Posted by: endithinks | August 22, 2008

On Heirs and Surrogates

Last time I checked Democracy meant “a government formed by the people through elections and majority permissions.”  Lately I’ve been seeing many many examples of a Medieval concept of rule, Heirs and Inheritors.

In the United States Presidential race the idea of a vice President has taken on new meaning in the elections this year than ever before.  The Vice President is the Heir Apparent if something happens to the President, the second in command.  This election cycle the choices by Obama and McCain are especially important due to the unique candidacies of both men and the unfortunate legacy of Dick Cheney.

The Vice President is no longer a do nothing position.  The only constitutional role the VP has is to be the inheritor of the presidency in case of presedential death, resignation or impeachment and the tie breaking vote in the Senate if the votes are 50/50.  But we have seen a VP become more than a back up player.  The VP is now a policy maker, a confidant, a surrogate, a foreign relations minister and the list goes on and on.

From now on in the American system unless this next president takes major steps to halt it, the VP is going to be an important member and in some cases possibly the most important member of a cabinent.

Both Obama and McCain have already signalled their desire for a VP that will work closely with them.  Obama says his VP will be his first conselour, while McCain says he would have picked Cheny as his own VP if he had the chance in 2000.  both men are elevating the importance of this position and the drama over who it will be has reached feverish pitches as pundits calculate and recalculate who it will be.

In another example of inheritance in a democracy we have the example of Pakistan.  Musharef just stepped down this Monday and the next election of a president already has a favorite and that is the husband of slain politician Benazir Bhutto.  Asif Ali Zardari is the front runner simply because of his connection to Bhutto.  He has also done quite a few things in the past that some would say does not bode well, but so far he has been convicted of no charges (although he served 11 years in prison for a variety of charges that were never found to be “true).

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