My wife, Cheryl, when she was studying at Drake University took a class called Comparative Politics, and she was fascinated by the British political system.  Their Parliament consists of two houses.  The House of Commons made up of representatives who are voted in by their constituencies in their local district, not much unlike our House of Representatives (at least as local representation is concerned).  The House of Lords is another matter.  The House of Lords used to be consisted of members who were there by birthright, but now it is almost entirely appointed.

It would seem that our Senate is being treated this way by some.  Charles Krauthammer in his article, “Camelot is Not a State,” notices a sense of entitlement in Caroline Kennedy’s request to fill Senator Hillary Clinton’s seat once she is confirmed as our next Secretary of State.

The problem with Caroline Kennedy’s presumption to Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat is not lack of qualification or experience. The Senate houses lots of inexperienced rookies — wealthy businessmen, sports stars, even the occasional actor.

The problem is Kennedy’s sense of entitlement. Given her rather modest achievements, she is trading entirely on pedigree.

I hate to be a good government scold, but wasn’t the American experiment a rather firm renunciation of government by pedigree?

Yes, the Founders were not democrats. They believed in aristocracy. But their idea was government by natural — not inherited — aristocracy, an aristocracy of “virtue and talents,” as Jefferson put it.

We also see this with the potential appointment of Beau Biden, as well as, Jesse Jackson, Jr.  Krauthammer concludes:

Caroline Kennedy, Beau Biden and Jesse Jackson Jr. could some day become great senators. But in a country where advantages of education, upbringing and wealth already make the playing field extraordinarily uneven, we should resist encouraging the one form of advantage the American Republic strove to abolish: title.

No lords or ladies here. If Princess Caroline wants a seat in the Senate, let her do it by election. There’s one in 2010. To do it now by appointment on the basis of bloodline is an offense to the most minimal republicanism. Every state in the union is entitled to representation in the Senate. Camelot is not a state.

I agree with Krauthammer, unlike the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, however, the United State Senate is not a weaker house, and in many cases has more power than the House of Representatives (confirmation of Cabinet members & judges; decides on articles of impeachment, etc.).

18 comments
  1. The original purpose behind the House of Lords was to provide an aristocratic check on pure democracy so that the common law rights of Englishmen would be protected. Baron de Montesquieu for instance writes that England was the only country in Europe with such an entrenched tradition of liberty because of the separation of powers between the Monarch, the Lords, and the Commons.

    In the British parliamentary system, the legislature interprets common law rights, as there is no written constitution. Thus the House of Lords are a very important part of the traditional mix. It is the same in Canada where the Senate is an appointed body which originally was to provide a check against the House of Commons. Remember, under the British system the Prime Minister and his cabinet is basically a fused executive and legislative branch, and hence having a House of Lords, unelected, to provide a check against pure democracy is not such a bad idea. Its comparable in many ways to our Supreme Court.

    Just a few thoughts!

    AbuHatems last blog post..Western Standard Cross-Posting

  2. The original purpose behind the House of Lords was to provide an aristocratic check on pure democracy so that the common law rights of Englishmen would be protected. Baron de Montesquieu for instance writes that England was the only country in Europe with such an entrenched tradition of liberty because of the separation of powers between the Monarch, the Lords, and the Commons.

    In the British parliamentary system, the legislature interprets common law rights, as there is no written constitution. Thus the House of Lords are a very important part of the traditional mix. It is the same in Canada where the Senate is an appointed body which originally was to provide a check against the House of Commons. Remember, under the British system the Prime Minister and his cabinet is basically a fused executive and legislative branch, and hence having a House of Lords, unelected, to provide a check against pure democracy is not such a bad idea. Its comparable in many ways to our Supreme Court.

    Just a few thoughts!

    AbuHatems last blog post..Western Standard Cross-Posting

  3. The original purpose behind the House of Lords was to provide an aristocratic check on pure democracy so that the common law rights of Englishmen would be protected. Baron de Montesquieu for instance writes that England was the only country in Europe with such an entrenched tradition of liberty because of the separation of powers between the Monarch, the Lords, and the Commons.

    In the British parliamentary system, the legislature interprets common law rights, as there is no written constitution. Thus the House of Lords are a very important part of the traditional mix. It is the same in Canada where the Senate is an appointed body which originally was to provide a check against the House of Commons. Remember, under the British system the Prime Minister and his cabinet is basically a fused executive and legislative branch, and hence having a House of Lords, unelected, to provide a check against pure democracy is not such a bad idea. Its comparable in many ways to our Supreme Court.

    Just a few thoughts!

    AbuHatems last blog post..Western Standard Cross-Posting

  4. The original purpose behind the House of Lords was to provide an aristocratic check on pure democracy so that the common law rights of Englishmen would be protected. Baron de Montesquieu for instance writes that England was the only country in Europe with such an entrenched tradition of liberty because of the separation of powers between the Monarch, the Lords, and the Commons.

