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pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 24th, 2012 at 10:30:47 AM permalink
Although our British friends are very familiar with the idea that the monarch is the Head of State, while the Prime Minister is the Head of Government, not all Americans realize that the European countries that have dissolved their monarchies still retain the separation of Head of Government & State. Outside of the old British colonies (like Canada), most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere have followed the American example of combining the two offices into one position.

Sometimes I think that may be a mistake.

The business of Head of Government is necessarily a partisan position, while a Head of State should be apolitical. But on the other hand, many Americans would find an elected Head of State as redundant an another useless expense. One quick question that few Americans can answer is who are the two people pictured below, and which one is the Head of State and which is the Head of Government of Germany?

While it would seem silly to go back to a monarchy, sometimes I think that a Head of State might be useful. But it would involve an expense, and the position might be seen as in conflict with the Presidential duties.

The duties of a Head of State would include overseas state visits, honoring the nations elite (military and civilian), charity fundraising, extolling the American people to be "better" (like Michelle Obama's obesity campaign, or more tolerant, etc.), and generally representing the nation. They would not include partisan fundraising, platforms, commander in chief responsibilities, etc. The Head of State duties might seem to be the more glamorous of the presidential duties.




Wizard
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Wizard
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May 24th, 2012 at 10:48:14 AM permalink
I voted that the system is fine as is. A head of state with no power would be seen as just a figurehead by other governments. Perhaps he/she could be used for ceremonial events like the Olympics or funerals for other heads of state. Then again such a movie might look insulting -- like we're sending in some flunky instead of the top banana.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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May 24th, 2012 at 10:55:57 AM permalink
Many of the "Head of State" functions that the President attends to personally, can be considered among the 'perks' that go along with the job. Take them away, and the job becomes less attractive.

Besides, the system is fine, partially because we already have people in place to do some of those "Head of State" type functions that the President either doesn't want to handle, or can't for any number of reasons. I refer specifically to the First Lady and the Vice President.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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May 24th, 2012 at 11:01:20 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

One quick question that few Americans can answer is who are the two people pictured below, and which one is the Head of State and which is the Head of Government of Germany?

Don't ask me to name them (although, having seen the image file name, I could...), but here's a WAG (Wild Ass Guess):

I think the gentleman looks like the kind of beer-drinking party animal that Germany would have as a Head Of State. The lady looks more serious, like she's running the show/country.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
Wizard
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Wizard
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May 24th, 2012 at 2:09:58 PM permalink
Here is my guess as to the woman. I have no clue about the man.

Angela Merkle (sp?) -- chancellor of Germany
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Nareed
Nareed
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May 24th, 2012 at 2:12:08 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Here is my guess as to the woman.



That's the right answer.
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
Calder
Calder
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May 24th, 2012 at 3:01:19 PM permalink
The vice president can take care of representing the nation at events that don't require the prez. The Veep doesn't have much else on his slate, anyway, from a constitutional standpoint.

I can envision too many problems with a two-headed monster.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 24th, 2012 at 3:42:35 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I voted that the system is fine as is. A head of state with no power would be seen as just a figurehead by other governments. Perhaps he/she could be used for ceremonial events like the Olympics or funerals for other heads of state. Then again such a movie might look insulting -- like we're sending in some flunky instead of the top banana.



Most of the European countries have a head of state with no political power. They don't regard them solely as figureheads, because they represent the state apolitically. Of the 27 European Countries 7 have retained traditional monarchy, Cyprus is the only one where one person serves both functions.

Most countries call their head of government a Prime Minister, but Germany and Austria retain the name Chancellor. Ireland uses a traditional Gaelic name.

In Germany the head of state is not nearly as well known as the Chancellor.

Most Americans can't get more than a handful of the names of the leaders of our close allies in the EU.

European Union Head of State Head of Government
 United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II Prime Minister
Prime Minister David Cameron
 Denmark Queen
Queen Margrethe II
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
 Netherlands Queen
Queen Beatrix
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
 Belgium King
King Albert II
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo
 Spain King
King Juan Carlos I
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
 Sweden King
King Carl XVI Gustaf
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
 Luxembourg Grand Duke
Grand Duke Henri
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker
 Austria President
President Heinz Fischer
Chancellor
Chancellor Werner Faymann
 Germany President
President Joachim Gauck
Chancellor
Chancellor Angela Merkel
 Ireland President
President Michael D. Higgins
Taoiseach
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
 Hungary President
President János Áder
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
 Bulgaria President
President Rosen Plevneliev
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov
 Czech Republic President
President Václav Klaus
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Petr Nečas
 Estonia President
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
 Finland President
President Sauli Niinistö
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen
 France President
President François Hollande
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
Greece President
President Karolos Papoulias
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos
 Italy President
President Giorgio Napolitano
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Mario Monti
 Latvia President
President Andris Bērziņš
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis
 Lithuania President
President Dalia Grybauskaitė
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius
 Malta President
President George Abela
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi
 Poland President
President Bronisław Komorowski
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Donald Tusk
 Portugal President
President Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
 Romania President
President Traian Băsescu
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Victor Ponta
 Slovakia President
President Ivan Gašparovič
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Robert Fico
 Slovenia President
President Danilo Türk
Prime Minister
Prime Minister Janez Janša
 Cyprus President
President Dimitris Christofias
NOT APPLICABLE
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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May 24th, 2012 at 4:33:10 PM permalink
In the UK, everything is done in the name of the crown but the Annual address to the people is written by the Prime Minister who of course is a political figure of power who won the partisan election but is thought therefore to be the instrument of applying the Crown policies. It enables the UK to have an inherited Monarchy, a mantle of all the civil service prats acting as agents of the Queen. Convicts are convicted by a jury but not sentenced until Her Majesty's pleasure is made known to the judge. Of course that simply means made known through the various probation clerks and the like who are all supposedly acting on the Queen's behalf. It allows an extra layer of protocol. And often provides for an extraordinary avenue of appeal. It is even then possible for there to be active intervention "by the Grace and Favor of Her Majesty" such as pardons, paroles or the retention of a civil servant who might otherwise be past the age of mandatory retirement. Recently a death inquiry was initiated by The Coroner of the Queen's Household. This means that a death in Paris, France such as that of Princess Diane can be investigated by an English Coroner's Jury.

While an archaic institution provides opportunities for archaic paths of applying power, it is a division utterly inapplicable to the United States. When we elect a bumbling peanut farmer to office, we mean it.
98Clubs
98Clubs
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May 24th, 2012 at 5:25:47 PM permalink
Actually the USA has FOUR heads of gummint.

PRESIDENT: Head of the Executive Branch
President pro-tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the House of Rep.s
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

I could also make the case for SIX,
Majority leaders of both House and Senate. As it DOES take a Majority vote to pass even a fart in either Diet.
Some people need to reimagine their thinking.

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