Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Case for Confidence Voting in the U.S.

It's probably not much use to try to persuade an American that his system of government is less than perfect. The sublime superiority of American government is imbued in our southern cousins from an early age.

But, what if they amended their system to incorporate the confidence vote? How long would Bush/Cheney have lasted if Congress had the power to vote them out and force them to stand for re-election? How much damage might the United States and the world at large been spared if these irresponsible clowns had been held accountable for their duplicity, lies, neglect and incompetence back in 2005 or even earlier?

Instead of dissolving Congress outright, perhaps only those senators and representatives slated to defend their seats in the next election would have to run.

Imagine what would visit Republican incumbents this November if their constituents had the power to punish them at the ballot box for not dumping Bush and Cheney back in 2006 when the public was already clamoring for their heads?

Imagine what might have happened had Bush/Cheney been toppled years ago and a responsible executive brought in to clean up their messes in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Imagine what might have happened had Big Oil and Big Coal's dream ticket been turfed years ago and replaced by an administration willing to tackle global warming and the other aspects of climate change?

I think Bush/Cheney have shown that fixed, four-year terms are no longer suitable to meet the challenges in today's rapidly changing world. A four year term imposed by a blatantly partisan court followed by a second, four-year term won from an electorate powerfully cowed by fears inculcated by their own regime.



The Mound of Sound said...

Okay, before you jump on me, I know, I know. Immediately I posted this I was struck by another nation which does have the vote of no-confidence but also has an opposition party too feckless to invoke it. Point self-taken.

David Graham - said...

The US does have such a mechanism. It's called impeachment.

Moreover, with the separation of executive and legislative branches, a non-confidence vote from a congress held by one party on a president of the other would inevitably happen with elections recurring until both were held by the same party. Not a pretty scenario.

Johnathon said...

Lets look at Canada for a moment.

A system were the people DO NOT get to pick the Prime Minister.

Unlike the USA.

An opposition who doesn't have to work WITH the government.

Unlike the USA.

A Senate who is unelected, unaccountable, and who get to stay in power for an eternity.

Unlike the USA.

Prosecutors who get house arrest for drunk driving killers don't have to be elected and accountable.

Unlike the USA.

Judges who allow murderers to serve house arrest don't have to be elected and accountable.

Unlike the USA.

People like Stephane Dion get to make a joke out of the system by disagreeing with everything Harper puts forwards, and then votes for it.

These issues cannot happen in the USA as it is a true democracy.

True democracies can elect their eleaders directly.

True democracies are accountable to the people, not just every few years and a 6 week campaign.

True democrracies allow for people to tell judges and the prosecutors their fired.

I mean, Canada is nothing short of a dictatorship.

At least in the USA, I get to vote for my President.

LeDaro said...

No system is perfect. Human nature gets in the way. Greed and hunger for power, and power in turn corrupts. However I will go for parliamentary system over US system anytime because US President is practically monarch for his term. Bush and gang would have never survived in a parliamentary system.

Anonymous said...

How about the same system instituted in Canada MOS? Canada's problem has long been ensconced goverments in power for years without the ability to vote for the PM of choice rather than voting the party to get the man. The child play that goes on in Canadian Parilment is rediculous and it doesn't matter what political party is in power. We cannot be without due diligence and attention to governments in Canada who come into power and then show nothing but contempt for the electorite. Blind support to any party is stupid and tunnel visioned. We need a system to oust a government that is not for the people but there to make sure they benefit from kick backs and corruption. I'd like to know what you are doing about it besides writing a blog. A. Morris

The Mound of Sound said...

LeDaro is right, AM, there are pluses and minuses with any democratic system, ours included. I do believe, however, that the British-model parliamentary system has proven itself more resiliant in resisting corruption.

I agree with your point AM that we need a more effective button to "eject" unresponsive government but, then again, you come to the vexing problem of whim, manipulation and insight.

What am I doing? I wish I could say I was doing a lot more but all I can muster is this humble effort to influence debate.

Fish said...

Johnathan, you have a pretty slanted view of Canadian and American politics, a healthy injection of thought wouldn't kill you!

Just because the Canadian people do not directly vote for the PM, does not mean that we do not choose him/her. When we vote for the party, we know who it's leader is, and when a new leader is elected, they usually don't wait very long before calling an election, because frankly it doesn't look good.

