Originally Posted by stephen
True and with the US's system of giving the power of the executive to the president, it's certainly necessary, far moreso than in a westminster style system where the executive is tied so closely with the legislative and there are no term limits.
It's harder to do something like that due to the separation of powers. Many times, the party in power and the executive are completely different politically (as in now) and while the president has a great deal of power when it comes to conducting war and certain other areas, his ability to do anything domestically without congress is severely limited. Unlike the parliamentary system where the PM and the legislature are in many ways the same (eg one wave election due to mass hysteria could completely change the landscape politically). The downside is of course that while it is probably harder for a tyrannical government to take hold in the US, the separation of powers also means that it is frequently impossible for the elected officials to implement the policies that their constituents want (as is going on right now - republican congress can't get what they want and the democratic senate and president can't get what they want and you have a standstill). So it's simply a matter of what you value most when designing a government.
In the US you probably needs six years (3 consecutive elections) to truly transform the political landscape (senate = 6 year term, house is two and the president is four). Thats on purpose - public sentiment can change a lot in six years and you don't want emotions or some short term panic just dictating all policy. I shudder to think what would have happened if we had a parliamentary system and elections were right after 9/11.
Now is that worth all the political standstills where nothing can get done for long periods of time, or legislation which has been watered down so mich that neither side is actually happy with it? Honestly I'm not sure if I'd design a system more like the US or a parliamentary system if I could do it from scratch but I do like the fact that the branches of government are clearly separated.