    In the British parliamentary system, the legislature interprets common law rights, as there is no written constitution. Thus the House of Lords are a very important part of the traditional mix. It is the same in Canada where the Senate is an appointed body which originally was to provide a check against the House of Commons. Remember, under the British system the Prime Minister and his cabinet is basically a fused executive and legislative branch, and hence having a House of Lords, unelected, to provide a check against pure democracy is not such a bad idea. Its comparable in many ways to our Supreme Court.

    Just a few thoughts!

    AbuHatems last blog post..Western Standard Cross-Posting

  5. One of the great things in this year’s election was that a Clinton was not nominated and elected to the presidency. Lets hope that Chelsea and Jeb stay away from Washington.. don’t need another Clinton or Bush in the executive branch 🙂

    I had a few interesting and varied comments on Princess Caroline at my place. When I think of Caroline I see her more as a Princess Diana figure than Hillary Clinton. Not sure that the senate needs a princess though.. I’d prefer that the governor appoint a person that has served New York in the legislature or the congress.

    That said, I think that he will appoint this princess.. and it is probably what New Yorkers want.. they will most likely vote her back in in a few years.. and she probably isn’t any worse than Mr Mayor Rudy 🙁

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

  6. One of the great things in this year’s election was that a Clinton was not nominated and elected to the presidency. Lets hope that Chelsea and Jeb stay away from Washington.. don’t need another Clinton or Bush in the executive branch 🙂

    I had a few interesting and varied comments on Princess Caroline at my place. When I think of Caroline I see her more as a Princess Diana figure than Hillary Clinton. Not sure that the senate needs a princess though.. I’d prefer that the governor appoint a person that has served New York in the legislature or the congress.

    That said, I think that he will appoint this princess.. and it is probably what New Yorkers want.. they will most likely vote her back in in a few years.. and she probably isn’t any worse than Mr Mayor Rudy 🙁

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

  7. One of the great things in this year’s election was that a Clinton was not nominated and elected to the presidency. Lets hope that Chelsea and Jeb stay away from Washington.. don’t need another Clinton or Bush in the executive branch 🙂

    I had a few interesting and varied comments on Princess Caroline at my place. When I think of Caroline I see her more as a Princess Diana figure than Hillary Clinton. Not sure that the senate needs a princess though.. I’d prefer that the governor appoint a person that has served New York in the legislature or the congress.

    That said, I think that he will appoint this princess.. and it is probably what New Yorkers want.. they will most likely vote her back in in a few years.. and she probably isn’t any worse than Mr Mayor Rudy 🙁

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

  8. One of the great things in this year’s election was that a Clinton was not nominated and elected to the presidency. Lets hope that Chelsea and Jeb stay away from Washington.. don’t need another Clinton or Bush in the executive branch 🙂

    I had a few interesting and varied comments on Princess Caroline at my place. When I think of Caroline I see her more as a Princess Diana figure than Hillary Clinton. Not sure that the senate needs a princess though.. I’d prefer that the governor appoint a person that has served New York in the legislature or the congress.

    That said, I think that he will appoint this princess.. and it is probably what New Yorkers want.. they will most likely vote her back in in a few years.. and she probably isn’t any worse than Mr Mayor Rudy 🙁

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

  9. Hadn’t thought about the House of Lords, but it is very appropriate given the attitude of entitlement people have.

    It is interesting that the younger generation always criticizes their elders and how they messed things up (hey, mine did it too!), but they want the benefits of the pedigree without going out and earning it themselves.

  10. Hadn’t thought about the House of Lords, but it is very appropriate given the attitude of entitlement people have.

    It is interesting that the younger generation always criticizes their elders and how they messed things up (hey, mine did it too!), but they want the benefits of the pedigree without going out and earning it themselves.

  11. Hadn’t thought about the House of Lords, but it is very appropriate given the attitude of entitlement people have.

    It is interesting that the younger generation always criticizes their elders and how they messed things up (hey, mine did it too!), but they want the benefits of the pedigree without going out and earning it themselves.

  12. Several thoughts come to mind but here they go and are random.

    1. Imagine if the US had multiple parties to content with much like Canada?

    2. Umm it does seem the US desperately always want a Princess Di like figure.

    3. Entitlement? Ummm Well aren’t all politicians like that afterall, rich and well famous, and educated … I think it would be a hard time for an average citizen to be elected to the senate ..let alone any position of power.

    4. I always loved this quote by Jesse the Body:

    “In pro wrestling, out in front of the people, we make it look like we all hate each other and want to beat the crap out of each other, and that’s how we get your money, [and get you to] come down and buy tickets. They’re the same thing. Out in front of the public and the cameras, they hate each other, are going to beat the crap out of each other, but behind the scenes they’re all going to dinner, cutting deals. And [they’re] doing what we did, too — laughing all the way to the bank. And that to me is what you have today, in today’s political world, with these two parties.”

    Gmans last blog post..Hockey Heroes and Doing what is Right

  13. Several thoughts come to mind but here they go and are random.

    1. Imagine if the US had multiple parties to content with much like Canada?

    2. Umm it does seem the US desperately always want a Princess Di like figure.

    3. Entitlement? Ummm Well aren’t all politicians like that afterall, rich and well famous, and educated … I think it would be a hard time for an average citizen to be elected to the senate ..let alone any position of power.

