Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Sometimes a comment on a blog distinguishes itself from all others so much so that it deserves a special post all by itself.

Angry Tory has managed that with this pearler commenting on my post 'The Race to the White House' .... "The good ole US of A is supposed to be a Republic not a Democracy".

Some muvvers do have em.


David said...

It's not that unusual, if you follow the decline and fall of the Rethuglican Party. It is a common refrain among the tea partiers and those who have dragged the GOP so far too the right they can barely be seen any more.

The Founding Fathers universally rejected democracy and hoped that posterity would never turn the United States into one. The word they used was “Republic,” which is not synonymous with “Democracy.” The word “Democracy” is not in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. Even the Pledge of Allegiance is “to the Republic for which it stands.”

Our Founders very much feared creating a government that had too many aspects of a pure democracy. They feared the destructiveness that a majority might have in trying to make everyone equal, and in the process taking away property, rights of property, and with it our basic freedoms which they considered "God given Freedoms." They very much feared the development of the Robin Hood mentality we are seeing today – soak the rich and give to the poor. It is a democratic drift toward socialism. Such a program as the proposed "Universal Healthcare" is a prime example.

And, of course, remember that there is also a Republic of Iran. :-)

The Veteran said...

Hmmmmm ... disagree. President Lincoln defined democracy as "Government of the people, by the people and for the people". A more modern definition is a form of government where a constitution (written or unwritten) guarantees basic personal and political rights, fair and free elections and independent courts of law. Whether that happens in a Republic (US) or in a Parliamentary Democracy (NZL) is irrelevant.

By any definition the US is a democracy. Iran may be a Republic but it is not a democracy.

Perhaps the final word should go to Winston Churchill who said "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time".

David said...

Vet, disagree all you like, but that is the position of the US Right and can be traced back to the founding of the US. Read The Federalist Papers, read the writings of the founders; they saw a distinction between a republic and a democracy. A false distinction, perhaps, but that is how they viewed the systems.

Initially suffrage in the US was limited to white male property owning christans. No women, blacks, Jews or tenants need apply.

Yes, the US exhibits some of the hallmarks of a democracy, but look at the farce that is the current presidential race and you see a Kleptocracy V an Oligarchy.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


So what?

You could just as well be talking about UK, NZ, Australiaor South Africa.

The Veteran said...

David ... the extreme right perhaps. Have to say your depiction of Trump as Kleptocracy and Clinton as representing an Oligarchy is a pretty powerful and accurate description.

Trump is not Party political and he is certainly not a Republican in the classical sense of the word.. He is Trump first and foremost. OTOH Clinton is beholden to the Democrat heavy hitters of the like of George Soros (who has contributed $7m+ to her campaign) and when they say jump her only response is 'how high Sir'.

Blair said...

There's nothing wrong with the comment at all, it's quite correct. The USA is, and was, supposed to be a Republic, not a Democracy. The only democratically elected officials were originally the Representatives in the House. Senators were supposed to be chosen by the individual States, as were the Electoral College delegates who chose the President. It may be that every State now elects these delegates democratically, but there is no obligation for them to do so. In fact, that is one reason, independent of the Florida vote tally, that Bush won against Gore - there is no constitutional requirement for Florida to even adhere to the result of a Presidential election in their State. They can send whomever they like to the Electoral College, and those people can vote as they please. The Supreme Court affirmed that right in Bush vs Gore.

So far from being a distinctive comment, it's merely citing a well known, and actually oft-quoted, fact.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments that I have not given a great deal of thought to but will now. How refreshing to see a debate without rancour going on and how amusing to see Adolph throwing his hat in the ring and trying to punch above his weight.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Redbaiter said...

Angry Tory is quite correct. As various commenters above have pointed out.

What a shame that the Veteran has once again shown himself to be almost completely clueless about US politics.

Makes one wonder why he appears to be driven to write about it so often.

If he understands so little about it, how can he possibly hope to give readable or helpful comment on what is going on there?

Noel said...

Wasn't Bush vs Gore about Florida not having a standard recount system?

The Veteran said...

Folks ... just go back to the accepted definition of what constitutes a democracy posted in my 11.42 comment and then argue the point.

Of course each country has its (electoral) quirks with the US no exception (NZ too with MMP) but the fact remains that the US is a democracy. And Blair is right ... delegates to the Electoral College have changed their vote from the person they were pledged to support ... they are termed 'Faithless Electors'. There have been 157 of them in the history of the US. 71 of those votes were because their candidate died prior to the College convening; 3 electors abstained while the other 82 were delegates gone rogue. The US Supreme Court in R v Blair, 343 US 214 allows States to require political parties to require formal pledges from presidential electors. 21 States have hung back from doing so. 29 States plus Washington DC have passed legislation providing for fines for Faithless Electors but these are seldom enforced.

Red ... I would hope all of my comments are readable ... I can understand why, to you, they might not appear helpful. BTW ... ever attended a Presidential Convention? I have.

Redbaiter said...

The massive degree of political hostility in the US stems almost entirely from the Republican Party's abject failure to resist the Democrats.

They have caved again and again and again.

And they still don't get it. If they could, they'd have Jeb Bush running for President.

The Republican's just do not get that it is not what the mainstream media want, its what the voters want that counts.

Trump is the natural outcome of the party's obstinate refusal to fight for values that matter to the voters, and the party's record of abject surrender to the left again and again and again.

I only hope that NZ voters one day rise up against the equally gutless and useless National Party in the same way.

The Veteran said...

Red ... at least the voters realized, even if you don't, that if Jeb was the answer it must have been a silly question. He was a creature of the Republican establishment, those who, in your own words, 'failed to resist the Democrats'. Trump is as much a Republican as he is a Democrat. But he will be the Republican Party nominee or his own nominee as a third party candidate (although as such he will have considerable difficulty getting on the ballot in many States). Whatever, he will be remembered for gifting the election to Clinton #2 and that's the real tragedy.

Perhaps, just perhaps, that was his game plan all the way along.

But again of course I know nothing about US politics so we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

" Whatever, he will be remembered for gifting the election to Clinton #2 and that's the real tragedy."

Funny thing is, when I said the same thing a few weeks ago, they all laughed.

The Veteran said...

Adolf ... you took the words out of my mouth. Was contemplating a post reminding people of that but no need to now.

Anonymous said...

Adolf. Never thought I'd say thanks to ole Foot-in-the-Mouth Donald but, if he gives the POTUSship to Hilary, he's done the world a favour. Go Hilary!