With the news that yesterday's recall election in Wisconsin resulted in a total failure to remove Governor Scott Walker from office, there has been much beating of chests and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. I didn't follow the recall campaign too closely, but as far as I could tell the basis for the recall was (a) Governor tries to defy the all-powerful unions, and (b) UNIONS SMASH!
Basically, my bias is usually against the monstrosity that modern organized labor has become, but that's an issue for another day--the real problem with this recall as I see it is that the Governor hasn't been accused of anything more than passing policies that are extremely unpopular among the folks that want him out. In that sense, it is no different from the ridiculous (yet successful) California recall of Governor Gray Davis in 2003. In other words, political opponents simply wanting a mulligan for an election that didn't go their way a few years earlier.
To the extent that a state should have a way to "recall" their elected officials, it really should only be limited to cases where the official has committed some crime or abuse of power or other act so egregious that it would offend justice and harm the state to keep them in office. (Or if they're in a coma or something, and the state constitution doesn't otherwise allow their replacement) Otherwise, what sort of precedent does this set? Every time you can get enough petition signatures, force another recall election to shorten a Governor's term?
So fortunately the message Wisconsin's voters sent to the recallers was this--thanks for wasting everyone's time, but next time save the recall for something major. You'll get your next crack at Walker in two years. That's how elections work.
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