March 08, 2009

If I could just say a belated thank you to the voters in the Democratic primaries over the last election cycle?

Yes, I know, I’m as little enthused by President Obama as you are but just think what those voters did. They enabled us all to dodge the appalling thought of President (Hillary) Clinton. Evidence of how awful this would in fact have been comes from her performance as Secretary of State on her current trip to Europe.

A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:

“I have never understood multiparty democracy.”

Fairly outrageous as she is in fact being supported by the taxpayers’ dime to both understand and negotiate with all those multiparty democracies around the world. That’s actually her job as Sec State and it would be a useful addition to her education to try and get up to speed on how all these strange foreign places operate. However, that’s not the worst of it.

“It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy.”

Now I’ll admit that the US has been a Republic and a democracy for a lot longer than many other places. My own native UK is still a Monarchy for example, as are a number of European countries. But Switzerland has been both a Republic and a democracy since somewhere between 1291 and 1648 (it’s complicated, OK?). Iceland has had a Parliament since 930 and the Isle of Man since 979. I agree that the simple existence of a Parliament isn’t proof of democracy, England couldn’t be described as one in 1295 when that Parliament was created, but it is at least indicative of steps towards some form of democratic rule.

Clinton also rather missed the point that we are all looking back to the Ancient Greeks as the beginners of this odd idea that a free people should rule themselves which is pretty much what democracy means at root.

Ignorant of history, ignorant of political systems and ignorant of the wider world. Not really such a great pick as Secretary of State really, but better that than she be President, don’t you think?

Which is why I’d just like to thank those people who voted in the Democratic primaries. Thank them for making sure that didn’t happen.


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