In response to his blog post stating that Presidential systems were inferior to those with Prime Ministers, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria took to the airwaves to remake his point. The full video is based on a single premise – big government is good.
He spends his entire on air commentary segment saying that since Parliaments are more beholden to the Prime Ministers there is less grid-lock. He fails to understand that slow movement by something as oppressive as a central government was exactly what the founding fathers rightly feared. Imagine if we’d had a parliamentary system in 2009. The health care law would certainly have been single payer, destroying an entire segment of the U.S. economy.
Fareed wrongly believes that if our government could act swifter, surely it could act better. He stakes the claim that since the Prime Minister leads the coalition that runs parliament, he could get more done. What if the legislature is acting irrationally or in our case, not in the best interest of the country?
If more government was truly better, having a legislature going nuts passing all sorts of legislation would be beneficial. The authors of the Constitution knew better and created a framework that creates these adversarial situations on purpose. This grid-lock, slows down the government.
Zakaria is railing against the basis for the three branch framework the founders set up: checks and balances. He would rather have a government run amok upon the people.
While his points make sense to himself and anyone else not afraid to be wholly dependent upon a malignant, power-hungry government – some of us disagree.
Checks and balances are mechanism to prevent tyranny. The President and Congress are not aligned Constitutionally to make sure that even mid-term, the House could be remade to challenge a President grasping at too much power – as happened in 2010. If we go with Fareed’s approach, Obama would would still be passing stimulus bills, taking over companies, wrecking health care, and going after industry. Instead the Constitution has slowed his advance against the American way.
A parliamentary system also allows the legislature to vote out the Prime Minister should they find his politics unhelpful to there agenda – a vote of no confidence. This creates a very cozy relationship between the executive and legislative parts of the government.
In the final portion of Zakaria’s rant on CNN, he let’s us know that he thinks that any thought that we have the greatest system in the history of the world “sounds a lot like thoughtless cheerleading”.