Stanley's blog

The loss by the US Democrats of Senator Kennedy’s seat in the home of liberalism, could be a wake-up call for the West to take time out from preaching democracy to others, in order to take a good look at how democracy is faring in our own countries. In most of them, the government and political parties inspire little confidence in their citizens.

Turning to America, it is hard to comprehend in Europe that there should be a debate on whether US health reform requires fundamental reform.

President Obama received a huge endorsement from the electors when he won the White House. But that does not make him free to govern, even when his party controls both Houses of Congress.

There are two elements of the American democratic system which are crying out for reform. First, the filibuster, now back in play after the Massachusetts election. Second, the right to add a clause (usually laden with “pork”) to any bill, notwithstanding its subject.

These are recipes for legislative paralysis or compromise to an extent which risks destroying the fundamentals of the measure.

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  1. I don’t understand – am I to take it that when a left candidate is rejected by voters, that it’s time to question democracy? Or is it rather better to think that elected government should matter little or be thought of as an inconvenience to a venal and exclusionary leadership class?

    It probably easy for many to forget that there is no greater moral hazard than a political ideology that can’t be removed from office – preferably amicably. (I won’t name names here, except to quote you.)

    As for the rest of it, I would think it germaine to ask in a diverse world just WHY America would be expected to make choices for iteself that the population does not like for the sake of ‘being European’. In fact it’s an arrogant expectation to think that the US, with a different enough geography, lifestyle and outlook would simply duplicate the choices western Europeans have made for their own society. I think it has as much to do with the unconsious idea that what many in Europe want most is an America as servile to their guideance as developing countries in Europe’s immediate geographic area are.

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