November 14th, 2004
|thomryng||02:12 pm - Executive Authority|
"The direction of war implies the direction of the common strength; and the power of directing and employing the common strength, forms a usual and essential part in the definition of the executive authority." (The Federalist Number 74, Alexander Hamilton, 1788)
Chief Executives, or Magistrates, enforce the laws passed by the Legislature. The genius of the American Constitution is that the President is also subject to the law, and is removable for violating it.
Where the Constitution falls down, in my opinion, is in making the Head of State (HS) the same person as the Head of Government</font> (HG). The HS should provide, like the British Monarch, for the continuity of the State, even when the government is in flux or embroiled in scandal. The HG is the person who, like the British Prime Minister, actually provides direction to the government.
In my opinion, these functions should be separated on the British (Parliamentary) model.
You want to institute a constitutional monarchy? Just to serve as a ceremonial stamp of approval? If the Government is telling the HS what to do, then how is the HS going to be anything but a stamp of approval, no matter what the Government does? What point is there in a leader who can do nothing but follow his own followers?
|Date:||February 23rd, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)|| |
If the HS is truly divorced from politics, then he or she can excercise a moral authority, as a moderating influence on the party in power.
As an example: while Hindenburg was HS, he was able to hold Hitler and the other far-right parties in check. He actually had very little constitutional authority (except to dismiss parliament, which I do not believe he actually ever did except when the government failed a no-confidence vote), but because his attitude of disdain towards Hitler was well-known, the Nazis actually lost ground in the last election before Hindenburg's death.
Of course, after Hindenburg died, the Nazis went ahead and siezed power any way, so perhaps this isn't the best example...
Considering how fallible any one person is on moral grounds, and how likely it is that an HS given moral authority might attempt to enforce his or her own brand of moral authority (eg religion and value systems) on those who may not agree with the philosophy thereof, I'd rather the stabilizing moral power of a nation be as diffused as possible, including as many people as possible, thereby providing a much more stable base than any one person could.
Look, all I'm saying is that I'm wary of the fact that a president (who has both HS and HG powers) would have the right to veto an act of his country's legislature (heaven forbid his country's plebiscite), since that would mean that he has been given the power to veto, or reject, the ultimate decision of his country's people, as even the legislature itself is the delegated voice of the people.
Maybe a monarchy or ceremonial HS wouldn't be the best ideas, but the veto thing is the major worry for me, as far as the presidential system is concerned. Any suggestions?
I wouldn't mind seeing a president who is less detached from the legislature - if we make him or her publicly electable from the body of people who won seats in the legislature, then what we get is a hybrid of president and prime minister that should work better, and hopefully relieve some of the constant contention that mangles bills. With a system liek this, we can do away with the veto.
However, this should only be done once there's proportional representation, of course.