"President Bush isn’t on the ballot tomorrow," oberserves the ever-shrill Paul Krugman, "But this election is, nonetheless, all about him. The question is whether voters will pry his fingers loose from at least some of the levers of power, thereby limiting the damage he can inflict in his two remaining years in office."

One is hardly allowed to speak of such things in the United States, but the dynamic of this election is a reminder that it would really be better to have a parliamentary system. A head of government who's both a huge objective failure and has become wildly unpopular ought to be removed from office and replaced by someone else. In a proper democratic system Bush either would be on the ballot tomorrow or else the GOP would have dumped Bush as leader and ran under the banner of a different standard-bearer. As things stand, though, the best you can do is try to put into place a Democratic congress that'll do hearings and oversight and subpoenas and so forth. Even if the Democrats succeed, however, it's not as if we're going to simply get oversight. Instead, there'll be "a cataclysmic fight to the death" as the White House seeks to evade congressional oversight.

Then'll come to Broderish fainting spells about "partisan wrangling" and "ugly tone" and so forth. And it'll be true, the tone really will be ugly and people really will be spending time on wrangling rather than coping with the issues. But Democrats will have no choice -- this is a White House out of control and it needs to be restrained. Better institutions of government, however, would let us avoid the whole dynamic.

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