Look, my opinion is that the inner workings of the UFP as depicted are rather unimaginative. Frankly, the UFP government you described isn't radically different from the US system, just a little different.
I really think you're overstating the similarities. The alienation and adversarial relationship between the presidency and the Congress is a defining feature of American-style presidentialism; it sets the American system apart from any other democratic system. If the system described in the novel Articles
were to be compared to anything, it would be to the relationship between a Prime Minister and his/her Parliament in the Westminster system -- except that the Federation President is not the leader of a majority party or faction in the Council, and therefore cannot control the Council and its legislative agenda the way a PM can.
There is no system in the world where the independently-elected head of government nominates members of legislative committee members with the full legislature's ratification, and serves as the legislature's presiding officer. This creates a fundamentally different
political relationship between the legislature and the head of government.
I find it difficult to believe that many other alien societies would agree that the US system is best for them, too. But that's because most of the aliens in Trek aren't very alien, either, being mostly human in both looks and beliefs, with just some funny bits on their foreheads and some exaggerated psychological trait to distinguish them.
This is a problem you have with Star Trek
itself, then, and it seems unfair to criticize the novels for following the canon's lead (which they are required to do by their status as media tie-ins). Perhaps you would enjoy original political science fiction more? Iain M. Banks's Culture
series comes to mind.
Not to mention the realities of distance and time in an interstellar society like the UFP; even with warp drive and subspace communications, the UFP shouldn't be treated like the US in size and scope.
It isn't. Just check out A Singular Destiny
, the "spiritual sequel" to Articles
by the same author, for a depiction of intra-Federation relations where Members are markedly more powerful and autonomous (due in fact to the very practicalities of interstellar distances) than U.S. states.
Trek stories in my experience are too timid and use too many familiar elements that don't really enhance the story, but merely make it boring to me.
I'm very sorry to hear that, although I'm curious what Trek novels you've read. If you haven't read them, you might want to give certain novels -- among others, the Destiny
trilogy and S.C.E.: Wildfire
by David Mack; Crucible: Provenance of Shadows
by David R. George III; Hollow Men
and The Never-Ending Sacrifice
by Una McCormack -- a try.
Media tie-in, unfortunately, does have to work within the parameters set by the canon upon which it is based. But it is my firm opinion that the current crop of Treklit authors have been able to create some really moving, beautiful works of art within those parameters.
But I digress. Back to a discussion of Federation governance?