The Prince is a text written in 15th century Europe by Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli. Although this text is centuries old, many refer to it for its literary qualities. However, others observe it for its rationale and concept of Leadership. Through the ideas presented in this text, the term “Machiavellian” relates to, “the belief that a ruler is justified in using any means to stay in power”, (Word, 2014). When comparing this ideology to present day leadership, many can recognize characters swimming in scandal or use deception and dishonesty to maintain their title of power. This is specifically observed in American politics. One example of a Machiavellian leader can be observed in former president, George W. Bush. While president of the United States, Bush conducted himself in a shadow of trickery and political manipulation. Yet, most see Machiavellian leadership as a form of satire and not to be taken seriously. It should be used instead for humor or to encourage change. Despite ones understanding and rationale of the Machiavellian leader, it is important to associate this to the leadership of today. By examining the Machiavellian qualities of Former President Bush, one can better understand how this form of leadership can be recognized and applied to the leaders of today’s world.
The Prince states, a ruler is excused from violence and deception only if it is done to help him maintain his authoritative position, (Machiavelli, XI). This means that rulers have permission to deceive the public to maintain his leadership. Incidently, this is a quality observed in Former President Bush. This is specifically observed in the outcome of the 2001 terrorist attack. Although members of Afghanistan’s al Queda network admitted to their participation in this tragic event, G.W Bush did not rage war with Afghanistan. Instead, Bush raged war with Iraq a country that had little to do with the tragedy. This was done to maintain his power and presidency, proving to the public that he can protect the nation. However, Bush deceived the public. He used military force to bring down Saddam Hussein instead of bringing down the Taliban, al Queda and Osama bin Laden who were directly related to September 11th. While Hussein was known for his force and dictatorship, Bush took advantage of the 2001 attack to justify his notion of stronger Imperialism and American control in the Middle East for natural resources of oil and gas.
Throughout his 8 year service as president, G.W Bush maintained a bad reputation among many. Most did not agree with his leadership and remained dissatisfied with his service to the country. Bush received negative feedback from the American people during his televised appearance on the morning of September 11, 2001. On this day the president he continued to reading stories to a group of young children, ignoring the severity of the catastrophe that occurred. Not only was it the first attack ever to touch American soil but thousands of Americans died. As executive commander and chief of the United States of America, Bush was expected to take immediate action making swift decisions to keep the country safe and out of danger. Despite his lackluster performance on the most important event in American history, he was reelected as president in 2004. Later in August of 2005, the President stood by and allowed thousands of people to suffer and die when New Orleans was hit by hurricane Katrina. For seven days, people were trapped in a drowning city with no access to food, clean water, and adequate shelter. Many died as a result. Therefore, the words of Macavelli ring true in this case with regards to leadership. “A bad reputation does not inhibit power or control, rather it should be offset by other qualities”, (XIII). For those against the former president, there are few qualities to be observed that can offset this great tragedy and lack of response.
Many claim that if not for the poor leadership qualities of G.W Bush, current president Barak Obama may have lost the election. Yet the country wanted change and was motivated by a new sense of energy and hope. Under the Bush presidency the economy suffered, people lost their jobs and their homes. Therefore, “a man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways”, (XII). The change in times, as well as his inability to run for reelection, caused the surmise of G.W Bush. He was against many things that people were fighting for. This includes immigration, taxation, abortion, and gun control. He put little effort to help those suffering at home, weather this is through a natural disaster or an act of war. While generations change and the public is less conservative and more liberal, the change in perspective made him a poor president out for self-preservation.