Roslin’s Legitimacy: What do you think?

We’ve talked about this numerous times in past podcasts, and a few listeners and readers have commented about it again recently: Laura Roslin has never actually been elected president.

She entered the presidency via the mass death of those ahead of her in the chain, and her second stint came about via a “back room deal” with then-V.P.-turned-President-maybe Tom Zarek. Some readers have recently brought up the possibility that Zarek never actually took the office of President as Baltar wasn’t dead. (Personally, I suspect that there are any number of possible ways to explain away this trap legally, but the possibility does exist.)

I thought it might be fun to open a thread (like the one on Baltar’s trial below) for everyone to jump in and discuss this. While I believe that Roslin can likely make a reasonable claim to her office, it still bothers me — quite a bit, actually — that the natural president of hte colonies has never been elected.

What do you think?

5 Responses to "Roslin’s Legitimacy: What do you think?"
  1. Joe says:

    Extreme times call for extreme measures. Adama and Roslin weren’t going to put the fleet in danger again after just rescuing them from New Caprica. Tom Zarek would have been dangerous as President and they prevented that. None of the colonists are protesting that she’s President as far as we know.
    It’s definitely interesting to note that she’s never been elected, but before Racetrack found New Caprica, she was going to win anyway.

  2. Dan, The Lord of Kobol says:

    Actually, I have to agree Chuck.

    Roslin’s never been elected, and although she’s always acquired the office of President [i]legally[/i], she’s never acquired it [i]democratically[/i]. In a Fleet where power’s sharply divided between unelected military leaders on one side, and the supposedly democratic voice and leadership of the people on the other, it’s absolutely [i]critical[/i] that Roslin display the highest commitment to integrity in her post.

    And to be blunt, when it comes to the legitimacy of her Presidency, I’d say that her terms in office haven’t been very legitimate at all. I mean, think of this: Her current term was brokered in a [i]private meeting with the then-President[/i], Tom Zarek – without the approval, or even the knowledge, of the general public. How is that democratic?

    Even her first term was more legitimate than her second! At least she ascended to the Presidency as the result of a legal mechanism is that case! I think it’d be pretty funny if after her current term ends, she calls a press conference and announces the following…

    Roslin: “Hello, I’ve called this conference to inform the Fleet of an important decision of mine… I have decided not the seek re-election for a third term in office.”

    The Press begins asking questions like “Why now?” “What changed your mind?” and the like.

    Roslin, an evil grin spreading across her face: “I have decided not to seek a third term because–” Tory appears from behind the curtain in the press room with a golden crown in her hands. She slowly puts the crown on Roslin’s head. “–Because I, Laura Roslin, as of this moment, declare myself Eternal Queen and Master of the Twelve Colonies, now and forever!” Roslin cackles with dictatorial glee.

    Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit. But I’m just illustrating my point. How can you call a government democratic when most of the action goes on behind closed doors? Like it or not, the only President [i]elected in his own right[/i] was Baltar – making him, in my mind, the most legitimate President the Fleet has yet seen.

    I will say this, though. If the Civilian branch wants to survive and flourish, it’s going to have to clean itself up in more ways than just the democratic-deficit. But that’s another story.

    And that’s my two cubits…

  3. Joe says:

    I would just like to point out that Roslin is “President” of 41,401 people. There are hundreds of suburban towns with greater populations than that. Most of them don’t even have a mayoral government! To expect the fleet to live ordinary lives as a democratic government when they are being attacked by cylons every week or so is a bit silly. Life in the fleet is tough! Who has time to worry about how democratic their government is? Don’t forget, everyone is still eating algae. Not to mention that everyone lives in pressurized vessels floating through space. Crazy times!

  4. eric-michael says:

    oh yeah it’s marshal law … the way it should be with this fleet of idiots. the more I see of this rtf, the more I hope they never reach earth.

  5. First Term as President: Legal by way of a government chain of command. Makes sense, we use it here in the States, and many other democratic nations around the world, seems to work.

    Second Term: Roslin: ” hey Zarek, The Admiral and I were talking and we really don’t see you as President, you are more middle management, so I think VP is the way to go for you”
    Adama gives a stern look.
    Zarek: “Works for me, just let me know when I am needed to show up for a minutes every week or so to make you aware of what the viewers are already thinking.”

    She was never elected by the people, but so far no one has really challenged her with any success. And as we have seen, Adama can shut down the civilian government at anytime. Then again, Lee would mutiny, Helo would kill Roslin so there would be no more leadership issues between Adama and Roslin (and get away with it). So with Roslin dead and Zarek off hiding someplace, they would have to get the last elected President out of his cell to take charge.

    Enough already, let’s get to Earth already!

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