Scott Walker, Gray Davis: The Recall Question


Let me tell you a secret: I was not happy about the Wisconsin recall vote that attempted, unsuccessfully, to get rid of Governor Scott Walker. I’m not referring to the OUTCOME of the vote; I’m talking about having the vote in the first place. Walker was duly elected in 2010 for a four-year term, and started fulfilling his campaign pledge to make draconian cuts to the budget and state personnel. Just a year into his term, a movement to unseat him began.

It reminded of the California recall of Governor Gray Davis (pictured) in 2003, mere months after he was re-elected in 2002, tied to an electricity price crisis manipulated in part by the failed business, Enron. Davis was replaced by some actor from Austria.

It is said that the idea of recall is “pure democracy”, with the people able to right wrongs. Then why does it feel so undemocratic to me?

There has been a lot of talk about what the Wisconsin vote MEANS. It may not MEAN anything. “Folks were polled at 60 percent voting against this recall because they think leadership change ought occur via regular elections and not recalls and that a majority of those polled voted against recall while still expressing supports for unions.”

It seems to me that one should limit recall to an official who has committed a grievous crime or betrayed the office in some way. New York, which not have the recall option, managed to get rid of its governor, Eliot Spitzer, through threats of legal action after his prostitution addiction came to light.

And the propositions that are allowed on the ballot in California seem to contradict each other every other year, making it an even more difficult state to govern.

The Wisconsin situation does show, yet again, how much money controls politics more than ever before, and that is most unhealthy for democracy, as the person in this video suggests.

But what say you?

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6 thoughts on “Scott Walker, Gray Davis: The Recall Question

  1. I didn’t like the recall either. I don’t get how someone can be legally elected, do exactly what he said he was going to do, yet that’s somehow evil. As far as I know, he didn’t even break a campaign promise, much less do anything that would warrant a recall. I mean, how about Wisconsonians don’t elect him in the first place?

  2. I think recall elections are a waste of needed money, while I don’t support Govenor Walker’s policies, I think a better use of money should be found.

  3. I don’t know precisely what a recall is, but I’m guessing that it’s when a certain number of the electorate sign up to a sort of vote of no confidence. A similar sort of thing has been suggested in the UK after the MPs’ expenses scandal, but like you, I’m not totally comfortable with the idea. Yes, it would mean that a politician could be removed if they’ve been up to no good, but the same could happen if they are just doing their job as they see it. That makes them particularly vulnerable to negative media campaigning and the danger is that they become even more popularist than they already are.

  4. I agree…not only am I uncomfortable with too much electing and referendum-by-ballot-box, I also think this recall sucked up an awful lot of political resources that might have been better deployed later on. Instead, a repugnant moral midget of a Governor scores a huge mandate. This was the electoral politics equivalent of the DAs letting OJ try the glove on.

  5. I followed the Walker recall closely. The issue was that he didn’t run on some of the onerous things he eventually did immediately after taking office. The most contentious was taking away collective bargaining from public union employees…except for the Police and Fire….who held up the union line with the protestors. He refused to sit down with unions to discuss the health care expense costs and was secretly recorded saying that he was going to destroy the unions by “divide and conquer” tactics…and therefore destroy the union base of the Democratic Party. This is an ALEC approach proliferated across the country to render the Democratic Party impotent. He brags of a budget surplus when it has been proven that there is a deficit and says that he has created jobs, when there is actually has a net negative (it happens when you fire public employees). While there are those who feel that the recall went too far because Walker wasn’t accused of anything illegal or fraud, many who voted against the recall say that Walker is a scoundrel. So NOW he admits he should have done things differently and wants to sit down and talk to those he tried to step on? Really? Too much money in politics in general – and think of the jobs that could have been saved in Wisconsin with all that $$. Now he owes his soul to the Koch Brothers!

  6. I completely agree there shouldn’t be recalls unless there are criminal or ethical issues at hand. Outside of those instances, the best kind of recall is the one that takes place every two or four years.

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