The Wisconsin Recall Vote

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I haven’t discussed the Wisconsin recall vote.  It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my disdain for populism that I find recall elections to be complete shams, and this goes whether the affected officeholder(s) are Democrats or Republicans.  Had I been blogging in 2003 I would have said the same for the recall vote that ousted Gray Davis in California.  Voters know going into an election that they are voting people into office for a certain amount of time, and they have to live with the consequences of said vote.  Barring glaring corruption or malfeasance, elected officials should remain in office for the duration of their terms.  If recalls became regular features of the democratic process, elected leaders would never enact meaningful change lest they be booted out of office at the drop of a hat.  And while as a society we have grown cynical and jaded regarding politicians, there is something to be said about stability in office.  After all, we can vote the bums out every two, four, or six years depending on the office – as the voters in Indiana have done with Senator Richard Lugar, who I believe was first elected shortly after New Hampshire ratified the Constitution.

In the specific case of Wisconsin, the unions have led the effort to boot Governor Scott Walker out of office.  It is looking more and more like this will be a futile effort.  What’s more, it looks like the DNC has rebuffed requests by the Wisconsin Democrats for help with the election next  month.  The local Dems asked for $500,000, and so far the DNC has sayed, “NYET!”

Leaving aside your feelings about this recall effort, is this a smart move by the DNC?  Yes, there is this little election coming up in November, and the party’s fundraising hasn’t gone as spectacularly as hoped.  And even though the polls have been close, it is a better than 50/50 proposition that Scott Walker holds onto his seat.  It would arguably be better for the Democrats to funnel their resources where they are needed, like potentially closer than originally thought House elections in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.*

*Okay, that might be the thing of fevered fantasies, but you never know.

That being said, a Democratic victory in June would be a colossal shot in the arm for the party.  Polls indicate that President Obama has a very narrow lead over Mitt Romney in Wisconsin, and this is certainly a state that Republicans could capture in November.  I wouldn’t suggest that there is a direct correlation between the recall election in June and the general election in November, but it doesn’t hurt (usually) to have the incumbent governor campaigning for the presidential candidate.  By bypassing this election the Democrats could be hurting Obama’s chances in the state later on in the year.

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  1. Paul, you are absolutely right. Recalls solely should be reserved for the most egregious violations of the public trust. Aside from the millions of dollars in unnecessary costs, the recalls of Walker and several legislators by those unhappy with new policies and budget restraints put the so-called democratic process to shame.

    Before the election, Scott Walker made it crystal clear what he was going to do and then proceeded to keep his promises, which included balancing the budget and restoring fiscal sanity to Wisconsin by reigning in public unions’ greed. As a Wisconsinite, I and thousands of others who supported him applaud him for doing precisely what he said he would do.

    I’ve no doubt that come June 5, Walker will once again handily defeat Milwaukee Mayor, union stooge and political hack Tom Barrett handily. The latest polls show Scott leading by about 5 points, a gap that will grow as Barrett’s liabilities are once again revealed despite millions in laundered union dues flowing into Democrat coffers.

  2. It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my disdain for populism that I find recall elections to be complete shams

    Don’t you mean ‘inadvisable’? ‘Sham’ suggests a pantomime along the lines of elections to the New York State Legislature (an exercise I certainly hope is rare elsewhere).

  3. yes they should be rare, and I think Walker is great
    ..At least when the other side is trying to do a recall I don’t like…I think that way.
    But when my side (the right side, the good guys) wants to recall ( or impeach) maybe we should look at it. : )

  4. I agree, recalls should not be part of the process, unless correcuption is proven. Gray Davis’ recall was expensive and Arnie was no better. In fact, Arnie lied during his run for the short term election. He said he was NOT a politician and NOT going to run for the second term. He did and proved during his second term how much he was a politician; ineffective, a bigot and a lying cheat to his family…I guess there’s cause for all the cynicism and jadedness.

  5. I agree. How many elections have happened in which the candidate that won went against every ounce of my belief’s. We would be in recall mode non stop. The whole thing here in Wi is so wrong and I think it borders on the diabolical. I know it does. Gov Walker has only done what he said he would do and this group of in house and out house rabble rousers has cost our state millions of dollars in wasted time and energy. I pray that Gov Walker wins and I hope this bunch of malcontents goes home and does whatever they do when they are not agitating the heck out of everyone they come in contact with. If we Catholics or pro-lifers had done the types of things these people have done to get their way we would be sitting in jail, or under the litigation from RICO.

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