World Leaders Gone Wild
Once upon a time, retired leaders of the world’s powers were expected to putter around and then die.
Naturally, we’d let them play lots of golf, write their memoirs, and maybe even go on speaking tours. But generally, they should behave themselves and fade slowly into history, thank you very much.
Only one problem: Our ex-leaders are younger and younger lately.
Take Bill Clinton. After two terms as president, he was still only 54 years old. It’s a good thing he’s so busy campaigning for Hillary, or he’d have way too much time on his hands to teach waitresses at Denny’s and Chili’s nationwide his fun game, “Hide the Commander-in-Chief.”
And then there’s Tony Blair. Last week in London, Tony! Toni! Toné! (as I refer to him) looked like a fool when he had no money for his train fare, according to this article on Yahoo! News.
How embarrassing. More than ten years as prime minister and almost a year of pulling in bloody huge poundage for giving all kinds of speeches and Blair still can’t scrape together enough cash for a simple train ticket. He said the money that his aide had given him for the fare somehow went missing from his pocket—not a jolly good excuse, old chap.
This kind of behavior has me wondering what other recent world leaders will be doing in their retirement:
Vladimir Putin. Vlad the Impaler hands the Russian presidency off next week to Dmitry Medvedev. He's been in power a long time, but he's still got plenty of energy to devote to something worthy of his experience and downright scary stare.
What’s an ex-KGB, out-of-office autocrat to do?
I picture him going into ballroom dancing. Or perhaps writing a children’s book, something like How To Kill Friends and Influence People (With Extreme Prejudice).
Paul Martin. Last February, Stephen Harper succeeded Martin as Canadian Prime Minister. I'm sure it was a dramatic time for most Canadians, some of whom may have even known the name of their prime minister, but nobody else in the rest of the world seems to have noticed.
Since then he has been doing what pretty much all Canadians NOT named William Shatner, Dan Aykroyd, or Mike Myers do.
Wishing he were American.
Jacques Chirac. Nicolas Sarkozy became France’s president less than a year ago, replacing Jacques Chirac. Sarkozy has received much attention for marrying model and singer Carla Bruni, keeping eyes off of Chirac.
Word has it Chirac’s taking life a bit slower now, kicking back and enjoying his later years. He really doesn't need to even raise his hands to do a thing.
Unless, of course, in traditional French fashion he raises both hands in the air to surrender to the first German tourist that swings by his retirement villa.
George W. Bush. He’ll leave office in January with plenty of time on his hands. No more sessions with world leaders, attending Cabinet meetings, or visiting domestic policy events.
Although I doubt he’ll end up as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—like ex-president William Howard Taft did in the 1920s—I’d sure love to see him retain some national office. With his mastery of the Americanish language, he’s well suited to be our nation’s Poet Laureate … but his penchant for shaking his thing in front of cameras suggest the best gig he’ll land is as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
It’s too bad Putin will win that season.