Politicians: The Masters of Charisma. Just add crazy.
I grew up idolising the greatest politician the world has ever seen.
As a boy, I would sit, clutching sugary treats, as he performed all manner of administrative miracles.
He was the one who taught me about terrorism, the perils of cloning, the dangers of space travel and that CIA-style pencil-pushing can lead to muscular atrophy.
I still remember the sense of awe that gripped me as he risked his own life to avert nuclear war.
Then, of course, there was the time he ripped a lead pipe from a wall with one arm – despite being shot in said arm – and used it to impale some guy with a weird Aussie or South African accent, before commenting on the fact that it was quite poetic that steam was coming out of the pipe because the guy probably needed to let off some steam.
Most impressive, however, was that Arnie achieved all of this before his first term as governor of California.
His constituents are undoubtedly sad to see him depart the world of politics and return to Hollywood.
If only our Parliament were filled with such Masters of Charisma – men and women who understood the need for diplomacy, but weren’t afraid to shoot a terrorist leader from a Harrier Jump Jet into a skyscraper.
Instead, it is populated by the kind of folk you would enlist to transform a nightclub into a Backgammon tournament.
While Mr Schwarzenegger has made his fair share of mistakes, no one could accuse him of being dull. Who among us, for instance, can claim to have assaulted Bill Paxton on, not one, but two separate occasions?
Like many of the larger-than-life figures that dominate international politics, Arnie was always interesting.
Our pollies, on the other hand, prefer to limit their theatrics to snide remarks, buzzwords and poor fashion choices.
While Vladimir Putin shirtlessly battles his ancient nemesis, nature, with crossbows and judo, Kevin Rudd is happy to settle for small doses of Q&A-esque passive-aggressiveness.
As Berlusconi spends his 38th consecutive hour without sleep and clothing, Abbott is individually removing carbs from a Powerade with a pair of tweezers.
While Hugo Chavez croons classic Venezuelan showbiz tunes on his television show, “Aló Presidente”, Julia Gillard is struggling to hit the mid-notes in “We’re Going to Bonnie Dune”.
We need some crazy in Parliament.
As Lindsay Lohan proves at least once a week, crazy is the new sexy.
On the other hand, Hosni Mubarak is crazy – and he’s not sexy. Similarly, Gaddafi is a certified loon, but even he would struggle to find love through the classifieds.
“I like long walks on the beach, bombing long stretches of beach and interrogating beach-goers. I also dig Pearl Jam.” Not cool, Gaddafi.
There seems to be a direct correlation between intense, charismatic leaders and economic turmoil and social upheaval.
Interesting people often prevail in interesting times.
Boring politics, on the other hand, is a sign of a lucky country. We still have problems, yes. But we also have people on both sides of government, at every level, who want to fix them – even if sometimes they make them worse.
That being said, I’ll vote for anyone who makes Bill Paxton cry. That guy’s just plain annoying.
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