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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, January 06, 2005


checks and balances

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 06, 2005 permalink View blog reactions
The defining characteristic of our political system as structured by the Constitution is the checks and balances that each of the three branches exert upon the other. For example, Congress may seek to impeach the President, and even remove him from office. The decision to impeach President Clinton, for example, while unquestionably an excercise in raw partisan power, still was well within the prerogative of the legislative branch, and so could not be termed an abuse of power per se - it was actually an expression of the functioning of the government and an illustration of how those checks and balances operate.

Today, Senator Boxer (D-CA) joined in the objection to the slate of electors from Ohio, and I feel that while there is unquestionably a partisan element to the action, that partusan element reflectsthe neccessity of a political opposition - especially when one party is so completely dominant over all three branches of government.

This filing of an objection has been characterized as anti-democratic, but the simple truth is that this process exists within the Constitution for precisely the scenario - reasonable doubt about the validity of the electoral procedures in Ohio.

Truth be told, were I suspicious that there was even a chance of this objection actually having enough impact to overturn the ouutcome of the 2004 presidential election, I think I'd be forced to oppose it.

However, by using the established mechanism for objection to a slate of electors, what Boxer is courageously doing with her House counterparts is shining a light on the flaws in our system, which are endemic and far beyond what is tolerable in the leading democracy of the world.

I expect that I have reason to be optimistic to see real election reform in teh coming years. We have the challenge being filed today - which will almost surely not succeed - to thank for it.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.