Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Parlimentary Mystery

One of the mysteries I haven't been able to figure out is what the allure of parliamentary-style governments is.  Because we already have coalitions in our government.  Sure, there's the hardline Democrat or Republican thing.  But without a doubt, that's a fairly superficial label. 

Conservative Democrats are always more likely to side with their fellow conservatives, not because they're weak-kneed traitors, but because that's what conservatives do.  The question shouldn't be why they're voting conservative, but rather, why they call themselves Democrats.  And what exactly do we imagine is happening when we get steel workers in Ohio voting for the same president as tree-hugging hippies in San Francisco?  Sounds like a coalition to me.

And so we basically have coalition governments.  That's how FDR did it.  That's how LBJ did it.  That's how Reagan did it.  Getting your party's majority in Congress is important, but it's not enough if you can't get your party to obey.  And so FDR cobbled together farmers, and laborers, and blacks, and intellectuals, and anyone else he could grab in order to pass his New Deal.

Same thing with LBJ.  These men didn't pass liberal legislation because they were so strong, but because they were so good at working their coalition.  And fortunately for them, they had more liberals in their coalition than Obama does.

Elections Forever

And so I'm at Socratic Gadfly, because I wanted to write a follow-up post to my one on Critics I Don't Like.  And I see this post about Canada's silly excuse for politics, talking about how The Canadian Parliament gave a vote of no-confidence to conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, triggering parliamentary elections.  To which Mr. Gadfly says "I love parliamentary governments."

And ok, I confess that I don't know much about parliamentary systems, but I don't know.  I just think this sounds like a dreadful idea.  It'd basically be like an everlasting impeachment election, with Republicans mounting continuous votes of no-confidence, grinding all congressional business to a halt as Democrats are constantly staving off every attack.  All it would take would be a lucky break at the polls, and Obama would be history; long before he had the chance to get anything done. 

Maybe I'm missing something, but this sounds absolutely awful.  I don't know how other governments get anything done, but I can't imagine this working out well for us.  Am I missing something here?

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