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Author Topic: Favorite National Leader  (Read 1510 times)

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Offline SkynetTopic starter

Favorite National Leader
« on: December 25, 2012, 11:33:12 PM »
Living or Dead, in your own country or somewhere else, tell us which President/Prime Minister/etc. you hold in particularly high regard.  Preferably one within living memory (20th-21st century).

I'm a fan of Bill Clinton, US President from 1992-2000.  His economic policies helped bring a surplus to America, signed the Brady Bill which put a waiting period on firearm purchases, help sign a major healthcare bill into law in 1997 (State Children's Health Insurance Program) which expanded coverage to over 6 million children.

As a result of his policies, the United States saw a reduction in unemployment, the lowest levels of inflation, and significantly lowered the poverty rate.

Close contenders include Presidents Lyndon Johnson (for his civil rights work) and Franklin D Roosevelt (New Deal policy).

How about you?

Offline Moraline

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 08:33:39 AM »
Sir Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister) for being an inspiration and leading a country through one of the most terrifying moments in it's history.
Winston Churchill: We Shall Fight On The Beaches
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 08:37:37 AM by Moraline »

Offline JuliusCaesar

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 12:01:16 PM »
+1 Churchill.

The guy was a character.

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 12:56:55 PM »
Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva, for making Brazil a major contender in the international economic scene, as well as strengthening the Brazilian economy enough as to make it comparatively resilient to the crisis going on all over the place...

Offline Xenophile

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2012, 02:53:38 PM »
Favourite, and not necessarily the best?
I'm going to be biased and say Olof Palme. He was the Prime Minister f Sweden in the 1980's, and he called out on atrocities committed by both sides of the Cold War, and he had quite a few witty retorts whenever someone accused him of anything, or asked hard questions.
Olof Palme: Loved and Hated (Documentary, 2012)
He was however murdered in 1986, and his death is the only case of a murdered Western leader in modern times that has gone unsolved. Anything from South African Ultra-nationalists to the CIA have been suspected.

Offline vtboy

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2012, 04:03:19 PM »
For sheer audacity, Alexander the Great.
For courage, tenacity and wit, Winston Spencer Churchill.
For eloquence and the ability to comprehend all sides of an issue, Abraham Lincoln.
For comic relief, George W. Bush.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 12:26:29 AM »
Wartime leaders: Churchill, Lincoln, General de Gaulle (all three of them men of outstanding vision, courage and commitment, and I would add that they all had a good sense of the limits between military and civilian society: de Gaulle was a general allright but he never let the military take over in society and mattered so much to laying some of the ghosts of old colonial wars to rest). Gustaf Mannerheim (d.1951) - also a general/president, played a similar role for Finland at several critical junctures as de Gaulle did to France.

Leaders in a time of transition: John F Kennedy, Michael Gorbachev, Maria Theresa of Austria, Willy Brandt.

National reformers: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Peter the Great of Russia (odd combination but while Peter was an exceptionally ruthless and sometimes ill-mannered man he merits the title of the hardest-working and perhaps most visionary king of his era). Alexander the Great would fit in here too, though his promise was only half fulfilled.

For political courage and passion in sort of smaller countries, and in peace; for rising above where one seemed to be, and pulling people along with them: Julia Gillard, Olof Palme (yes, agree with Xenophile, I do miss that guy whom I know mostly in retrospect, I miss his passion, commitment, glimmering rethoric and on-the-spot courage).

« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 12:28:58 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Funguy81

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 11:31:13 PM »
I won't say he's my favorite, in fact the man was down right evil, but you have to give credit for the sheer influence Adolf Hitler possessed in his time. The policies he set up had brought the country of Germany from complete poverty to becoming a world power that quite frankly was more advanced than any other country within a few short years.

Which is kind of funny because while he was in the army during WWI his supervisors would not promote him above the rank of private first class. they believed he had no leadership ability what so ever.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 12:39:39 AM »
I won't say he's my favorite, in fact the man was down right evil, but you have to give credit for the sheer influence Adolf Hitler possessed in his time. The policies he set up had brought the country of Germany from complete poverty to becoming a world power that quite frankly was more advanced than any other country within a few short years.

