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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Our political parties lack true leadership

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I know it's pure fantasy but what if voters in next year's presidential election were given the choice of " of the Above?" What if the American people were allowed to express their disdain and distrust for each and every candidate seeking our country's highest office?

A recent news story actually did just that. A national poll of Republican hopefuls showed that "None of the Above" was slightly ahead of Rudy Giuliani. That says volumes about the GOP field but I suspect the same results might follow the Democratic field as well.

I enjoy the political process and think of myself as somewhat of a student of the political arena. I am and will forever remain a staunch conservative. And though I cringe at the thought of another Clinton presidency or - God forbid - an Obama presidency, I am less than excited about the GOP prospects.

I am clearly not alone.

It seems to me we suffer from a leadership vacuum in this country. I personally believe Ronald Reagan was the last true leader elected president. Regardless of your view on his policies, you just felt that Reagan was doing what he believed was best for this country - not just his party - and he was willing to take the shots if the policy went astray or failed to produce.

The last two decades under Bush, Clinton and Bush have produced little if any true leadership. The battle has been for control of Congress, for judicial appointments, for finger-pointing and scandal control of one form or another.

My parents' generation talks with fondness about the presidency of FDR. I think history will form his legacy as tragic because he - and later Lyndon Johnson - created a highly dependent society who relies on the government for far too much. But in terms of leadership, FDR was held in high esteem. When he spoke, you at least knew he had the best interests of this nation in mind. Some of his ideas were clearly flawed but we trusted in his position of power virtually without question.

Fast-forward to the current crop of presidential wannabes and you won't find one candidate with that leadership quality. I won't bore you with the details of my misgivings. But if Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback have any leadership potential, then it's the best kept secret in this country. Same can be said for John Edwards or Joe Biden on the other side of the aisle.

So once again, for the umpteenth time, I call on Missouri icon Jack Danforth to jump into the race. I know his time in the spotlight has passed but, if we want true leadership, Jack Danforth's our man. He's brilliant, he's moderate enough for both sides of most debates, he's honest to a fault and he is a leader.

There would be no scandal in a Danforth administration. There would be no back room sleazy deals in a Danforth administration. And there would be no finger-pointing. Jack Danforth would simply not stand for it.

But in the real world, Jack Danforth holds the title of elder statesman. And he has earned it. But for one more shining moment, our nation could return to the values we all hold dear. All we lack is the leadership to point the way.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen