Action Politician

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"I'm not one of those beltway pansies. I could break the President in two with my bare hands!"
Senator Armstrong, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

In most stories, politicians generally eschew physically aggressive situations and try to avoid direct involvement in combat either for the sake of their position or themselves. They generally have their security or guards handle the threats while they head off to a safe location or sit things out. Sometimes they act as The Chessmaster and act on and manipulate events behind the scenes while keeping a careful distance. This character is not one those politicians.

This trope involves the circumstance where a character notably involved in politics or heavily involved as a coordinator of the people and their government gets his hands dirty when coming into contact with a threat. When things get dangerous, they’re first the launch an attack either physical or using a type of weapon at their disposal. This political figure doesn’t need guards or security and prefers to take down their opponents themselves. In other words, this is a politician who is actively involved in combat situations during their political career.

This trope tends to overlap with Badass Bureaucrat, President Action, and Ambadassador. Generally, a case of Authority Equals Asskicking comes into play when the politician is a/the leader strictly because of his combative abilities or Hidden Badass when this situations ends up being a surprising factor in a storyline. A case of Blood on the Debate Floor comes into play when the politician in question tends to actively combat other politicians out of disagreements.

Super Trope to President Superhero.

Compare Royals Who Actually Do Something.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, we have Cagali Yula Atha. Cagali Yula Atha acts as Orb's Chief Representative (equivalent to a President) and the head of its armed forces, first leading from aboard the Kusanagi, and later climbing in the Strike-Rouge, and sortieing herself.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam has Kycilia Zabi, Princess of Zeon, political conspirator, and military commander. Having been given her position by her father, Kycilia earns a reputation as one of Zeon's most capable commanders, even co-piloting a mobile armour into combat alongside her right-hand man, M'Quve. Towards the end of the show, she launches a coup d'etat against her brother, Gihren, becoming Zeon's final head of state.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ.
      • A former child prodigy forced into taking on the position of Regent for Mineva Lao Zabi, Haman Khan is Neo-Zeon's political and military leader, playing the roles of the Evil Chancellor and mobile suit pilot with equal skill. As both a political manipulator and fighter, Haman swiftly earns herself a reputation as one of the most dangerous figures of the Gryps Conflict and the First Neo-Zeon War.
      • Haman Khan's political rival, Glemy Toto, a teenaged mobile suit pilot and wannabe-dictator with a knack for climbing the social ladder through any means. Making his way up through the ranks due to a combination of ability, luck, and family connections, Glemmy eventually stages a coup d'etat against Haman, becoming the leader of his own faction of Neo-Zeon. Despite his newly exalted status, Glemmy doesn't shirk from combat, and dies piloting the monstrous Queen Mantha alongside his right-hand man (or in this case right-hand girl), Ple-2.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack: Char Aznable becomes one when, after years of scheming, he seizes control of the remnants of Haman Khan's Neo-Zeon movement and leads them into a last confrontation with the Earth Federation. Bringing all his skills into play, Char does triple duty as Neo-Zeon's military head, political leader, and best pilot, flying his custom-built Sazabi into a final battle against his archenemy, Federation Ace: Amuro Ray.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE has Lord Fezarl Ezelcant, the political and spiritual leader of the Vagan movement who,despite his advanced age, bad health, and admittedly poor combat skills, makes a sortie in his Legilis Gundam to protect the Second Moon base from Kio Asuno and his allies. Using his considerable mental abilities and the Legilis' advanced specs to compensate for his personal weaknesses, Ezelcant manages to give a good account of himself for an ill old man, surviving the battle and eventually passing on the mantle of Vagan Supreme Leader to his protege, Zeheart Galette.
  • Naruto: The Five Kages are shinobi chosen by daimyos, previous Hokages, and other elite shinobi to handle village affairs and are expected to lead their villages from the frontlines in war. As a result, the Kages tend to be among the most formidable combatants that their respective villages have produced.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has military dictator and political leader, King Bradley, who serves as head of state and remains Amestris' most deadly frontline combatant. After returning to his Headquarters following his assassination attempt, he single-handedly plowed through his opponents wielding nothing but a sword and a grenade.

    Comic Books 
  • An evil example occurs in Requiem Vampire Knight: a Forever War. The background involves huge armies, one made up of politicians without support and the other made up of those who suffered from their policies and lies, backed up by huge war engines. It's explained neither side will ever win as the politicians have the edge in aggression and lack of morality over the great unwashed masses.
  • Green Arrow was one of these during his brief tenure as mayor of Star City, dealing with political problems while still maintaining his superhero identity.
  • In one of the alternate timelines of Armageddon 2001, Superman is elected President of the U.S. This is the post-Crisis Superman whose birthing matrix delivered him in Smallville, thus technically making him a natural-born U.S. citizen. Once in office, he combines the office of the President with his own personal power and charisma to become the greatest world leader in history. Subverted with Lex Luthor, who is arrested by the Secret Service for making threats against the President immediately following his inauguration.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Resident Evil: Damnation, President of the Eastern Slav Republic, Svetlana Belikova, shows her experience as a combat instructor and casually battles anyone who tries to attack her in hand-to-hand combat. She is so skilled that she mananged to defeat Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy while wearing high heels and a skirt.
  • As a notable villainous example, we have Governor Ratcliffe from Disney's Pocahontas. Ratcliffe leads the British landing party in a sortie against the Native American "savages" holding John Smith prisoner. It is Ratcliffe that fires the first gunshot, aiming for Chief Powhatan.
  • Lord Business, the President of the Octan Corporation and the world from The LEGO Movie, puts on his Cool Hat and his Badass Boots and seizes the Kragle from its guarded underground vault. Later, it is he that decapitates the wizard Vitruvius and shoots a gob of Kragle that pins Emmet Brickowski in place.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Black Dynamite, President Richard Nixon personally combats the titular character, Black Dynamite, using nunchaku and martial arts skills after his Secret Service flunkies are defeated and his role as the mastermind behind a horrible conspiracy is revealed.
  • President James Marshall (played by Harrison Ford) in Air Force One. After the titular aircraft gets taken over by terrorists, President Marshall, a combat veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, forgoes a chance to escape in order to personally fight back.
  • In Independence Day, President Whitmore pilots an F/A-18 fighter as part of the counterattack against the aliens.
  • White House Down features President Sawyer as a developmental case. Initially he was quite nebbish and reserved, but repeated exposure to danger to himself gave him the incentive to fight back with great fervor.
  • The President seizes an M-16 from a soldier in Escape from New York, and shoots Duke with it, taunting him with an Ironic Echo of the humiliation the President endured as Duke's hostage.
    President: Who's number one, Duke? Who's A-number one?
  • Star Wars:
    • We have Supreme Chancellor and later Emperor Palpatine a.k.a. Darth Sidious. While he prefers to avoid confrontation, allowing his various Dragons to do the fighting for him, for entertainment or public image, Palpatine repeatedly proves himself a lethal threat if the need arises. His feats include engaging Mace Windu and Yoda in lightsaber duels and nearly killing Luke Skywalker with Force lightning alone. As the most powerful Sith Lord of his era and an unmatched political mastermind, Palpatine can more than hold his own in any arena.
    • As a heroic example, Padme Amidala is introduced to us in The Phantom Menace as the elected queen of her planet. She later takes up a position in the Galactic Senate, representing Naboo on the interstellar political scene. She's also a fair shot with a blaster, capable of keeping up with the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and willingly fights alongside them when possible.
    • Admiral Raddus in Rogue One. Before the Imperial occupation of Mon Calamari, Raddus was the mayor of a polar city and lead his people in evacuating the planet on the disguised starcruisers that made up the cityscape. His flagship, the Profundity was among the first Mon Calamari cruisers retrofitted for war and was the city hall.
  • In Dante's Peak, Mayor Wando is the Reasonable Authority Figure who listens to the geologist and seeks to help her citizens get to safety when it turns out he's right. She begins as a Love Interest, but when her own kids are endangered, she goes full on Mama Bear in a bid to save her children against nature itself.

    Literature 
  • Raine Vinyaya in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident. When the city of Haven is besieged by goblins, most of the council members choose to shelter in police plaza. Vinyaya insists on being given a rifle and assists the LEP in the plaza's defense, bringing down several goblins and never missing a shot.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Honest Abe is President by day and hunter by night. The American Civil War is actually between vampires who want to rule humanity and those who just want to be left alone.
  • In Terry Brooks' Shannara series, the Ard Rhys (High Druid) of the Druid Order is typically one of these, making deals and negotiating treaties with the rulers of the Four Lands on behalf of the Order, while being one of the most powerful magic users on the continent. Grianne Ohmsford, Khyber Elessedil, and Aphenglow Elessedil have all demonstrated a willingness to do their own fighting, and it's not uncommon for a High Druid to die in battle.
  • A couple of examples are seen in Discworld:
    • Sam Vimes, Commander of the City Watch and said to be the second most important person in Ankh-Morpork, is at the centre of the action in several novels. He much prefers frontline police work to the political stuff.
    • Lord Vetinari, the most important person in Ankh-Morpork, is a trained assassin and has been known to sneak away from his desk to take a hands-on role in things.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A somewhat averted case appears as Congressman Bill Cowley from Burn Notice. He is actually a Corrupt Politician and a Jerk Ass blowhard, but he looks like this trope to the general public thanks to the main characters getting him involved (against his will) with helping them to foil a group of Russian agents attempting to murder a retired CIA agent, and later to expose a group of former US spies gone renegade.
  • On The 100, Clarke and Lexa frequently take part front-line combat, despite being their peoples' leaders. We also see Kane personally going on missions during his time as Chancellor, though at that point the Ark is so disorganized, and its manpower so low, there's really no other option.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many of the protagonists in the fiction associated with BattleTech are politicians or nobility as well as Mech Warriors. Doubly so in the Clans, where Asskicking Equals Authority.

    Video Games 
  • President Michael Wilson of Metal Wolf Chaos is a veteran of an unspecified war (the "Arizona Conflict") and fully capable Mini-Mecha pilot. When his treacherous Vice-President attempts a coup, President Wilson jumps into the fray and starts wrecking shop.
    Michael: Jodie, how's my schedule look for today?
    Jodie: You've got a conference and dinner party at the Japanese Embassy regarding wildlife protection.
    Michael: Oh, yeah...sorry, but I'll have to cancel that. I'm heading out to save America!
  • From Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, we have President Evil-to-be: Senator Armstrong. He enthusiastically beats any opponents he desires using his nano-machine-enhanced defenses and increased physical power. He also determines who will join his covert group by having applicants fight him to prove their worth as Sam discovered.
  • In Maken X, one of the main bosses is the setting's U.S. President who personally fights using a powerful mechanical body and mechanized weaponry. Though he could have escaped the setting he was placed in, it was revealed he chose to wait for the protagonist to come to him so he could have a chance to fight.
  • In Final Fight, we have Mike "Macho" Haggar. Haggar is the mayor of Metro City who solves the crime problem of his city by beating the piss out of the mobs threatening it. He also happens to be the character portrayed in the trope image.
  • Star Trek Online has Ambassador S'taass. He's the Gorn representative to the Klingon High Council and a senior member of the Klingon Empire's diplomatic corps. He's also a three-meter lizard-man with claws and teeth to match, as demonstrated in "Second Wave" when he starts ripping Jem'Hadar apart bare-handed.
  • The President in Saints Row IV, also head of a violent multinational street gang, eagerly jumps into combat when Washington DC suffers an Alien Invasion; they've even had anti-aircraft guns installed on the front lawn already. Throughout the game they continue to be referred to as "The President" while continuing to beat up hundreds of aliens.
  • As a more peaceful example, the mayor from Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an active citizen, doing him/herself almost all the chores of the village (like the villager always did in the previous games) and is also in charge of the whole land management.
    • The mayor is seen in a less peaceful light in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, where he or she is fighting against characters like Ganondorf, Bowser or Master Hand with an axe and Lloid rockets.
  • Halo:
    • The Covenant's two main military races, the Sangheili/Elites and Jiralhanae/Brutes, run on Asskicking Equals Authority, meaning that even Elite kaidons and Brute Chieftains are often found fighting on the frontlines. Their battlefield presence is justified by them usually being much better fighters than their subordinates, and also by their high status letting them afford high-powered weaponry and heavy-duty energy shields, all of which makes them far more difficult than the average footsoldier to take down.
      • Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Brutes, is no stranger to frontline combat, and has even better gear than your standard Chieftain, despite preferring to go about mostly naked.
      • Many Sangheili Arbiters have been warrior-kings; the current one, Thel 'Vadam, is not just one of the greatest warriors of his era, but also kaidon of the state of Vadam. Even after Thel becomes the effective leader of most of his species, Halo 5: Guardians shows that he's still perfectly willing to lead his warriors from the front.
    • The gravity chairs of high-ranking San'Shyuum/Prophets are effectively military-grade vehicles with heavy shielding and immense firepower. That said, most Prophets still prefer to stay far away from the battlefield, with only a few ever choosing to engage in the fighting themselves, most notably the High Prophet of Regret, who's even willing to take on humanity's greatest Super Soldier.
  • Shoko Ozora, from Liberation Maiden, is basically Metal Wolf Chaos's Michael Wilson, except a woman and the President of Japan.
  • The Player Character of Furył is known only as the Councilor, implying that you were a politician before joining the fight against the Bions. Over the course of the game, you single-handedly defeat the Bions and save humanity.
  • The Flash game Bush Shoot-Out depicts George W. Bush as a gun-toting badass who nearly single-handedly shoots his way out of the White House after it gets attacked by terrorists. At one point, he also fights alongside a similarly badass Condoleezza Rice.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, President Maria Funkhouser leaps at the opportunity to pilot a giant war mecha. Later, an unknown party tries to assassinate her, using pheromones to make everyone within a certain radius (including her own Secret Service retinue) attack her. She successfully defends herself long enough for Dr. McNinja to find a counter-agent for the pheromones.
  • In League of Super Redundant Heroes, after Kurgh the Conqueror takes over Shi-Tropolis, he's stuck with the job of mayor — not that he's doing that bad a job at it...

