Our dubious Constitution (continued)
paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu
Sat Mar 18 12:39:26 PST 2006
Or you have a general who constantly tells you you are winning the war
and it only a matter of a few more weeks, or a few hundred thousand more
troops to turn the tide.
Or you have a nationsl security advisor that tell you the people of the
country you invade will welcome you with roses.
Sanford Levinson wrote:
> I know there are problems with the following analogies, but I'd like
> to be told exactly why they don't work. They arise in the course of
> trying to figure out what so many people I respect believe that it's
> better to have a constitution that requires keeping an incompetent
> president in office for another two or three years rather than one
> that risks the political instability attached to a no-confidence
> procedure that would bounce him from office. So the analogies are these:
> 1) You are on the board of a corporation and the CEO has a propensity
> for making disastrous decisions (e.g., deciding that merging AOL and
> Time-Warner would be a great idea). Do you say, "Well, let's give
> him another couple of y ears. After all, it's only the investor's
> money...., Or "maybe he'll do better next time; after all, a stopped
> clock is right twice a day."
> 2) You are the general manager of a baseball team, which has lost a
> number of games because of clearly questionable decisions by the
> manager (e.g., leaving a clearly tired pitcher in the game when the
> heart of the batting order is coming up, remember Grady Little). Do
> you say, "Well, perhaps he'll learn"?
> 3) You are about to undergo open-heart surgery and are told that your
> surgeon or anesthesiologist has a significantly higher error-rate than
> others who are available to you. Do you say, "Well, most of us his
> patients survive"?
> 4) You are deciding what airline to fly. One of them has a
> significantly higher delay rate, in addition to a markedly lower rate
> of maintenance on its planes that has seemingly accounted for several
> crashes over the past year. Do you say, "Well, the ticket is $5
> Are we so casual about keeping incompetent Chief Executives in office
> because, at the end of the day, we really don't think it's all that
> important who is president (which seems counter-intuitive) or because
> we are really fearful of the consequences of making it easier to
> bounce him from office (because we may, after all, be bouncing
> Lincoln). But isn't this a little bit like investing the family
> fortune in lottery tickets because, after all, you might hit it big
> and win a billion dollars? It's still a stupd thing to do even if you
> in fact hit the jackpot. That makes you lucky, not smart.
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Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Tulsa College of Law
3120 East 4th Place
Tulsa, OK 74104-3189
paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu
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