Three Ring Circus

September 19, 2008 10:21pm CST
As an Australian, I watch the three ring circus of US Presidential elections with immense amusement. The 'cult' of personality is never so well exemplified. In Australia the leaders of the political parties must be elected members of parliament, and are then chosen by their own parliamentary peers to lead the party, and the national leader (Prime MInister) is the leader of the party with the most parliamentary seats. Thus, when it comes to federal election time, although there is some small element of the sort of hysterical personal attacks so prevalent it seems in US politics, mostly the electorate is dealing with party platforms and voting accordingly. I suppose thoughtful US voters would do the same, but the concept of voting for a personality rather than a party just strikes me as ludicrous. One of the other advantages of our system is that if a party leader loses the plot along the way, he can be replaced at any time but a vote of his parliamentary colleagues (as has just happened here with the main opposition party). If each individual MP's political future hangs to a large degree on public perceptions of his party's policy, he is not going to be too happy with a leader who is doing extremely unpopular things, like sending troops to Iraq. That said, I hope Obama wins - we need a rest from ultra-conservative world leaders. Lash
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1 response
@sharra1 (6341)
• Australia
20 Sep 08
I am also Australian and I feel the same way about American politics. I have also noticed that most of the discussions here seem to be in favor of McCain and so are conservatives. I could be wrong but I have not seen any pro Obama discussions. That said I think our system is better and it makes me wonder about how we would organise a republic if we choose to go down that path. I would not like to see us going down the American path as I find the amount of money wasted on the political campaign to be appalling when there are people starving and homeless in the country. Also we have compulsory voting so people have to get involved. They can choose to vote informal if they wish and if they feel that their vote does not count because they are in a safe seat for a party they do not like they can choose to move to an electorate where they can make a difference. I think the personality of our leaders does have some impact on the election but it is the party's stance on certain important issues that impact the most.