Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Should US conservatives be advocating a more European approach to American politics?

Posted by Jason O on Apr 21, 2012 in US Politics |

A little bit of Euro-flexibility?
A little bit of Euro-flexibility?

There are two men who have a serious chance of being sworn in on the 20th of January 2013 as President of the United States. We cannot be sure as to which one it shall be. However, we can be sure of one thing from day one of the next presidential term, and that is that at least 40% of the American electorate will probably hate the president, deny him anything but the most perfunctory loyalty and regard him as a holder of values not just different from theirs but almost alien.

This is not good, nor is it normal. Across the western world voters are disappointed that “their” party is not elected, but even Margaret Thatcher had the respect of many voters who would not vote for her. The recent decision of Senator Olympia Snowe to not seek another term because of the poisonous atmosphere in US politics is a dire warning, as were the attacks on Jon Huntsman for serving his country as US ambassador to China. If the Democratic and Republican parties, and their respective hardcore voters now regard their political opponents as little better than an alien occupying power, then the US has to ask itself some very hard questions. Can it continue in its current format?

Or, should the United States look to the European Union model as one flexible enough to allow Americans of all persuasions and values to live peacefully? The EU is by no means perfect, and indeed needs to copy many of the US’s successes. But it also recognises within its 28 states a wide variety of different values and beliefs. Moreover, the EU, through its treaty mechanism, recognises the need to adjust its governing constitution as society changes.

Is it time for the US to follow suit? Is it time to draft a new US constitution which allows states more leeway on everything from abortion to same sex marriage to healthcare mandates, and to put such a constitution to the people? Some would say such a proposition is inherently conservative in its strict constructionism, but bear in mind that the more populous liberal states could also use such an opportunity to devolve powers on social issues to themselves, freeing themselves from over-represented low-population conservative states. They could also deal with the anomaly that so called low tax red states seem to be subsidisised by the blue states.

Would there be problems? Of course. For one, such a proposal, allowing states to anchor their social values into their own state constitutions, free from federal interference, would almost certain cause significant migration as women and gays and minorities fled certain states. For that same reason, it would probably cause considerable loss of foriegn direct investment as, say, European investors object to investing in states where gay bullying is subtly encouraged.

But so what? It would address the sore tooth at the heart of US politics, and allow for people in conservative states to share lunch counters with their own kind, whilst freeing up liberal states to make their own decisions.

2 Comments

Brendan
Apr 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm

More cloud cuckoo land stuff Jason if you think Europeans have more respect for their leaders than Americans do. Respect for Margaret Thatcher from her political foes? You are joking, right? The left hated and still hate her. America descended into Euro style division when the left refused to accept the election of George W Bush and it’s been there since.


 
Jason O
Apr 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm

They may have hated her, but they did not doubt that she was the legitimate PM.


 

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