You may also want to educate yourself a little about teh American system. The American people actually do not elect the president. It is the electoral college who does so, your elections are little more than a consultation process, in which the electoral college voters simply show respect for the voters out of tradition. You may want to remind yourself that this system was put in place because aristocrats like George W (George Washington that is!) were afraid of what could happen if the common folk (who were actually just white male land owners) had too much power.

Our PM, be he/she elected or not, is accountable to parliament every day that it is in session. He/she regularly faces direct questioning by on a regular basis during question period. For all of the childish behaviour that goes on, there is no getting around the fact that he is directly questioned and challenged by elected officials!

How often does President Bush made answer questions by anyone? And when he does answer questions they are usually pre-approved questions asked by journalists by a lap-dog media.

Make no mistake about it, the Canadian system is has no shortage of flaws! I for one also consider it to be infinitely more democratic than the American system.

If you want to stand trial in front of a judge who is more worried about rendering a popular verdict than one he/she considers to be just after having heard both sides of the story that's your business!

Anonymous said...

What about Australia? It's government is based upon the British Parliamentary system like Canada but they vote for their PM separately. They also have on occasion desolved parliament when the government is not tending to the needs of the populace when the PM was becoming a dictator. Why aren't we in Canada demanding the Governor General get rid of Harper. Fundamentalist are dictators taught to be so through their religious brain washing. When news is censored it is no longer a democracy. Any news being reported to the Canadian public recently regarding the Levant-Human Rights Story in Canada? Here I am in South Korea hearing about it here. A. Morris

The Mound of Sound said...

As I recall it (vaguely) the Australians have a considerably different electoral system than Canada. We're looking at electoral reform in Canada but there's an ingrained resistance to change.

The Levant story got fully played up at home. Ezra saw to it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting...This story has received very sparse coverage in the mainstream media. The stories that have appeared on CNN, in the Wash. Post, etc have been dismissive and brief. Missing entirely thus far: ABC,NBC, MSNBC, PBS,NPR,BBC North America, aol news, msn news, and about 1000 other dailies.

The below (link + same article pasted) is from a Belfast paper.

What's interesting is that Bush has already admitted publicly to much of what he is accused of...

Kucinich Calls For Bush ImpeachmentFormer Democratic presidential contender, Dennis Kucinich, has called for the impeachment of George W Bush claiming that the president set out to deceive the nation, and violated his oath of office with the Iraq war.

The Ohio representative yesterday introduced 35 articles of impeachment against Bush on the floor of the US House of Representatives.

Kucinich unveiled a list of alleged illegal and improper acts by Bush, including war crimes.

He accused Bush executing a “calculated and wide-ranging strategy” to deceive citizens and Congress into believing that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States

He went on to say that Bush and Cheney lied to Congress and the American public about the reasons for invading Iraq in 2003 and abused their offices in order to conduct the “War on Terror” following the 9/11 attacks.”Bush misled the American people and members of Congress to believe Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction so as to manufacture a false case for war. President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office,” Kucinich said.
He has already introduced a similar impeachment resolution against Vice President Cheney.

Bob Fertik, President of, said: “We’ve waited seven years to find one Member of Congress brave enough to stand up for our Constitution, for which generations of Americans have fought and died.

“We are thrilled and honored that Dennis Kucinich has chosen to be that one genuine patriot.

“We congratulate him on his historic leadership, and pledge to do everything in our power to persuade Congress to adopt all 35 Articles and put George W Bush on trial before the Senate of the United States, exactly as the Founding Fathers wanted.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that there will be no consideration of impeachment proceedings against Bush and said the idea was “off the table.”

Kucinich’s case: the 35 points

Article I

Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq

Article II

Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression

Article III

Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War

Article IV

Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States

Article V

Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression

Article VI

Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114

Article VII

Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

Article VIII

Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter

Article IX

Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor

Article X

Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes

Article XI

Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq

Article XII

Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation’s Natural Resources

Article XIIII

Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries

Article XIV

Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency

Article XV

Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq

Article XVI

Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors

Article XVII

Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives

Article XVIII

Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy

Article XIX

Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to ” Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture

Article XX

Imprisoning Children

Article XXI

Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government

Article XXII

Creating Secret Laws

Article XXIII

Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act

Article XXIV

Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment

Article XXV

Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens

Article XXVI

Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements

Article XXVII

Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply

Article XXVIII

Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice

Article XXIX

Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Article XXX

Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare

Article XXXI

Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency

Article XXXII

Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change

Article XXXIII

Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV

Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Article XXXV

Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders

© 2008 The Belfast Telegraph

Cheers, A. Morris