It’s easy to mock this as glib, but I too sincerely believe that we’d be better off with a ceremonial monarch like they have in Great Britain:
If we can just get over George III, our new constitutional monarchs could serve as National Hand-Holders, Morale-Boosters-in-Chief and Founts of American Indignation.
Our king and queen could spend days traipsing along tar-ball-infested beaches, while bathing oil-soaked pelicans and thrusting strong chins defiantly at BP rigs.
no thanks, i’ll pass on what Doug J and Pist-off are smoking…
I don’t know. Each party worships its own presidents as a Sun God King Who Can do No Wrong as it is. Not sure we need to make it a bipartisan affair. Though Tom Friedman thinks we could use a few years of Chinese-style dictatorship, presumably by led by Tom Friedman, to unfuck the country.
I’m afraid this would be a brilliant mistake.
I nominate Tunch.
It was a fine idea at the time.
The reason we don’t have one of those is that we’re supposed to be a nation of grownups — you know, the whole thing about being trusted to run our own affairs, elect our choice of representatives, hold them accountable, and so on.
What? I said we’re supposed to be, not that we are. As things stand, I think we not only need a national Daddy, but a national Santa Claus.
If it would relegate the current set of political pundits to endless breathless speculation about whatever fake scandal is enveloping the Royals this week and keep them away from actual politics pertaining to actual policy, I’m all for it.
@DougJ: I really can’t understand how you, of all people, could endorse a regime where Coca Cola is poured like vintage wine.
Obviously, we need a poll:
1. Brad and Angelina
2. Heidi and Spencer
3. Tom and Gisele
4. Tom and Katie
and since I believe in equality:
5. Ellen and Portia
although, frankly, I like the sound of Queen Oprah (and she’s available soon)
Well, it’s definitely written as satire, so I’m not sure why you’d mock it as glib. And it’s good satire — our national psyche simultaneously does call out for morale boosters in chief and rightly reject any notion of royalty, with the result that we hold our president to an impossible standard.
I know that the moment I saw Obama properly emoting over the oil spill (yeah, kick some ass”), I knew things would be all right.
A few photo ops in rolled up shirt sleeves in the gulf, and the whole proble mis solved!
Next I want him to:
1. Get all choked up about people struggling with the bad economy
2. Visibly pissed with Netanyahu and Abbas (that’s an easy onme, just get them in a room and tell them to “work it out” using an appropriately stern tone of voice).
3. More solemn whenever discussing the sacrifices made by the people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan
Because it is all appearances for the media, and a large part of the public.
And they could dress up as Nazis and/or say stupid things about brown skinned third worlders for our enjoyment.
The Grand Panjandrum
Brilliant. We could then look forward to the PBS special on how our royal family treat the family dogs and servants. But, poor Paris Hilton might get shut out of the limelight. Sigh. It might get hard out there for an heiress if we go to this sort of government.
I nominate Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
I don’t think the idea of splitting the head of state and head of government role would be a bad idea at all.
Ceremonial Monarch, what do you think Obama is?
Anyone who thinks having a ceremonial head of state is going to solve any of our problems probably isn’t paying much attention to the nature of those problems.
If we had a ceremonial leader, we’d need ceremonial media to cover the fluff and serious media to cover the serious stuff. But where the hell will the serious media come from? That’s precisely our problem now — we have no serious media to cover the serious side of governing.
I you really can’t get over the George III thing, you could always join the British commonwealth and get yourself a governor general. Less expensive, not hereditary, but has the public hand-holding thing down to a fine art. AND each state could have a lieutenant governor. It would be great!
Actually, my idea about the British Commonwealth idea makes sense, the commonwealth being made up as it is of former British colonies.
Reagan was a dreadful president, but I always thought he would have made a good king.
Stan of the Sawgrass
Nice article, Nick, but we’re not all that upset by George III anymore. It’s George II that we’re trying hard to put behind us.
Chad N Freude
@Stan of the Sawgrass: Most excellent observation!
My nominees for Their Majesties are any of the couples in “Modern Family” (including Mitch and Cameron).
I dunno. Sure, they’re a fine idea at the time, but the idle rich often wind up doing tricks with mirrors and with chemicals.
Strong chins, eh? No Habsburgs or Windsors need apply.
