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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:23 PM

US politics today is as absurd as Britain's under George III

US politics today is as absurd as Britain's under George III

The US system, designed 230 years ago, was supposed to work for all ages. Instead it is dysfunctional, as Obama knows well

Geoffrey Wheatcroft
The Guardian, Sunday 11 November 2012 16.00 EST

It could have been much worse. Most Europeans, even conservatives, were dreading the prospect of President Mitt Romney, an obvious fraud whose voters are angry ageing white men and whose sponsors are half nasty and half crazy. And there was an almost worse prospect, of a rerun of 2000 and the grotesque farce in Florida or alternatively of Barack Obama winning a majority in the preposterous electoral college but not a majority of the popular vote, and having his legitimacy challenged by the Republican for the next four years.

Even as it is, the situation in Washington is bad enough, as the re-elected Obama faces a bitterly hostile House of Representatives, yet again a dismal reflection of the American political system. No doubt anti-Americanism can take odious forms, but pro-Americanism is almost more curious. Not only the Anglo-neocons infesting the Tory party but some Labour politicians Gordon Brown as well as Tony Blair and liberal pundits are infatuated by all things American, including their written constitution, and a political culture which we are told we should emulate. To the contrary, without being complacent or excessively patriotic, I suggest we have nothing at all to learn about politics from across the Atlantic.

In their way, the founding documents of the American republic are very remarkable. The Declaration of Independence, the constitution and the Bill of Rights are written in limpid Augustan prose which can be read for literary pleasure, a contrast indeed to the equivalent documents of the European Union, from the Treaty of Rome to the abortive constitution, with their rebarbative bureaucratese. And never mind the fact that the declaration demands a free hand to deal with "merciless Indian savages" or that the constitution implicitly recognises the institution of slavery.

The trouble was that the constitution was set in stone, or at least on parchment. A political system designed by a group of 18th-century country gentlemen and radical artisans, with its various expedients and compromises, including the fiction of the electoral college, is supposed to work for all time. Meanwhile, what the Victorian writer Walter Bagehot called "the English constitution" had evolved out of all recognition, and rather brilliantly. A country ruled in 1830 by a narrow oligarchy supported by a corrupt House of Commons, for which only about one in 20 male citizens could vote, became, within 100 years, a full democracy with every man and woman over 21 enfranchised.

More:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/11/us-politics-absurd-britain-george-iii


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Reply US politics today is as absurd as Britain's under George III (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2012 OP
zbdent Nov 2012 #1
enlightenment Nov 2012 #2
Manifestor_of_Light Nov 2012 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:39 PM

1. I think it hilarious when Conservatives claim the mantle of the Founding Fathers

when you consider that the King was supposed to be Divine, God's one to lead ... and today's conservatives claim religion as part of the reason why they are what they are ...

Doesn't going against the King then go against God???

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Response to zbdent (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:58 PM

2. Well, by the time the

founding fathers were contemplating rebellion, the idea of divine right had pretty much disappeared. Once you commit regicide and overthrow a monarchy - and then follow it up by picking a king more to your liking and tossing out the old one - you've also tossed the concept of divine right.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:19 PM

3. Except that Mitt and Ann Romney don't know that.

They think Divine Right of Kings (Rich people) is a viable political philosophy.

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