I personally have an interest in political and governmental institutions. To see the interactions of the institutions as well the power and purpose it has fascinates me. In many ways, comparative politics is an hobby of mine. While this article is not a comparative piece, but it is more of a description of our branches of government.
The Country President
Í am the decider - President George W Bush
Despite what many believe the role of the country president is, he is not the boss. The purpose of the presidency is purely administrative in nature. The president is tasked with enforcing the laws passed by the congress and to manage his or her ministers, making sure that they are doing their job etc. The president makes sure that the communication between the ministers are maintained and most importantly, that the ministers work as a team. In the past, eBE is neutral so the communication and teamwork of the MoF and the MoD is not as vital. However as trial member of the Circle of Trust alliance, the MoD and the MoF has to work as one. I say this because alliance politics differs from being neutral. Being in an alliance means that we have to pay our alliance dues and in times of huge and important battles, there might be a need for an emergency loan for mercenaries and supplies. The MoD has to work well with the MoF. Also the CP should plan for MoF to have some knowledge/ experience in eGlobal affairs and events. While it is understandable that the MoF are misers but in an alliance, there are times in which being a miser hurts us much more.
The president also manages the country's foreign relations. The president with the help of his or her MoD and MoFA communicates with foreign leaders from mundane things like signing MPP's to formal and complicated treaties and alliance membership. While the congress will vote on MPP's and treaties etc, the congress does not set or negotiate terms. This is the task of the president and his ministers.
The president manages the congress especially in the realm of foreign policy. There is an American saying, "Foreign Policy stops at the water's edge." Since American is on the New World, this quote means that the foreign policy of this land should be bipartisan/ have an united will and vision. While it is impossible to have complete unity and vision, the president's job in this game is to gain as much support especially in the congress so that if there are disagreements etc, it is in house and not in the public. A good president would avoid the political fiasco like that of eUS president Israel Steven who did not manage the public and congress well in regards of his shift in foreign policy.
I started this section with former President Bush's quote. Some play on his quote and say that he is the "Decider in Chief." In some ways it is true but decider does not mean boss. I think instead of the "Decider in Chief" the more accurate term is "Manager in Chief." As a manager their main function is administrative in nature. As a manager, they do make decisions but the main focus is not being boss or only making decisions. Being president for the most part is managing mundane and logistical functions of the country.
There is but one way for a president to deal with Congress, and that is continuously, incessantly, and without interruption. If it is really going to work, the relationship has got to be almost incestuous. -Lyndon B. Johnson
The congress is an legislative branch of the government. It's main task is to make laws. While many regards the president as the most important and powerful position, in reality, the congress holds much more hard power than the president. The president cannot make laws but only administers it but the congress writes law that can add or take away powers of the president.
Whereas the president focuses mainly on foreign policies, the congress focuses mainly on domestic and economic issues. While the MoF studies and recommends ideal financial policies, it is congress that debate and decides what to do. Should they raise or lower taxes, VAT's move money from treasury to banks etc. This is one of the main functions of congress for the CP cannot base on game rules start taxation votes.
While not always true, the congress tends to focus a lot more on domestic issues than the president. Since the president is busy with foreign policy, the congress have more time and energy to deal with domestic issues. While most domestic issues deals with budgets like the recent austerity measures in eBE like the cutting of Para's and now the cutting of some ineffective and costly newbie subsides. Non-budget issues deals with ideals and legal aspects of the community. The congress is a battle ground for interest and ideals. Looking at our history, many of the worst and passionate rights took place in the congress. For the congress is the arena that fights for the direction the country goes. One of the most famous example of this is the No Pain No Gain Act. This took place in the dawn of what we called the eBE Civil War. NLSP wrote and passed a bill on crime and punishment which to some see as draconian and a means to silence dissidents.
The function of the congress is dialectical but nevertheless, it is what gives the country continuity. While the president are the manager and in many ways the planner, the congress is review board reviewing the plans and recommendations of the president. The president as well as the congress should ideally work together as one, "almost incestuously!" For if either the president cannot maintain the congress in a civil manner or the congress is not cooperative like in RL politics or in times of tensions like the eBE Civil War, nothing really gets done and this does more harm than good. While the function of congress and the president are different, both branches should realize that they are on the same team. While each individual congressmen/women does not really make much promises on their manifesto unlike that of the CP, congress must realize that they are on the same team with similar interest. While there is room for disagreements, the president should not vilify the congress, a faction or party within the congress and vice versa. In eNL, the current CP van Spjick vilifies the old guard of the I&W party and the old guards vilifies van Spjick. In both situation, the disagreement is not on policy but to hurt and bash the rival party. The goal then is not ideology but of power. This is something that should be avoided.
