Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We are not a Parliamentary Democracy, we are a Presidential Democracy.

I was reading an interesting article (at the bottom of this one) talking about how Obama is an ineffective President because Congress can't get anything done and how he is going to Congress for being involved in Syria, along with pretty much anything else he is doing.

The problem with these articles is they misunderstand how our system works. The United States of America is a Presidential Democracy (or Republic, take your pick) which means we have a separation of power between the executive branch and legislative branch. Sometimes this means our President is of a different party than our legislature. This is what has happened for the past four years. The President does not lead Congress, and this seems to be what a lot of pundits seem to think. The people who say Obama is skirting authority, not using his power etc. have never learned or since forgotten the difference between a Presidential and Parliamentary Republic/Democracy. In a Parliamentary Democracy (like Canada) it would be completely appropriate to blame the Prime Minister for failing to get things done, because in the Westminster System which Canada uses the Prime Minister is the leader of the largest party in one house of their legislature. The Speaker of the House here functions similarly to a Prime Minister in that respect, albeit with limited powers. The most important distinction is that in our country the President enforces the law, by organizing his cabinet, signing executive orders to clarify the law, and other tools, and the Congress makes the law. In Canada the Prime Minister functions as both the leader of Parliament and the de facto head of government like our President.

When reading someone, make sure they understand this difference because it is a crucial one and is one way to tell how intelligent a writer is. I do stop reading people who fail to make that distinction in their writing.

What I am concerned about: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-on-syria-obama-misunderstands-wartime-leadership/2013/09/09/2dcc44ee-197a-11e3-82ef-a059e54c49d0_story.html

An example of a well-written article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-john-boehner-is-a-leader-without-followers/2013/09/27/c8145b2a-2705-11e3-ad0d-b7c8d2a594b9_story.html

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