January 20, 2010
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.Author : Stanley Crossick