Which is kind of funny because while he was in the army during WWI his supervisors would not promote him above the rank of private first class. they believed he had no leadership ability what so ever.

Agree Hitler was a wicked genius at seeing political opportunities, and working them up in spots where nobody else quite perceived them. His methods and goals were abysmal though.

It's interesting to consider how he would have worked if he'd been just twenty-five years younger and would have used the new medium of tv to make his break, and to communicate to the masses. Hitler's style was not crafted for the intimacy of the tv screen (though early tv sets were around in his time): it was constructed for places where tens of thousands of people gathered to be made to feel a sense of combat. Part of the reason he looks so silly to us - well. except for the distance and that we know how it ended - is that his gestures, antics and shouts don't go over when you're watching them on a small screen, they don't "walk through the tv screen". I can kind of guess how it would have felt to see him live surrounded by ten thgousand cheering people, but only just. It's as hard to recapture as to get back to a point where the young Beatles around 1963 seemed dangerous because of their long hair and carefree clothes...  ::)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 12:47:23 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Funguy81

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 03:29:33 AM »
Agree Hitler was a wicked genius at seeing political opportunities, and working them up in spots where nobody else quite perceived them. His methods and goals were abysmal though.

It's interesting to consider how he would have worked if he'd been just twenty-five years younger and would have used the new medium of tv to make his break, and to communicate to the masses. Hitler's style was not crafted for the intimacy of the tv screen (though early tv sets were around in his time): it was constructed for places where tens of thousands of people gathered to be made to feel a sense of combat. Part of the reason he looks so silly to us - well. except for the distance and that we know how it ended - is that his gestures, antics and shouts don't go over when you're watching them on a small screen, they don't "walk through the tv screen". I can kind of guess how it would have felt to see him live surrounded by ten thousand cheering people, but only just. It's as hard to recapture as to get back to a point where the young Beatles around 1963 seemed dangerous because of their long hair and carefree clothes...  ::)

Actually it was that those movements, his screaming, and his speech pattern was part of his persuasive skills. I can't remember who taught him, but he had received training on how to speak to the masses. Taught him how to move his body, hand gestures, the tone and infliction of his voice to send out the message. He learned how to appeal to the masses, and utilize the new media of television and movies to spread his message. At the time the only person that was close to do what he did out of sheer volume of media was FDR, but he only utilized radio to send his message directly to the U.S. public.

Now i'm pretty sure I just veered off the subject of the topic a bit. lol, so I will say that probably my favorite political leader was a man by the name of Huey Long. More than likely if your from Louisiana. He was the governor of Louisiana during 1928 to the 1932 and a state senator afterwords till his death. What made him special was that he brought up economy of Louisiana greatly by expanding transportation system which includes railway, roadway, and phone systems throughout the state. It was said he quadrupled the roadways throughout the state. he was also known for speaking to the people directly, and his debate skills all without any prior preparation. He could go onto stage and give out a speech that would get the people on his side, or in a debate he would tear apart his rival's standings.

One of the things about him also is history knows him as being the most beloved man, or most hated man from Louisiana. This perspective is usually based on the financial class. The rich hated him and the middle class to the poor loved him. he set up a tax system where it taxed corporations and the upper class greatly and using that money to set up programs. He always believed the rich should not keep the excess amounts of money that does nothing for anyone, and had intended to create a federal "spread the wealth" programs that any one person making more than 500 grand is to give the excess money to the government. this money was suppose to go into educational programs, job training, the arts, and etc.

While he believed that welfare had a place, he did not believe that if your physically capable of work you should not be getting welfare. If a field of work dried up, he had in mind that a program either helps pay to send him where the work is available, or to get retrained in a new job skill.

