We need more popular leaders

Peter
Peter Jackson
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Why can’t we all be more like North Korea?

Seriously, that country really has something going for it, and they know it. On Monday, state media (the best kind of media) reported that supreme leader Kim Jong-un was not only finally elected to the post, but was elected unanimously, with 100 per cent turnout.

OK, so he was the only candidate for the job — but 100 per cent turnout! You couldn’t buy that kind of support with free wings and beer.

Clearly, North Koreans know a good thing when they see it.

But wasn’t he already supreme leader, you ask? Yes, but not with a mandate. Kim 2 only inherited the post after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. The country holds elections every five years.

There was a whole gaggle of deputies on the ballots, too. Those winners will eventually be sorted out. But authorities couldn’t wait to spread the news about Number One.

“This is an expression of all the service personnel and people’s absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong-un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

Yes, they are certainly single-minded.

So, it will likely be business as usual when the Supreme People’s Assembly meets next month to conduct the people’s business. Except, well, the parliament doesn’t really conduct much business. In fact, it usually only meets about once a year. That hardly matters, though, when you’ve got Rock Star Kim at the helm.

It’s not often you get 100 per cent support. Danny Williams came close for a while, but even he couldn’t break the 90 mark.

Saddam Hussein managed it, back when the Iraq War was starting to gear up.

The country held a referendum on whether the Iraqi president should continue for another seven years.

There were 11,445,638 eligible voters, and every one of them voted for the president, said a government official, who apparently maintained a perfectly straight face. He insisted the count was fair and accurate.

Not long after Saddam’s ringing endorsement by Iraqi citizens, U.S. President George W. Bush led the Coalition of the Willing across the border and tossed Hussein out on his ear. Clearly, Bush was insanely jealous of Hussein’s numbers, and who can blame him? Who wouldn’t want such universal approval ratings?

Brian Mulroney could have used numbers like that back in 1992. A Gallup poll at the time put his popularity at 11 per cent, the lowest ever for a sitting Canadian prime minister.

At the time, he joked that at least his family still voted for him. His family stared at the floor.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. have finally found a superstar leader they can look up to: Vladamir Putin.

Putin — the bare-chested, bear-wrestling oppressor of gays — has become the new darling of right-wing politicians and pundits in the U.S.

Said the inimitable Sarah Palin: “People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.”

First, I can’t believe Palin came up with “bloviates” on her own. Someone is coaching her.

Second, since when did the former KGB king who poisons and imprisons his opponents become the poster boy for modern democracy?

The saddest thing of all is that Putin’s numbers aren’t that high.

In 2011, in fact, his popularity was down in the latter Mulroney range. Now, after a stellar Olympics and a nation-building invasion of Crimea, he’s still only at 65 per cent.

Two-thirds support? Somewhere in the great beyond, Saddam Hussein is laughing hysterically.

 

Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s commentary editor. Email: pjackson@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Korean Central News Agency, Coalition of the Willing, Republicans

Geographic location: U.S., Supreme People, Iraq Crimea

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