I know I'm a nuisance

Michael Froomkin - U.Miami School of Law froomkin at law.miami.edu
Sat Nov 5 10:38:57 PST 2005

There is a way.  When the incompetence includes mendacity on key issues 
such as reasons for war, that means is called 'oversight' (and in rare 
cases, ultimately, impeachment).  The problem is not the absence of a 
device in the system, but system's vulnerability to the iron grip of 
"faction" which has prevented the development of either sufficient 
evidence to persuade the trusting, or sufficient exoneration to persuade 
the suspicious.

I know the grass is always greener on the other side, but having watched 
the UK's Parliamentary system up close during several years of residence 
there, I cannot say that it would be better.  Worse probably, at best bad 
in different ways.

The recent discipline of the GOP in the House is a long-standing feature 
of British political life.  It has to be, since the system is optimized 
for not losing, not even risking losing, votes of no confidence.  Through 
a combination of the greatly expanded 'payroll vote' (MPs with 
appointments in the executive) and whipping (iron career-ending discipline 
if you don't vote right on anything bigger than the time of the annual 
flower show), MPs have no discretion, carry on extraordinarily minimal 
oversight, and generally are rubber stamps.  And it's the house of lords, 
the UNdemocratic part of Parliament, that actually act as a limited check 
on legislation.

Recall how long Thatcher held on even when it was clear she had lost the 
mandate of heaven (and even MPs were calling her 'barmny')....

On Sat, 5 Nov 2005, Sanford Levinson wrote:

>> From tomorrow's NYTimes
> http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/politics/06intel.html
> I know I'm a nuisance (and to some a "partisan ranter"), but does no one 
> on list share my belief that it counts as a very real defect of our 
> Constitution that there is no way of getting rid of an Administration 
> that is mendaciously incompetent beyond belief about issues of war and 
> peace (and therefore life and death)?
> sandy

http://www.icannwatch.org   Personal Blog: http://www.discourse.net
A. Michael Froomkin   |    Professor of Law    |   froomkin at law.tm
U. Miami School of Law, P.O. Box 248087, Coral Gables, FL 33124 USA
+1 (305) 284-4285  |  +1 (305) 284-6506 (fax)  |  http://www.law.tm
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