General Question

zensky's avatar

Does the President have to project strength?

Asked by zensky (13272 points ) December 15th, 2012

The President of the USA is the leader of the free world. Besides this, America is de facto embroiled in several major conflicts world-wide – plus involvement, or holds responsibility with several others.

The President is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

Does the President have to be a strong person? Does he have to exude and project strength?

In other words – could it be a woman? Could it be Hillary who seems to be fainting more and more lately?

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32 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

He needs strength of character, not physical strength. Being a Putin wouldn’t help much. That’s why four years from now Hillary will be a great candidate. She is a tough old bird.

The last machismo President was an all around disaster. All he could muster was PR stunts like landing on an aircraft carrier.

fremen_warrior's avatar

The short answer is YES.

In politics if you do not show strength, you will soon have to prove you have it. If your president is a pushover then he will be offered less advantageous deals, and will invite attacks of all kinds, even if only to test how far they can be pushed. Having said that, someone will probably flame you for the woman comment – I know a few women who are more hmm “butch” (for lack of a better term) then some effeminate men I know. The only advantage of being a male is when you want to deal with very male-dominated cultures, but those are changing their attitudes about this too.

Again, if the president looks weak, everyone else has to prove their resolve sooner or later.

BhacSsylan's avatar

“In other words – could it be a woman? Could it be Hillary who seems to be fainting more and more lately?”

If you think a woman cannot project strength, physically or mentally, you’re sadly mistaken. And to call out Hilary, who fainted because of flu-induced dehydration, is pretty low. Bush Jr. nearly killed himself with a pretzel, if you recall.

As to the main question, pretty much with @zenvelo. They do have to show strength of character and mind, but physical strength is not a requirement.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Yes, though lately that might be difficult to see.

A set of personal morals to guide our President’s choices would be nice.

One can dream.

cookieman's avatar

I’d prefer he project competence. As a runner-up, I’d like to see humanity.
Both of which, I’m pleased to say, Mr. Obama has.

As for a woman being a strong president… absolutely.

ucme's avatar

So long as it’s coupled with a gentler touch, then it’s all good.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@zenvelo read what @BhacSsylan wrote in fine print, and hear me say “I told you so” ;-)

@Crashsequence2012 I think you are fooling yourself if you want “regular morality” and politics to mix (btw why don’t we spell it politix?). I for one am a political Realist, and though an idealist at heart, I have to agree with Machiavelli that if you want to succeed in politics and do good, you must ultimately dabble in evil from time to time. When you no longer care for one person, two, five, but a whole country full of people, your perspective and priorities must invariably change. Survival of the group – the nation in this case – becomes top priority. But that is not the point of this question.

A president needs to exude a presence, strength of character and moral integrity (despite – or due to, rather – the hard choices they have to make on a regular basis) – anyone less than that will bring mediocrity at best, and turmoil at worst along with them.

@ucme gentler touch?

ucme's avatar

A more humane side, cracking the veneer so to speak.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@ucme I remember when G.W. was in office, a lot of people were saying something along the lines of him (the prez.) being the type of person they would very much like to have a beer with (but not someone they wanted running the country). Did you mean something like this, or another thing entirely? (i.e. please elaborate)

janbb's avatar

I love it when our President cries. Just sayin.

And of course, your sexist premise is flawed.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

A strong leader is the one who can show his empathy and humanity instead of hiding behind a mask of machismo bullshit. Strong men shed tears when they are saddened my the deaths of innocent children. Do not doubt his resolve and his ability to lead with purpose.

ucme's avatar

@fremen_warrior My word we’re slow today aren’t we?
Obama crying in front of the cameras illustrates my point perfectly well, yeah, it was that simple.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@ucme no, just not a native English speaker, and shocking as that may be I sometimes miss things.

ucme's avatar

@fremen_warrior I gather clarification was satisfied then, eventually at least.

hearkat's avatar

I appreciate that President Obama showed that he was genuinely affected by the murders yesterday. I think the limitations of the stereotypes of emotionless macho men and over-emotional blubbering women have long since outlived any purpose they may have served. We are all humans, and should all be free to express the full range of human emotion. Calling a man soft if he cries or a woman a bitch if she gets angry is unfair to everyone.

ETpro's avatar

In answer to the “Could it be a woman?” question, I may not have liked everything these leaders did, but I certainly would not call Golda Meir or Margret Thatcher weak simply because they were women. Both won the epithet, the Iron Lady of politics.

