Who Is The Baddest President?

He’s rude.  He’s crude.  People question his temperament and fitness to be president. He scares the bejeebers out of Europe’s wimpy leaders.  He even called our own President Obama a “son of a bitch”. 

Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte

No, it’s not Donald Trump.  It’s Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, and the baddest president on the block, at least for now.  Duterte was elected last June by a landslide and commands a 76% positive performance rating.

Duterte campaigned on a platform of law and order, specifically the elimination of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.  The Philippines has struggled in recent years with meth addiction, particularly among its growing numbers of poor and unemployed.  As president, Duterte assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner, and has given orders for police and military personnel to kill anyone they suspect of selling drugs.  The death toll is estimated at 4,000 and counting, and Philippine prisons are overstuffed with drug addicts who turned themselves in.  The president has even invited the general public to join in the bloody anti-drug crusade, and has ordered 26,000 Sig Sauer rifles from the USA, over the objections of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who voiced human rights concerns.

Many Americans think our current president and president-elect are both endowed with ample egos.  But when it comes to self-confidence, Obama and Trump are not in Duterte’s league.  Responding to criticism from EU leaders, Duterte said, “I’ve read the European Union’s condemnation against me.  I tell them f*** you!”, flipping the bird for emphasis.

Duterte has waffled on his relationship with the USA.  Angered at Obama’s censure of his brutal policies, he called for the ouster of all American military operations in the Philippines, but later backed down, acknowledging that his nation would need US aid managing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.  And after President Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte, the Philippine president apologized for his potty-mouthed attack.  The two quietly met later before a regional summit meeting dinner in Laos.

It remains to be seen if Duterte will have a more amiable relationship with America’s new president, Donald Trump.  After Trump’s election, Duterte offered congratulations and observed that “we both like to swear.”  Trump holds all the cards, as the Philippines is reliant on American trade and military support.

For some time now many global leaders have demurred to their softer, more nurturing tendencies – at least publicly.  Russian president Putin rode bare-chested and bareback in his bid for the title of manliest man-in-charge.  Obama’s skinny jeans were an immediate disqualifier, not to mention his penchant for retreating from every foreign-policy challenge.  Trump, on the other hand, showed machismo on his way to winning the presidency.

But for now, all eyes are on Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.  He’s bad.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ alright.
Oh I’m bad, I’m nationwide.
Yes I’m bad, I’m nationwide

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top

 

Pretty good little three piece band there – git you some Top today.

 

Life In The Banana Republic

Back in the day we watched action adventure movies about Americans traveling in exotic far-flung countries.  It was so very foreign to our small-town Montana sensibilities – the drugs, the shady intrigue, the beautiful women.  There was poverty and danger around every corner, and it seemed that nothing could be accomplished in these mysterious places without paying off some government official.

We called them “banana republics” – countries where life was tough, the government was corrupt,  and only those with connections, wit, and maybe weapons avoided an unhappy fate.

We were enthralled with tense scenes from places where the government was all about secrets and raw, cold power; where ordinary citizens hid behind gray walls and doors, afraid of making some political “hit” list.  Everyone was poor – except those who worked for the government or had connections.  Personal success was just a distant dream, as winners and losers were chosen by the powerful.

It could never happen here.  We have checks and balances, and a president couldn’t just make laws, seize property and control businesses without the consent of the legislature.  This is America.  There’s no corruption here.  Our government leaders would never lie to us, or hide the truth.  Besides, our news people will always tell us what’s really going on, right?  And we have fair elections, where legal citizens get to choose how the government will affect their lives.

Drugs are illegal here.  Aren’t they?  I mean, I think they used to be.

And we don’t have to worry about people here being dirt poor, relying on scraps and handouts from the government.  Most of our people have jobs, and own their own homes, right?  We still manufacture stuff, and have plenty of our own cheap energy for our cars and houses, and everybody has a bright future here.  We still go to church on Sunday and take care of our neighbors and families.  Don’t we?

I’m sure glad we live in America, and not in one of those banana republics.  We have nothing to worry about here, let’s just party on.  Let’s have another joint.  Wanna dance?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

They’re pickin’ up the prisoners
And puttin em in a pen
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
Rebels been rebels
Since I don’t know when
And all she wants to do is dance

All She Wants To Do Is Dance – Don Henley