    4. I always loved this quote by Jesse the Body:

    “In pro wrestling, out in front of the people, we make it look like we all hate each other and want to beat the crap out of each other, and that’s how we get your money, [and get you to] come down and buy tickets. They’re the same thing. Out in front of the public and the cameras, they hate each other, are going to beat the crap out of each other, but behind the scenes they’re all going to dinner, cutting deals. And [they’re] doing what we did, too — laughing all the way to the bank. And that to me is what you have today, in today’s political world, with these two parties.”

    Gmans last blog post..Hockey Heroes and Doing what is Right

  14. Several thoughts come to mind but here they go and are random.

    1. Imagine if the US had multiple parties to content with much like Canada?

    2. Umm it does seem the US desperately always want a Princess Di like figure.

    3. Entitlement? Ummm Well aren’t all politicians like that afterall, rich and well famous, and educated … I think it would be a hard time for an average citizen to be elected to the senate ..let alone any position of power.

    4. I always loved this quote by Jesse the Body:

    “In pro wrestling, out in front of the people, we make it look like we all hate each other and want to beat the crap out of each other, and that’s how we get your money, [and get you to] come down and buy tickets. They’re the same thing. Out in front of the public and the cameras, they hate each other, are going to beat the crap out of each other, but behind the scenes they’re all going to dinner, cutting deals. And [they’re] doing what we did, too — laughing all the way to the bank. And that to me is what you have today, in today’s political world, with these two parties.”

    Gmans last blog post..Hockey Heroes and Doing what is Right

  15. Several thoughts come to mind but here they go and are random.

    1. Imagine if the US had multiple parties to content with much like Canada?

    2. Umm it does seem the US desperately always want a Princess Di like figure.

    3. Entitlement? Ummm Well aren’t all politicians like that afterall, rich and well famous, and educated … I think it would be a hard time for an average citizen to be elected to the senate ..let alone any position of power.

    4. I always loved this quote by Jesse the Body:

    “In pro wrestling, out in front of the people, we make it look like we all hate each other and want to beat the crap out of each other, and that’s how we get your money, [and get you to] come down and buy tickets. They’re the same thing. Out in front of the public and the cameras, they hate each other, are going to beat the crap out of each other, but behind the scenes they’re all going to dinner, cutting deals. And [they’re] doing what we did, too — laughing all the way to the bank. And that to me is what you have today, in today’s political world, with these two parties.”

    Gmans last blog post..Hockey Heroes and Doing what is Right

  16. Gman, what you fail to mention is that in Canada, the U.K., and other parliamentary systems they institute what is called “responsible party governance” – something which American president, and admirer of the British system, Woodrow Wilson adored. In a responsible party system it is illegal for you to vote against you party, and if you do, then you are kicked out and will not win reelection.

    Thus, in a parliamentary system coalitions of various philosophies, ideologies, and political persuasions are created after elections, while in the United States the Democrats and Republicans are what we call “catch all parties,” with many wings in many different regions. No two democratic or republican senators will vote alike on every issue, some democrats are pro-life (Bob Casey) some republicans are pro-abortion (Kay Bailey Hutchison), democrats have a fiscal conservative wing (Blue Dogs and the DLC) while republicans have a liberal wing (Main Street Partnership).

    So, really, there are some benefits of having a two party system. The main reason we don’t have more than one party is because of our single-member district electoral system.

  17. Gman, what you fail to mention is that in Canada, the U.K., and other parliamentary systems they institute what is called “responsible party governance” – something which American president, and admirer of the British system, Woodrow Wilson adored. In a responsible party system it is illegal for you to vote against you party, and if you do, then you are kicked out and will not win reelection.

    Thus, in a parliamentary system coalitions of various philosophies, ideologies, and political persuasions are created after elections, while in the United States the Democrats and Republicans are what we call “catch all parties,” with many wings in many different regions. No two democratic or republican senators will vote alike on every issue, some democrats are pro-life (Bob Casey) some republicans are pro-abortion (Kay Bailey Hutchison), democrats have a fiscal conservative wing (Blue Dogs and the DLC) while republicans have a liberal wing (Main Street Partnership).

    So, really, there are some benefits of having a two party system. The main reason we don’t have more than one party is because of our single-member district electoral system.

  18. Gman, what you fail to mention is that in Canada, the U.K., and other parliamentary systems they institute what is called “responsible party governance” – something which American president, and admirer of the British system, Woodrow Wilson adored. In a responsible party system it is illegal for you to vote against you party, and if you do, then you are kicked out and will not win reelection.

    Thus, in a parliamentary system coalitions of various philosophies, ideologies, and political persuasions are created after elections, while in the United States the Democrats and Republicans are what we call “catch all parties,” with many wings in many different regions. No two democratic or republican senators will vote alike on every issue, some democrats are pro-life (Bob Casey) some republicans are pro-abortion (Kay Bailey Hutchison), democrats have a fiscal conservative wing (Blue Dogs and the DLC) while republicans have a liberal wing (Main Street Partnership).

    So, really, there are some benefits of having a two party system. The main reason we don’t have more than one party is because of our single-member district electoral system.

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