I know that many people believed that if he was not assassinated, he could have been the next president of the united states after FDR. While the two of them had many of the same beliefs, the approach to it they argued about.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 03:35:42 AM by Funguy81 »

Offline vtboy

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 05:24:20 AM »
I won't say he's my favorite, in fact the man was down right evil, but you have to give credit for the sheer influence Adolf Hitler possessed in his time. The policies he set up had brought the country of Germany from complete poverty to becoming a world power that quite frankly was more advanced than any other country within a few short years.

Which is kind of funny because while he was in the army during WWI his supervisors would not promote him above the rank of private first class. they believed he had no leadership ability what so ever.

I'm not sure what you mean by "more advanced than any other country." Under the Weimar Republic, Germany was a world leader in the sciences and the arts. Within a few short years, Hitler and his gang of thugs had decimated the ranks of Germany's thinkers, and turned the nation into an intellectual backwater, perhaps best symbolized by its notorious book burnings. About the only endeavors at which Germany truly excelled under the Nazis were militarization and industrialized, mass murder.

Though it can't be denied that Hitler possessed a certain genius for manipulation of the worst passions of the German people, the Nazis never attained a majority of the votes in any of Germany's federal elections, topping out at about 37% in the election of 1932 and 43% in 1933 (after Hitler's appointment as chancellor). Moreover, as the Nazis employed street violence to intimidate or even eradicate political adversaries and their supporters, it is very difficult to say that these figures accurately measure the party's success with less extreme forms of electoral persuasion.

Whatever economic and diplomatic benefits Germany may have realized in the early years of Hitler's rule, he proved an unmitigated disaster as a national leader, having left his country crushed, impoverished, occupied, severed, and scorned.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 05:30:19 AM by vtboy »

Online Strident

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 05:49:53 AM »
Gotta be:

Silvio Berlusconi

There is something wonderfully refreshing about the fact that a man so utterly devoid of any pretense of credibility, morality, ability or values or any redeeming features whatsoever could be leader of a major western democracy for over a decade.

To be 77 and announcing your engagement to a 27 year old? Win.
To do that while still married to your 56 year old second wife? Win.
To make a law while you are primeminster, that the primeminister can't be tried in court? Win
To tell homeless earthquake victims that they should treat their experience as "Just like a camping holiday", to ask one of said victims to "can I fondle you?", to describe the country that YOU LEAD as "A shit country that makes me sick", to describe Obama as "suntanned", to hold Bunga bunga parties, to make say "In a survey, women were asked if they want to have sex with me, 30% said "yes" and 70% said "What? Again?!" " to do ALL of these things and STILL remain in office?! How can that not be a win?

There comes a point where, no matter how appalled you might be by him,  you have to hold your hands up to ol' Silvio and admit he's played a good game..

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 12:49:39 PM »
Gotta be:

Silvio Berlusconi


Can't argue with that. Though I'll attempt (sort of). While there is no doubt he is a chauvinist pig, I wonder how much of his so-called sexual exploits are exaggerated? Seriously, how much sex is a seventy year-old man really having?

And how in God's name can you screw up Italy and its economy? I mean the amount of tourism and exports alone have to amount to a lot. Just blows my mind how a reasonably competent leader couldn't do well with Italy.

Offline Koren

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 11:38:05 PM »
For political courage and passion in sort of smaller countries, and in peace; for rising above where one seemed to be, and pulling people along with them: Julia Gillard, Olof Palme (yes, agree with Xenophile, I do miss that guy whom I know mostly in retrospect, I miss his passion, commitment, glimmering rethoric and on-the-spot courage).

If you dont mind me asking, I was wondering why you put Jullia Gillard on your list? Just being an aussie I couldnt imagine putting any of our leaders or the opposition even on a list of favorite leaders

As far as other countries, I dont know much about politics, so I'll just have to say that I like Olof Palme as well, just for how he ran his office.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 08:52:57 AM »
If you dont mind me asking, I was wondering why you put Jullia Gillard on your list? Just being an aussie I couldnt imagine putting any of our leaders or the opposition even on a list of favorite leaders

As far as other countries, I dont know much about politics, so I'll just have to say that I like Olof Palme as well, just for how he ran his office.