That op-ed is a direct rip-of of a Clarence Page piece published on June, 1.
Page was quoting what Mike Royko said decades ago.
I WANT a Hapsburg. Their womenfolk were gorgeous.
On a more serious note, while this is utterly beyond the bounds of possibility, I really think it’s a fine idea. Hereditary rules are terrible. Hereditary figureheads would suck all the Village Idiots into their own special reporting category. They wouldn’t want to be mainstream commentators. They could write a nice article about how the sharp, masculine smell of Prince Dweezle’s first aftershave reassures them when he meets with President Obama for a ceremonial update on the Gulf spill and lets them know everything will be okay. And someone else could write an article about the president’s actual decisions.
You’d have much the same effect on the dimbulbs in the electorate. The Founding Fathers wanted us to worship no man as better than ourselves. Well, that totally failed, so why not get them some idols that are completely harmless politically? Works great for Canada.
Reminds me too much about the guy whose Presidential apex was a ceremonial first pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate at the 2001 World Series.
On the other hand, if we could have had him do more of that and less actual Presidenting…
You were better as a spooftroll, Doug.
the Queens we use would not excite you [/dougj]
There’s already too many GOP queens out there, so you’re not going to sell me on the monarch thing, but I am intrigued by Ireland’s parliamentary system with a Prime Minister–the Taoiseach– and an elected President.
The President of Ireland represents the country in foreign affairs and is the commander of the Defence Forces, a role similar to commander-in-chief.
I think not having split the head of state and head of government roles is one of the big flaws in the constitution. Although to be fair to the Founding Fathers, the idea wasn’t exactly well-established in their day.
On of the problems in recent times is that the Republicans have been running for head of state rather than head of government.
licensed to kill time
The King and Queen of Emo, expressing the tears of the Heartland. Hmm….or maybe we just need a Ceremonial Crier-in-Chief.
(man, I get nervous using hyphens. hope I don’t set off the bomb :-O )
@licensed to kill time:
The only hyphen you have to worry about is an unaccompanied one at the beginning of a word, such as in a sig sign-off or, say, a reference to a number that is less than 0. Your emoticon passed muster because there is a colon before the hyphen.
licensed to kill time
Thanks for the tips. I have noticed that it seems to be the space before the hyphen that sets off the bomb. More evidence that WP hates open spaces, empty lines, and random punctuation.
It did not even register with me that I had used a hyphen in that emoticon until you pointed it out, though. D’oh!
As one who thanks the Founding Fathers almost daily for their refusal to foist a system of hereditary titles and a royal family living lavishly on the public dime, along with the accompanying bowing, scraping, and forelock-tugging, on this great country of ours, I do not think this is a very good idea.
A ceremonial head of state without royal standing, along the lines of a president, certainly can work although probably not in this country without a parliamentary system.
Probably my favorite Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Windsor quote comes from the Duke of Edinburgh: “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.” Could be apocryphal, but it sounds like him.
What you want is a Governor General. That’s what we do in Canada. Appointed for a five year term, her job consists of shaking hands, laying wreaths, visiting wounded soldiers, etc. Ceremonial functions matter (they indicate what we, as a country, think is deserving of respect), and it might as well be someone’s job to look after them.
Having a Governor General leaves the government free to govern. More importantly, it is a way of saying that the country is something more than whatever the current Prime Minister wants it to be.
The fiction that we have a Queen is charming and harmless. (her visits are decades apart)
Having an American monarch would be a mistake. You already have too much hereditary transfer of power in the US.
It’s a moot point, it can and will never happen.
The whole idea of America was grounded in the idea that we didn’t need a king, that grownups could govern themselves.
Despite the best efforts of the blog world to not just argue against this idea, but to toil against it actively, America is still governing itself and has a bright future as long as we keep our eyes on the ball …. voting our true interests, and outnumbering the morons at the polls. With those two stars to guide us, this country can’t fail.
I’m a fucking American, and I don’t need a king, or any other crutch to help me govern my own country.
The losers, whiners, and chicken littles of the world can all go somewhere else and form their own loser whiner chicken little country. I wish them well.
Actually, I think the head of state will be fine, it’s the head of government position that is the problem in the US. In a parliamentary system, whenever the head of government loses support of parliament, new elections typically follow. In the US electoral system, there is no such option.