It so happens that, with Barack Obama gradually rolling out his star-studded Cabinet in recent days, I’d already been giving quite a lot of thought to the deficiencies of our Parliamentary system. The wonderful thing about the American system — the aspect that never gets talked about for some reason — is that the President can appoint any genius he likes to Cabinet spots — people like Larry Summers, Robert Gates and Colin Powell. And these people do not have to kiss babies, run in by-elections, or get sham appointments to some upper chamber in order to gain their offices. The President, as ultimate decider, just picks the best people, they accept and … that’s it.
Well, yeah, except for that pesky little check and balance called Senate confirmation–otherwise, yeah, that’s it:
The role of Congress is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which directs the president to select officials with the Senate’s “advice and consent.” Only 51 senators, a simple majority, are required to approve a nominee.
All 15 Cabinet secretaries require Senate confirmation, as do federal judges and ambassadors. White House aides such as chief of staff and national security adviser don’t. The law establishing a federal agency dictates which agency officials require Senate approval.
This, my friends, is one of the many, many reasons why they can’t give away the National Post these days. Paul Godfrey has his work cut out for him.