It's her courage and commitment that have struck me. I'm not all read up on what she thinks or proposes on every issue, and sometimes she's had to be a bit opportunistic for sure, on refugees and immigration laws, maybe also on LGBT marriage (which she opposes for now). But she does seem to have the courage to take up strong positions on key issues and stick to them - on climate, on Australia becoming a republic soon, on macho mentality (those incisive, angry remarks in parliament), on Australia interacting with eastern Asia...

I was very impressed by the events that took her to the top of her party and the country. Clearly there had been a silent power struggle going on between her and Rudd for a while, but she thought that he was heading for an election defeat and that he was already losing the kind of authority, grasp and insight he needed to be the prime minister. I think she genuinely sensed there was reason for that apprehension about him and the cabinet, it wasn't just her way of boosting her own moves. So she openly challenged him for the leadership, it was meant to play out at a meeting of the leading circles of the party but Rudd gave in when it became clear that he would not have a chance to keep a majority of support. It was a public challenge too, in the sense that no matter what happened, whether she won or was kicked out, it would be reported on the front pages. She put the issue to the party delegates - and won. Soon after, she declared that she would set a national election so that her mandate would be tested with the nation. Yes, I know Aussie politics has a rep for shoddy moves - Patrick White says some very revealing and wicked things about what it looked like back in the day in a memoir of his, Flaws in the Glass - but this is the absolute opposite of how it would play out in most countries: except Michael Heseltine ousting Thatcher in 1990 (though he didn't pull through to succeed her himself) I can't think of one single instance in a democratic country in later decades where a sitting PM *and* leader of a major party has been challenged in this way, without a safety net, by one of the cabinet ministers who stakes his/her claim for the posts to the party delegates and then to the people.

Most of the time, either the sitting top dog is expected to groom one or two possible successors and when the old leader sends word out to his top associates that he wants to step down, the process of selecting the new leader from a very short list of princelings, with those who have been groomed by the old man getting a head start, begins, so that there will be no outward break or a lot of fighting at the time he does step down: by then everything is finished and the new guy is voted in with a standing ovation. *Or* the former pm/party boss is made to step down after an election defeat or a scandal, or sometimes at a party congress, but even then those who want his job are not likely to try to oust him themselves: they'll stand back and wait for someone else to depose him or weaken him. And once the new one is in power, if he/she is also the prime minister, they won't risk an election which could end in a humiliating defeat. Gillard was an exception on every count here, and even if she had to bring Kevin Rudd back into the government after a while, she´seems to emphasise that she owes her office directly to the people of Australia, not to bosses and henchmen in her own party or in the parliament. I think that's very refreshing: we've seen so much of politicians who effectively act as if their job is to get to the top of the ladder, sometimes also to win the election - but they really don't feel they have to anchor what they wish to do in office among the people. Gillard, I think, sees that she needs that kind of active, mutual support, and that's what unites her with people like Olof Palme, Gustaf Mannerheim and Franklin D. Roosevelt..
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 02:22:09 AM by gaggedLouise »

Online ShadowFox89

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2013, 07:05:34 AM »
 My favorite national leader? Theodore Roosevelt. The guy is the most badass American leader to ever live.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 07:59:56 AM »
My favorite national leader? Theodore Roosevelt. The guy is the most badass American leader to ever live.

Truth. And the guy did everything.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 08:04:02 AM »
My favorite national leader? Theodore Roosevelt. The guy is the most badass American leader to ever live.

Hell yeah. Ecologist, cavalryman, cop, judoka, monopoly breaker - he was like some kind of overpowered GURPS PC.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2013, 08:10:29 AM »
Hell yeah. Ecologist, cavalryman, cop, judoka, monopoly breaker - he was like some kind of overpowered GURPS PC.

Add Pultizer prize winning author and Under Secretary of the Navy to that list, a list that goes on and on.