    Web Original 
  • In the Newgrounds flash game Bush Shoot-Out, you control President George W. Bush toting an M-16 as he fights off a terrorist siege on the White House after the Secret Service are incapacitated. Condoleeza Rice joins him halfway through the game with a pair of Mac-10s.

    Western Animation 
  • Tarrlok from The Legend of Korra, at first glance seems to be your average Desk Jockey, but quickly displays his prowess as a martial organizer (What else do you call a politician who participates in police raids?) and is a competent waterbender who isn’t afraid to use lethal force.
  • Lex Luthor was one during his time when he was running for the U.S. presidency in Justice League as the Question painfully discovered when attempting to assassinate him.

    Real Life 
  • During the Roman Republic, high political figures would vie for the honor of leading troops in battle. At the disastrous Battle of Cannae, this resulted in the deaths of two consuls, two quaestors, 29 tribunes and 30 senators.
  • Some of the Representatives on Mission during The French Revolution fought alongside soldiers in battle before returning to Paris and dealing with politicians again. Some of them were members of the 12 Men Committee of Public Safety that was the executive authority of France during the Reign of Terror. Lazare Carnot, the Organizer of Victory and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just were the most notable. Saint-Just was especially impressive as The Political Officer since he was merely 27 years old.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, to the point where the internet later turned him into a Memetic Badass. During his two terms as United States President, he had visiting dignitaries accompany him on very long runs, supported conservationist policies (including creating a whole slew of national parks) that were meant partly to guarantee that there would always be wildlife for him and people like him to go out and hunt, and promoted a vision of rugged athleticism as national empowerment known as "The Strenuous Life". And that's not even counting his exploits before and after his Presidency.
  • Andrew Jackson was very much Dented Iron by the time of his presidency, but that was a consequence of his affection and talent for violence. He was in particular a famous duelist, and also had a military career distinguished by bravery.
  • Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (under Impeachment as of June 2016) was a guerrilla fighter in the communist group COLINA (Portuguese acronym for "National Liberation Command") during the Military Government that lasted from 1964 to 1985. She abandoned most communist ideas, but her past is still exploited by both her enemies and her allies.
  • Military Dictators come in different flavors of this. Some of them actually are Soldiers with real combat experience and others are just wannabes with a chest full of shiny stuff.
  • The tradition of U.S. Presidents serving in the military before formally going into politics goes all the way back to George Washington, who served as colonel in the French and Indian Wars and as a general in the American Revolution.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ActionPolitician