The Supreme Court
Whenever you put a man on the Supreme Court he ceases to be your friend. - Harry S. Truman
eBE is something special in the eRepublik community. While it is not the sole country to have three branches, the countries that have a Supreme Court is rare. Unlike the other positions, the Supreme Court is not an ingame position. It is also the only position that has a 3 month term instead of the one month term of the president and the congress. This makes the Supreme Court something truly unique and special.
While there are some who dismiss the Supreme Court as weak and powerless, others like Shadow too powerful to a point of being a dictatorship, both arguments have merits. In my opinion, the Supreme Court is one of the most misunderstood and unknown institutions in eBE community. While it is a court that deals with criminal cases, most people do not understand why it is such an powerful institution.
While the Supreme Court does not write law, it reviews it. It does have some hard power in that it can nullify laws and law proposal if they feel that it violates the constitution or proper procedures. This is a really powerful tool as this is one of the only instruction that can overrule the congress. For the of eBE cannot veto any laws, but the Supreme Court can.
More importantly, the Supreme Court's power is the power to grant legitimacy and precedence in the community. It is one thing to write the law, but the Supreme Court reads the law and tells the community what the law and constitution means. In cases that deals with crime, the case and verdict of the court gives legitimacy to the result. Person X did a crime and the court fines him guilty a does deserve the punishment as stated by the law. Or this person is innocent and despite what we think about that person, the court legitimize this person as he did not violate the conditions of the law.
While there are many opinions of the ideal Supreme Court Justices, the most important thing is not to make the court part of the political arena. I personally like the court to rule not on the letter of the law but the spirit of the law. What is the intent and meaning of the constitution/ law. I personally believe that the constitution should not be viewed black and white but base on the situation. Others have a to the letter point of view which I personally fears it to be a tool to politicize the court.
The Supreme is a very powerful institution with the possibility of many abuses but it is a needed evil. Shadow made some legit points saying that the Supreme Court is not democratically elected by the general people and to give 3 people so much power, it is on the verge of being a dictatorship. But what are the alternatives? If you do this like RL America, would you have the president assign the justices? That would make it less democratic. If you elect it via a popular vote, only forum users have a vote and I think makes it even more political as justice nominees would write manifestos and gives reason to the general people a reason why they should vote for them. The congress vote is most logical as the people voted in the congress to represent their interest. I would say the Supreme Court is the product of representative democracy. While there are some element of politics in the justice election, I think it is reduced in normal peace time. The dangers of this method is in times of conflict like the Civil War. The Supreme Court in theory can be used as a political tool to obstruct a rival party. Suppose in this hypothetical situation in which Group A controls congress but Group B controls the court. Group B can nullify group A's bill. If Group A maintains power for a few months, they will also most likely pack the court with Group A members which defeats the purpose of a neutral and objective court. While the problem exist, the likelihood of it happening is remote. Also there are no better alternatives. Would you want congress to deal with the issue of justice?
It is important to understand the role and functions of each institution of our government. It is really important as a citizen as well as a politician to understand the roles and limitation of their government. To understand that the president is not the all powerful boss but just an administrative figure helps the citizen to understand that the president is not that powerful and often times, the limits of his or her post prevents them from achieving their goals. To understand the limitation of the president and other branches of government allows the people to understand and have a more fair and objective assessment of their political leaders. Knowing the limitations, presidents and congress candidates should not make overly huge promises that they cannot keep. This is extremely true for presidential candidates and newbie congress candidates. When I read newbie congress manifesto promising to make the country strong, will negotiate membership with alliances, etc it only shows me one thing, this person does not understand the institutional structures of this game as well as the institutional structures of our community. While I am not saying that people who write these kind of manifesto are stupid etc. It shows that they are ignorant of the institution and maybe is not ready for congress at this time. I hope this article as well as the Education Ministry will help these people to achieve their ideal goals in this game.
Was ist das?Dieser Artikel wurde von einem Bürger von eRepublik, einem interaktiven Mehrspieler-Strategiespiel auf Basis real existierender Länder, geschrieben. Erstelle einen eigenen Charakter und verhilf deinem Land als Kriegsheld, anerkannter Zeitungsherausgeber oder einflussreicher Finanzmann zu Glanz und Gloria.