Friday, February 19, 2010

Ungovernable. Perhaps.

After WW2 France seemed ungovernable. After fiddling with various things, the French re-tooled their form of government (and some other things, too), and things got vastly better.

In the 1980s Israel seemed ungovernable. We fiddled with various things, re-tooled our electoral system, the result was even worse than before, we went back to the original system - and things got better. Or rather, they got lots worse on other fronts (the 2nd Intifada started, for example) but it turned out the old-new system was working fine.

Sometimes changing the system fixes things. Sometimes not. It depends what the original problem had been.

The Economist discusses the political system in America, and wonders if it needs fixing or perhaps not.

8 comments:

This Is Hell said...

Why is it Israel has no voting wards or districts. Why does the list system even exist? Why are there no local representatives of their own constituencies? Seems to me at least that if Israeli voting were more akin to Congressional districts in the US then at least the insane deadlocks and powerless coalitions would abate.

Anonymous said...

No Child Left Behind as a success? No teacher in America would agree.

Magazine gets dumber every year. Why is the Economist letting blowhards use up their brand? That's what the Internet is for.

Bruce

Barry Meislin said...

I find it somewhat amusing that given the political situation in Britain that a British publication feels it has to cast its eyes across the waters...

AKUS said...

Israel needs to change its electoral system to direct representation from voting districts. Today's politicians only owe allegiance, and their cushy seats, to the party, not to the electorate. It is not that Israel is not governable - it is that the politicians have no vested interest in governing as they are not responsible to the electorate.


As for the US - there is a growing feeling that it is not being governed due to gridlock in Congress mainly because the Democrats have been unable to pluck up the courage to force through legislation that their majority would allow them to do if they would only stand up to the Republican filibuster threat, or else simply shut down government by refusing to pass legislation till the Republicans stopped making the threat as Clinton did.

But it is still potentially governable.

Lee Ratner said...

There is also a feeling that both sides in American politics are evil. Liberals like myself believe that the conservatives are having problems even recognizing that America has serious problems and are too ideological attached to the ideas that problems can be solved by lowering taxes, deregulating the economy, and banning gay marriage. Conservatives think that liberals are intent to make American into a socialist state. A serious ideological divide exists in America when it comes to many issues.

Lee Ratner said...

I've read the Economist article again and after thinking about, I think its hogwash. The article states that Obama gave healthcare to the Leftists in Congress. This is laughable. There are only a handful of genuine leftists in Congress and the solution the left favored to health care, single-payer, was NEVER discussed seriously. Obama bended over backwards to get Republican ideas into the healthcare bill, the current final product is what the GOP proposed in 1994. and is open to tort reform even though tort reform is proven not to lower healthcare costs. Colorado and Texas instituted tort reform and health insurance premiums are as high in those states as states without tort reform.

You really should do a bit more research into American politics before commenting on them. Our right-wing is much further to the right than the right in other democracies. What would be supported by the right in other countries, is seen by our right as dangerously left-wing and collectivist. For all their pro-Israel beliefs, the American right also has a strong faction that believes that the U.S. is a "Christian nation" and that the public schools should teach kids American history through a conservative and Protestant eye.

Lee Ratner said...

I've read the Economist article again and after thinking about, I think its hogwash. The article states that Obama gave healthcare to the Leftists in Congress. This is laughable. There are only a handful of genuine leftists in Congress and the solution the left favored to health care, single-payer, was NEVER discussed seriously. Obama bended over backwards to get Republican ideas into the healthcare bill, the current final product is what the GOP proposed in 1994. and is open to tort reform even though tort reform is proven not to lower healthcare costs. Colorado and Texas instituted tort reform and health insurance premiums are as high in those states as states without tort reform.

You really should do a bit more research into American politics before commenting on them. Our right-wing is much further to the right than the right in other democracies. What would be supported by the right in other countries, is seen by our right as dangerously left-wing and collectivist. For all their pro-Israel beliefs, the American right also has a strong faction that believes that the U.S. is a "Christian nation" and that the public schools should teach kids American history through a conservative and Protestant eye.

Anonymous said...

Charles Krauthammer has a different take on ungovernability:
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=169304

As tinkering can cause other problems, I'd be reluctant to declare the US ungovernable quite yet.