Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Does Strong Leadership Matter?

There is a long thread on my facebook page concerning how much leadership matters when electing a President. What I believe is that leadership does matter, but what is leadership? In Obama's case, he is obviously a very strong leader. But he is leader of a group of people who are fueled by political views.

People run for political leadership in part because they believe they can make the world a better place. But the important thing to think about is: how do they believe they can make the world a better place? They believe their political views, and resulting legislation will make the world a better place. In Obama's case (or, most Democrats in Congress and leadership) believe that redistribution of wealth, welfare, universal healthcare, etc. will make the world a better place.

Here is the essential problem: it does not matter how 'good' or 'strong' a leader is if they have political views that do not make America a more prosperous (and free) land. For example, wealth redistribution (or socialism) has been proven to not cause economic prosperity, but in fact, the opposite. Higher taxes has proven to not lead toa time of prosperity. Big government, such as the time of FDR's New Deal, has proven not to lead to prosperity. Telling people what light bulbs they can use and punishing companies through the second highest corporate tax in the worlds does not lead to freedom and prosperity. Therefore, forget how great a leader Barack Obama is, he is leading based on political views that are not going to benefit America in the long run.

So, I ask you, do you agree that leadership is rarely the issue when it comes to Presidential races (or political races in general) or is it based on the person's political views and how strong they stand on these views?

12 comments:

Ron said...

I may be avoiding your question slightly, but if we were to magically go back to a constitutional presidency, I think we would see that the true leaders in this country are its people, and that the office of president holds very little power to guide us anywhere. Unfortunately our president has, over the past 2+ centuries, become a false prophet of leadership in the nation and the world. The only thing now separating us from the monarchy we left all those years ago is that our president is still willing to give up his/her power when their time is done...

DC said...

Ron,

That is a very insightful comment. It is definitely true that the President was meant to have much less power than he does now, but it's true with all of government. Government has become bigger and more powerful than ever before, and it is quite an unfortunate situation i.m.h.o.

-DC

Ron said...

I will answer your question by saying that I wish leadership wasn't the issue when electing a president, but today I feel our nation is electing people based on how strongly they support their own political agendas. If only we could elect a president who would simply follow his/her oath of office (Ron Paul). That would be a far greater form of leadership than any politically motivated presidency I have lived through.

DC said...

Ron,

I agree, it is amazing how President's vow to uphold the Constitution first and foremost, but rarely follow through on this. No one can deny that Ron Paul would uphold the Constitution without fail.

-DC

Budsy Jean said...

Actually, it can be argued that the strong presidency of which Ron speaks and of which we are more accustomed really didn't begin until the last 100 years, approximately, give or take a few terms. Of course, there were some presidents who, by virtue of the conditions in place at the time of their presidency, had to take a more commanding leadership role, such as Lincoln. I would certainly agree, however, that the presidents who have occupied the presidency certainly during my lifetime (about 45 years) have certainly differed from the early presidents in the apparent reaches of their so-called power.

I agree with DC that the size and power of the government, in general, have equally increased equal to the power of the president. They feed each other instead of "deriving their just powers from the concent of the governed".

Sadly, it is very difficult to envision a truly constitutional government instituted to help us obtain "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Is it too far gone?

jpberthiaume said...

There are certain things a President does need to take complete command of -- certain things do not lend themselves to being decided "by many." And while I think that many Presidents have *thought* they had a lot of power in this country, I still believe that the Supreme Court has much, much more. The President practically has more power over the rest of the world than he has over this country.

As far as Ron Paul goes, no one can say anything for certain about anyone. We're all human. I would bet that Ron Paul would be a great President, but I can't say for certain that he wouldn't walk over the constitution. That, and the idea of stepping over the constitution is different depending on who you are talking to.

DC said...

"I would bet that Ron Paul would be a great President, but I can't say for certain that he wouldn't walk over the constitution."

I couldn't help but laugh, since I can't think of anyone else more UNLIKELY, in the entire country, to 'walk over the constitution' if they were President.

jpberthiaume said...

That might be. My point is:

"No one can deny that Ron Paul would uphold the Constitution without fail."

That statement is preposterous. First of all, we can't hardly say anything with 100% certainty. Second of all, that's assuming everyone has the same idea of what upholding the constitution is. (I would say that there's no question there is a God, but with some people that wouldn't even be a sound basis for a discussion.)

You just have to be careful about the dead-certain statements you make because much of what you assume, you do so thinking everyone thinks the same way you do. (It so happens I agree with you more than I don't, and I'd give Ron Paul as good of a chance of upholding the constitution as anyone else who was close to running with even a half-percent chance of winning the election.)

DC said...

Judd,

I think it is generally assumed that when someone says something like "there's no way it is going to rain tomorrow" or "there is no way they are going to come back from a 21 point deficit" or "Chuck Baldwin has zero chance of winning this election" they don't literally mean that there is ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of it happening, it's just a general way of saying it is extremely unlikely.

"No one can deny that Ron Paul would uphold the Constitution without fail."

I guess what I should have said is "There is no way Ron Paul would NOT uphold the Constitution" and it would fit in the category of the above statements.

I in no way meant that it was impossible for him NOT to uphold the constitution, just meant there was such a small chance it's basically not even an argument.

Yes, I understand I cannot say it with 100% certainty, and I should have stated it differently so it could fit in the above statements better.

jpberthiaume said...

Dave,

Let me be clear: I'm not arguing that Ron Paul, specifically, would be someone who would walk over the constitution. My point is that, in the interest of responsible discussion, that statement is damaging to the whole conversation. At least in the case of your "there is no way..." statement you aren't making assumptions about what others think. When you say "no one can deny," you are making assumptions about other people that are not necessarily true. It makes it seem that you think 1) everyone thinks the same as you (which is obviously untrue as Ron Paul had no chance to win the election) and, further 2) it makes it look like whatever Ron Paul says, you agree with and follow blindly (which I doubt is true). It's the kind of statement that kills discussions, because the people who agree with you are going to skate by it, and the people who don't agree with you will discount your credibility as someone who thinks Paul is infallible.

A simple example: If I understand your viewpoint properly, you believe the constitution does not make abortion illegal and it therefore should defer to the states. I believe that abortion is murder and the constitution does make it clear that murder is illegal. Ron Paul may perfectly agree with one of these two views (which I kept very simple for the sake of discussion). His aim is to uphold the constitution, just the same as you and me (though the constitution is not infallible either, so it's not ALWAYS going to be worth upholding which is why we have amendments to address things that are missing, etc.). Anyway, if Paul chooses one or the other of these views, either of us could say that he has walked over the constitution on this matter and it would not be provable either way. So, in a sense, this is all in the eye of the beholder (not the morality, but the legality), and it is thus irresponsible to state that "no one can deny." This situation is reasonable and not all too unlikely, so the chance is not even that small that Paul would "walk over the constitution" in someone's eyes.

All of the statements you make in the first paragraph as examples represent your opinion and assessment of the opinion. "No one can deny" misrepresents the opinion of "all people."

DC said...

Yes, I agree it was the wrong to say what I was trying to say.

Budsy Jean said...

DC, I know what you were trying to say, and I agree with you.