Vote superhero in 2012!

As the Barack Obama gears up his re-election campaign, plenty of political commentators have proffered their advice for which past American election should guide his strategy.  Why not look overseas, however?  After all, in North Korea, paramount leader  Kim Jong Un visited some newly-built apartments that his father Kim Jong Il " paid deep attention from sites ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

As the Barack Obama gears up his re-election campaign, plenty of political commentators have proffered their advice for which past American election should guide his strategy.  Why not look overseas, however?  After all, in North Korea, paramount leader  Kim Jong Un visited some newly-built apartments that his father Kim Jong Il " paid deep attention from sites to designing and building."  Apparently, the residents were crying at the opportunity to meet Kim and his wife.  That's leadership. 

On the other hand, Kim's visit smacks a bit of standard Western politicking.  Maybe Obama should be thinking on a more grandiose level. 

In the New York Times, Andrew Kramer provides an excellent template, recounting the heroic exploits of Russian President Vladimir Putin

As the Barack Obama gears up his re-election campaign, plenty of political commentators have proffered their advice for which past American election should guide his strategy.  Why not look overseas, however?  After all, in North Korea, paramount leader  Kim Jong Un visited some newly-built apartments that his father Kim Jong Il " paid deep attention from sites to designing and building."  Apparently, the residents were crying at the opportunity to meet Kim and his wife.  That’s leadership. 

On the other hand, Kim’s visit smacks a bit of standard Western politicking.  Maybe Obama should be thinking on a more grandiose level. 

In the New York Times, Andrew Kramer provides an excellent template, recounting the heroic exploits of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russia’s president piloted a motorized hang glider over an Arctic wilderness while leading six endangered Siberian cranes toward their winter habitat, as part of an operation called “The Flight of Hope,” his press office confirmed Wednesday.

While Mr. Putin recently has found some resistance to his stewardship at home, he found a more receptive crowd among his feathered followers. Experts say that when raised in captivity, these cranes quickly form bonds with figures they perceive as parents. That is a role, apparently, that Mr. Putin has been training for….

Mr. Putin on past expeditions has tranquilized a tiger, used a crossbow to extract tissue from a whale and put a tracking collar on a polar bear. News of his latest plan rippled over the Internet all day Wednesday, to great merriment. Some wondered just how far he would go. Would he try to imitate the gasping-shrieking cry of the cranes, to instill more faith in his leadership?

He has also appeared shirtless riding a horse in Siberia and flown on a fighter jet, a bomber and an amphibious firefighting airplane. Last summer, he dived into the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea and, remarkably, quickly discovered fragments of two ancient Greek urns.

Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, however, was later compelled to admit that the discovery was staged.

Oh, man, now I want Putin to be my president, but only after he strangles three enemies of the United States with his bare hands!!  I don’t care if the enemies are already dead when he does it — this is a real leader!!

Sure, skeptics might point out that the last time a president of the United States got all macho and donned a flight suit, it didn’t end well.  And maybe, just maybe, a political leader trying to act like a superhero is harkening back to the outdated and ephemeral notion of Weberian charismatic leadership.  Or, perhaps, this kind of derring-do realy masks personal  insecurities and… inadequacies that don’t need to be discussed on a family blog.  But dammit, in this world of the new normal, we need heroes!! 

I hereby challenge my readers to devise new heroic exploits for Barack Obama to accomplish as a way of exercising raw, pure, unfiltered leadership.  Here are a few suggestions: 

1)  Obama teams up with fellow superhero Cory Booker to fight crime in Newark — Incredibles-style.

2)  Inspired by Man on Fire, Barack Obama goes to Mexico and takes care of the drug cartel problem — single-handedly. 

3)  After three years, Barack Obama has laid the groundwork for collecting an assemblage of fellow crusaders for truth, justice and the American Way.  With a superteam of Michelle Obama, Bill Gates, Seal Team Six, Tom Cruise, the cast of The Expendables, Michael Phelps, Kerri Walsh, Misty-May Treanor, the 1992 and 2012 Dream Teams, and — of course — Bill and Hillary Clinton, this elite group of avengers reverse-Red Dawns the Russian Federation, defeating Putin and vanquishing, once and for all, America’s number one geopolitical foe.

Any other suggestions?   

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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