Online ShadowFox89

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2013, 08:30:28 AM »
Hell yeah. Ecologist, cavalryman, cop, judoka, monopoly breaker - he was like some kind of overpowered GURPS PC.

 Caring father, asthmatic, loving husband, and man of iron. The guy took a bullet to the chest and STILL delivered a speech. Name any other national leader who has done that.

Offline Florence

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2013, 08:50:01 AM »
For legit, serious, I would love for them to run things these days reasons: Abraham Lincoln. He's my favorite historical president and frankly seems like the kind of guy who could get stuff done.

For the lulz reasons: Its a tie between Putin and Kim Jong Un, because seriously, do they ever stop doing things that make for an interesting read? I mean, I never get tired of hearing about what ridiculous manly thing Putin's done now. And Kim Jong Un... is very much like his father in that his every action simultaneously fills me with amusement and terror.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2013, 03:17:13 PM »
In my lifetime, I'd say the most impressive have been:

Nelson Mandela. Few people today understand just how much of a miracle he pulled off in managing a peaceful transition to post-Apartheid in South Africa; he's one of those very few individuals to whom you can point and say, "if he hadn't been there and done what he did, all would have been lost."

Pierre Trudeau. He had his flaws for certain -- he could be an arrogant and imperious sonofabitch -- but he had brains, balls and style, qualities that haven't been united in a Canadian progressive politician for far too long. Official bilingualism, multiculturalism, the country's first constitutional reform since Confederation, repeated starings-down of Quebec separatism -- first the FLQ and then Levesque's referendum in the early 80s -- he shaped a lot of what Canada is today.

I have to say it: Barack Obama. One of those leaders, like Lincoln, who is constantly having his political obituary written by clueless contemporaries but whose full scope of achievements is likely to become plain in retrospect. (Waits politely while the forum's Republican membership swallow their tongues.)
"Here's what I mean by that."
It's a fairly shitty time to be an American President in a lot of ways -- the first era in its history where America finds its power, renown and economic clout contracting instead of expanding; plagued by a massive spasm of white supremacist insecurity and delusion; faced by an "opposition" party that's little more than a glorified confidence scam and hardly bothers even pretending any longer to care about its own country or people -- and the grace and class with which he's navigated those hurdles, and declined to worsen the polarization, leaves me frankly in awe.

I don't hold with progressives who carp at how much more he should have done; when your most basic political process has broken down to the point where things like the debt ceiling crisis or the fiscal cliff crisis are even possible, it's impressive to achieve anything at all. When in those circumstances you manage to pass economic stimulus, health care reform, end the clusterfuck in Iraq, drive al-Qaeda to the verge of extinction and whack bin Laden, that's beyond impressive, it's positively heroic. I'd rate Bill Clinton highly, too; but I'm not convinced even the Big Dog could have achieved what Obama has achieved in these circumstances.

Offline vtboy

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2013, 12:44:24 PM »
Add Pultizer prize winning author and Under Secretary of the Navy to that list, a list that goes on and on.

I believe you're thinking of the Nobel Peace Price he won in 1906 for brokering an end to the 1905 Russo-Japanese War. Though Teddy had some success as an author, I don't believe he was ever honored with a Pulitzer.

Online Neysha

Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2013, 01:24:23 PM »
As far as America is concerned, I'd say Abraham Lincoln.

But as far as America in the 20th/21st Century... hmmm... Theodore Roosevelt would probably be my choice as well now that I think of it.

Offline ReijiTabibito

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Re: Favorite National Leader
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2013, 03:10:47 PM »
Caring father, asthmatic, loving husband, and man of iron. The guy took a bullet to the chest and STILL delivered a speech. Name any other national leader who has done that.

And the funny thing is, for all of his big physical activity - being a soldier, an avid outdoorsman - TR spent a lot of his childhood bedridden due to poor health.  It was during that time that he did tons of reading on natural history and the wilderness, which (though you should ask him) I believe heavily influenced his drive for the national parks to preserve something of our heritage.

And he was a Republican!