Baseball fans and dabbled in the game in some form during some stage of their lives. This sport has been rocked with cheating scandals and numerous problems over the years and the three leaders were no exception when it comes to stewardships. Reagan is undeservingly credited for ending the Iran hostage crisis , as well as ending the Cold War.
He was given a pass for his complicit roles in breaching US laws re the embarrassing drug for guns Iran Contra scandal , and introduction of Voodoo economics via deregulations as aptly described by his successor and VP G. H. Bush.
Bush senior in turn took credit for personally defeating Saddam in Kuwait , but escaped criticisms for the prosecution of the CIA created Noriega -a head of state -after kidnapping him from Panama. C+ grades are all I’ll give to both for efforts.
G. W Bush had two major test of his skills and on both occasion failed miserably . The first was September 11th 2001. Who can forget the devastating sight of a plane crashing into the sides of the New York City’s WTS ,juxtaposed with the President reading a story book upside down for a Florida Primary School as the world cringe , and Terrorist bare their fangs at the world’s last remaining Superpower? Katrina was not the best moment for the President , but got it correct when a similar hurricane hit his brother’s state in Florida.
Those two efforts should be given a D.
Basketball aficionado Barrack is a work in progress , but has held up thus far under pressure , like a top draft pick point guard in his first playoffs game. During his first 100 day he confronted Somalians pirates with AK47’s and rocket launchers , savvy Iran and North Korea , as well as a dangerous flu epidemic that’s lurking. Don’t forget the inheritance of two ill advised wars in Asia and Middle East. Harry Truman ended world War 11 and saved millions of American military lives when he authorize the dropping of the first two atomic bombs that destroyed two cities and murdered 200,000 Japanese. (Milton Terris, Nuclear Warhead Triggers, (Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 23, No. 4. (2002), p. 506.) This President today would never be forgiven if he dared to commit what social historians honestly viewed as blatant acts of state terrorism against innocent civilians . A grade should be forthcoming in time.

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Uniondale New York, NY, United States
Speaking truth,as one major prerequisite, to concrete justice. A novel form of social advocacy.