The lesson of California
Kevin Binversie brought an editorial by the Los Angeles Times to our attention. The editorial advises Wisconsin Democrats to drop their plans for recalling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican members of the state senate.
Recall drives like California’s, and the one Wisconsin Democrats plan to start circulating petitions for on Nov. 15, render meaningless the notion that voters elect governors to serve a set term. Recalls make it nearly impossible for state leaders to get anything done because they go into campaign mode rather than legislating mode. They worsen partisanship and, Davis’ recall notwithstanding, they are usually a waste of time and money (an effort by Wisconsin Democrats to end the Republican majority in the state Senate via recall has already failed, with four of six GOP incumbents keeping their seats). And populist outrage doesn’t necessarily lead to positive reform. Schwarzenegger may not have been a worse governor than Davis, but he was hardly a better one, with his tenure marked by political paralysis and continual budget deficits stemming from the loss of $4 billion in annual car-tax revenue.
Elections have consequences, and sometimes your side loses. Recalls are a useful tool when a politician commits misconduct, but that’s not the case in Wisconsin. Democrats should accept that and move on.