Blue Blogistan is having a good laugh over the Republican Senate nominee in Montana, Bob Kelleher, who is a former Independent, and Green, and Democrat, 84 years old, and has been running with no success under the Big Sky literally for decades now. Fair enough. But people really seem to think Kelleher’s main platform is a stitch: he wants to replace the legislative-executive separation of powers with a parliamentary form of government.
Of course that would require a transformation of the Constitution. Only the Bushies know how to do that. Ha, ha.
But it’s not misplaced to wonder why Kelleher’s idea is so crazy on the state level. States change their constitutions all the time: here in California, we do it practically once a year via initiatives. And state charters have all kinds of provisions totally foreign to the US Constitution: directly elected Attorneys General and other executive offices, spending limitations, enmerated privacy and education rights, even a unicameral legislature in Nebraska.
Never, however, has any state moved toward a parliamentary system. And it’s not clear why. Around the world, this system not only is far more common than a Presidential one (such as in the US and Latin America), it’s also been much more successful. Parliamentary democracies have a much better record in severely divided societies than Presidential ones–often in countries with far worse conditions on the ground than in Presidential countries.
Republicans shouldn’t scoff: if the US had had a parliamentary system, then they might still be running the show. They would have ditched Bush after Katrina, replaced him with a Republican with solid credentials, and kept going.
But at the state level, it’s still something of a mystery why it never seems to have been proposed, and people like Kelleher are ridiculed. And if he wins, we get rid of Max Baucus. Not so crazy at all!