I have noted before that Parliamentary systems are better than republics but here someone in American has also taken notice. The presidency has turned into an “elective monarchy” is the title, but it’s not a recent thing, it is the nature of the system. The article is a commentary by an American on an article by one F.H. Buckley, a Canadian who, like all of us who have inherited the British system, knows the difference:
First off, we’re hardly “the freest country in the world.” As Buckley points out, his native Canada beats the United States handily on most cross-country comparisons of political and economic liberty. In the latest edition of the Cato Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World rankings, for example, we’re number 17 and we don’t try harder. Meanwhile, as Buckley points out, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Democracy Index” ranks us as the 19th healthiest democracy in the world, “behind a group of mostly parliamentary countries, and not very far ahead of the ‘flawed democracies.'”
And who do you think he was thinking of when he wrote this:
“Thin-skinned and grandiose” characters do better in presidential regimes, Buckley writes, whereas “delusions of Gaullist grandeur are fatal for Prime Ministers.” In the UK, they have to face the music in person every week. The aforementioned Harold Macmillan, British PM from 1957 to ’63, admitted that the very prospect used to make him physically sick.
The PM’s Question Time is but one facet of the superior executive accountability offered by parliamentary systems.
The US is a mess but there is nothing I can even conceive of that will fix what has gone wrong. Make the President the majority leader in the House would do much to fix things but as utopian as making impeachment in the US a realistic tool of government.
The author of the article doesn’t quite believe it in the end so if you want to read Buckley’s book, you can find it here: The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America .