Class Warfare Blog

October 12, 2012

This Court (of Public Opinion) Needs a Judge

Filed under: Politics,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 12:08 pm
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In a recent post I recommended we follow the lead of our good neighbor Costa Rica and establish a fourth branch of government to run our elections, especially our debates. As good as Martha Raddatz was as moderator of the vice-presidential debate, there is still something lacking.

If you liken the debate to a courtroom proceeding, what we have is two lawyers going toe to toe. We are the jury but there is no one really at the helm. (Our debate moderators are more like the official of the court who keeps the calendar.) What I want is something akin to a British judge whose role it is to get at the truth. The two candidates are just trying to score electoral points and the truth suffers . . . mightily. These debates are often used to cloud issues rather than make them more clear.

Should not these debates inform voters about the issues and not just the candidates? Why are arguments permissible that have been judged inaccurate, incompetent, or both? Why are the “facts” really opinions when the real facts are available? Lawyers in court who try to make points that have been ruled another way get warned and then punished if they persist, by the Judge.

I know that Republicans will respond that they have a different set of facts (apparently including the Earth being less than 10,000 years old and that the small government recommended by the Founding Fathers includes inspecting womens’ vaginas), but do we not have the ability to tell fact from fiction? Are we that incompetent?

October 7, 2012

Let’s Follow Costa Rica’s Lead

Filed under: History,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 9:40 am
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After watching as much as I could stomach of the first presidential debate, I once again am amazed at how lackadaisical our process is. Questions get asked which are not answered or, worse, answers are given that are patently false and there is no follow up. Really, Governor Romney, to pay for a 5 trillion dollar tax cut, you intend to cut PBS? Really? That 0.42 billion dollars ought to make a real dent in the 5 trillion dollar problem your proposal creates!

Maybe we should follow the lead of tiny Costa Rica, which incidently based its government on ours. You know Costa Rica, the tiny Central American country with no army and no war and the highest literacy rate in the hemisphere? Yeah, them. Costa Rica had the sense to create a fourth branch of government. In addition to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches they have a branch of government whose responsibility is simply to conduct all of the elections. They are nonpartisan, make all of the rules, run the debates, etc.

Apparently they think elections are important enough to not have them run by the political parties themselves.

And we call them a banana republic! Maybe we should look a bit harder in the mirror.

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