And as to Hillary fainting, leadership in the nuclear age isn’t at all like leadership might have been in the days of Conan the Barbarian. Leadership on the world stage today puts vast demands on brain power and only little to none on brawn. Even though he could not walk, FDR was certainly an effective leader.

Bellatrix's avatar

@zensky, some of the strongest people I have ever known have been women and some of the weakest, men. Where I work, I find the unpleasant tasks are often delegated by men to women because the men don’t have the stomach for to complete the job (letting people go for instance).

I think a leader (President or otherwise) needs to display confidence and strength of character. They need to demonstrate they can take the hard road when necessary. I think also need to be able to show softness and compassion too. There are times when the last thing that is needed is a display of brute force, physical or attitudinal.

Of course Hilary could be President of the United States. She is an intelligent, capable and yes, strong woman. If I had a vote, I would vote for her. From an outsiders perspective, I think she has been a good Secretary of State.

josie's avatar

Yes the president does. In a mechanized world, strength in leadership may only need to be strength in moral conviction, not actual muscular strength. The current president is morally confused. I probably would not vote for HC because at the end of the day, she is central government elitist/statist. I voted for her husband once. It wasn’t the worst thing I ever did. Who knows?
But I think she would be a better president than the current one.

Shippy's avatar

I’d say yes. Look at the Iron Lady for example.

jonsblond's avatar

Hillary could kick your ass @zensky. just sayin’

majorrich's avatar

Yes, I believe the president should project decorum and strength. Chutzpah, Cojones, or whatever it goes by. A formidible person in charge of the last remaining superpower on the planet. Someone who won’t be cowed by loud rhetoric, or be manipulated. Yes. Strength of spirit and character, to represent the strength and character of the American people

Nullo's avatar

I am reminded of FDR, who was crippled by polio but nevertheless was elected for three consecutive terms and conducted history’s most cinematically appealing war along with Churchill and Stalin until his death. Granted, he never appeared on television, and the press liked him well enough to keep his wheelchair out of the public eye.

rooeytoo's avatar

Hilary would make an excellent president, she is smart, strong, competent and experienced. That is the making of a good president. I think she would be much preferable to the current pres in so many areas.

(@jonsblond – mental image of @zensky and Hilary mud wrestling, OMG!)

zensky's avatar

For the record: I asked this in General on the one hand, and added the sexist premise on the other hand, specifically so that we might have this type of “conversation”. Personally, I think it’s high time women were in charge – both here in Israel, and in your country – which has a direct affect on our lives, too. I have seen too many battles and have lived through too many wars – I would like a strong, intelligent yet sensitive woman in charge of things now. Am I being sterotypical now towards the fairer sex? Maybe – but this is what I believe. I come from a strong Matriarchal family. I am rooting for Hillary in the next elections and I’m hoping she will decide to fair the weather and ultimately run.

Thanks for taking the time to post here.

Response moderated (Spam)
JLeslie's avatar

Why does Hillary fainting signify lack of strength? It means to me something might be wrong with her health. If a man fainted would you think he was not strong? She has proven herself strong, smart, knowledgeable, and that she will stand her ground and not be pushed around.

I think Hillary would be a great President, I view her as strong, and I do think a President needs to come across as emotionally strong. At the same time we saw Obama pretty choked up abut the recent shooting in CT, and it does not take away from his projection of strength to be visibly saddened and shaken by what happened.

zenvelo's avatar

@Nullo FDR was elected four times.

@JLeslie I agree there is a double standard. Don’t forget GHWBush threw up on the Japanese Prime MInister’s shoes at a State dinner, then pretty much fainted at the table. But he was excused with the flu. No one called him weak at the time.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I forgot about that. Are people actually saying Hillary is weak? I hadn’t heard, seen, or thought any such thing until this Q. I was worried about her health when I heard she fell and hit her head after I know she also took some days off for the flu. I question if it was the flu or not? I hope that is all it is, and not something worse. Or, maybe some other healthy problem easily managed?

zensky's avatar

@JLeslie Read my post just above yours.

JLeslie's avatar

@zensky What about it? I never would assume you would be negative about a woman being President, what you wrote there just confirms what I would think your opinion is.

Nullo's avatar

@zenvelo Why, so he did. There you have it, @zensky, you can have a crippled President four elections running, if the press lets you.

zensky's avatar

@JLeslie :-)

@Nullo Very true.

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