Sac Bee Editorial board on Davis recall
June 23, 2003 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Recalls for Dummies When, back on the 12th, scarabic posted a FPP on the Gray Davis recall, as a right coaster I couldn't work up any enthusiasm to follow the eight different links. It just wasn't my dance. But the Sacramento Bee took the transcript of their editorial board's internal discussion of the issue, expanded and cleaned it up, then posted it on-line. One stop shopping, with the minimum of tendentiousness allowable by law. Now I've got a much better understanding of what's at stake, including why it could be a blessing in disguise for the Democrats.
posted by mojohand (11 comments total)
actually it was aacheson
posted by scarabic at 9:10 AM on June 23, 2003

Whoops. Yet more proof, if any were needed, that I can't multi-task worth ... Apologies to you both.
posted by mojohand at 9:13 AM on June 23, 2003

this about sums it up:

posted by H. Roark at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2003

Let me get this straight.

Voters voted this guy in, and then decided they don't like the job he's doing, and now are trying to change their minds? Or, more to the point, enough people have changed their minds that the losers are now trying to change the outcome?

This is like a referendum on a sitting executive? Why bother having voting schedules, then??

This seems like a bad idea to me, but I'm a New Yorker, not a Californian.
posted by swerdloff at 9:22 AM on June 23, 2003

Amen to that, swerdloff. If this goes through, I don't think there's going to be any end to the partisan bullshit this is going to engender.

On the other hand, can we recall Bush? How about his appointments?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:30 AM on June 23, 2003

This is like a referendum on a sitting executive? Why bother having voting schedules, then??

From the article:
In people's minds the recall has a relatively high threshold. That is to say, you have to really seriously be unhappy with somebody not to wait the couple years for the next election. And so the fact that it's gone this far is partly indicative of what we saw in the [Public Policy Institute of California] poll today, which is the very, very low rating that the governor has and the high level of frustration that you have in the electorate.

He has prevailed over two of the major catastrophes of the postwar period, the electricity deregulation crisis and now a $36 billion deficit that may last over a couple of years. So I think part of it has to do with the nature of discontent.

But the second factor is the rise of the permanent campaign... the extension of electoral politics into governance and governance into electoral politics and you don't give up.
posted by namespan at 9:42 AM on June 23, 2003

Well, as the SacBee discussion makes clear, the amount of legal scholarship on the California recall law is very modest. But the purpose seems to be to keep your elected representatives in line between elections, and the criteria for recall seems to be be simply that you don't like the job your guy's doing (favorite example: the senator from a SF red-light district who was recalled for voting against prostitution.)
posted by mojohand at 10:07 AM on June 23, 2003

mojohand: It's a great post, too. It leaves me wishing *all* editorial boards printed transcripts of discussions like this -- this is so much more informative and intelligent than most of the stuff I see in newsprint. Why isn't more journalism like this?
posted by namespan at 10:54 AM on June 23, 2003

Voters voted this guy in, and then decided they don't like the job he's doing, and now are trying to change their minds?

California functions more as a direct democracy than as a representative republic.

Elected representatives are there for show and to carry on the daily business of state. When interest groups get specific ideas for laws they want passed, instead of bothering with lobbying representatives, their money is better spent campaigning for a referendum on the matter that the people will vote on, directly.

The recall of Gray Davis is just a final reminder of "how things work around here" for any California politicians who thought otherwise.
posted by deanc at 10:54 AM on June 23, 2003

This is like a referendum on a sitting executive? Why bother having voting schedules, then??

I don't know? Why should we bother?

This grey guy seems like a jackass. Issa won't win an election. It's somewhat unlikely that any democrats will run against gray anyway so Californians might get stuck with 'em.

It seems like a good idea to me, it keeps politicians honest. If a politico goes back on his promises, they can throw his ass out.

Then again, it hasn't worked out all that well for Isreal..
posted by delmoi at 7:15 PM on June 23, 2003

Part of the issue is that a lot of voters feel that Davis misled them over the nature of the state's finances in last year's election. As soon as he was elected it was revealed that we had a 36bn deficit. The level of fiscal mismanagement is awesome. As a result, taxes are going through the roof. Case in point, on Friday, Davis authorized tripling the already expensive annual car registration fee. The guy is toast.

Also, Davis has been a fierce campaigner in the past. The strategy is usually to beat up his opponent until he looks like the lesser of two evils. In the last election he practically apologized for his first term and then laid into the stupendously incompetent Bill Simon. But that won't work in the recall. Voters will vote on two issues. One, should Davis be recalled? Two, who should replace him, provided that question one gets over fifty percent of the vote. Whoever gets the most votes in q2 wins. For Davis, it's like fighting zombies. If he takes out one candidate, another candidate will take his place, still leaving Davis vunerable.

It's going to be an interesting summer and fall.
posted by prodigal at 7:28 PM on June 23, 2003

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