Simple ?'s for Pubbies re California/US recall legitimacy, etc.

I would like two questions answered in a clear, straightforward manner, if it is possible:

  1. Do you really believe that the recall was in any way legitimate * from the very beginning, * given that the movement began mere weeks after California re-elected Gray Davis? If so, can you explain what Davis did, or could have done, between November and January that rises to the level where the only legitimate solution was to recall him?

(Please do not resort to talking about anything having to do with petitions or votes. The “Baaaaaah” across my great state is deafening, I don’t need that pointed out to me.)
2) If your argument has anything whatsoever to do with the economy in California, can you explain:
a) What Davis did/didn’t do, again, between Nov and Jan, to the economy of California, that had no other remedy than the most extreme provided for gross misconduct and
b) Why California’s economic woes are so grossly unforgiveable that we have to can the Gov we just elected, since he alone must be responsible, but the greater economic woes of the nation have absolutely nothing to do with the decisions and policies of the Bush administraton?

I eagerly look forward to the clarity on these matters that someone must be able to provide.

Not claiming to be an expert, but I’ll chime in.

  1. Any recall is “legitimate”, like it or not - it’s just as democratic as an election. The idea that the procedure that calls for elections is legitimate but the procedure that calls for recalls is somehow illegitimate is puzzling to me.

  2. Davis was extremely unpopular to begin with, even before and during the election. He managed to win a surprisingly close election by knocking his strongest potential rival out in the opposing primary, and winning over a weaker opponent who lost a crucial court decision (which found his company guilty of some sort of scheme) during the election campaign. So Davis didn’t have to fall that far before he hit bottom.

I have not followed the matter that closely, but my understanding is that Davis played the “election year budget game”, in which gimmickry is used to pretend the budget is in better shape than it really is for the present year and all the sacrifice is pushed over until after the election. This is common all over. Frequently the voters are greatly resentful when they wake up after the election, but haha, it’s too late. Unfortunately for Davis, what with the recall procedure in place in CA, the voters got to have the last laugh.

I don’t know about all over the country, but here in the east coast, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NJ Governor McGreavey have hit the 20s in approval ratings. But there is no recall procedure in place here, so both can weather it out.

So I think it is misleading to talk about the economy (though this affects all politicians - and more than it should - including Bush) but how he reacted to it in terms of budget games, taxes etc.

Also, I think you err in talking about how the movement began “mere weeks after California re-elected Gray Davis”. Even as we speak people are beginning movements to do all sorts of things that are not aligned with current sentiment. The vast majority of these movements will go nowhere for this very reason. The ones that will succeed are those for which public sentiment will come around. So the proper date for purposes of this OP is the time that the movement began to attract widespread support, not the time that some obscure political operatives began planning it.

This is absolutely correct. Any procedure is “legitimate” because the applicable laws say they are. Theoretically in a democracy this is an expression of the will of the people via their elected representatives who passed this law (or via a proposition put through by the voters).

The real question is if a recall procedure makes any sense in the first place. A person is elected and like it or not the state is stuck with him/her for the duration of the term no matter how lousy they may be. That is what the election is for in the first place! Presumably methods exist to remove a politician for illegal or inappropriate behavior but that is not the same as a recall.

California needs to seriously revisit its procedures for having a recall and either toss the whole idea altogether or make it a LOT harder to be done if Californians decide it should stay. What happened amounts to a hijack of the election process. Don’t like it? Call a “Do Over!”

FTR I do not like Gray Davis and think he was a shitty governor and a political hack but he was elected and you should have had to live with him (I ordinarily don’t follow other state’s governors but this whole process has caused me to read up on the guy).

I would absolutely LOVE it if someone got a recall petition going to recall Governor Elect Schwarzenegger next January. I would love it not because I think it is the right thing to do but it would show in stark relief what a travesty this whole thing is and its potential for abuse.

I like the idea (of recalls in general). The idea is that you can weather being unpopular, but not being too unpopular. Fact is that Davis had approval ratings in the 20s but managed to get 45% support in the recall. So it’s not as if every unpopular politician is going to get recalled - Davis is really really unpopular, and he almost made it. The idea of politicians having recalls hanging over their heads if they really really tick off the people is a good one, IMHO.

But I think the particular set-up that they had in CA can be improved upon. In particular, the idea that the recall occurs simultaneously with a multi-candidate plurality replacement ballot, in which the incumbent cannot participate, is a bad one. I think having the recall procedure merely trigger another general election might be a better idea. Or perhaps even letting the “replacement” side of the ballot serve as a sort of primary, in which the winner faces the incumbent in the next round.

This has got to be one of the dumbest things you have ever posted.

You want me to explain how Davis got booted apart from the fact that this was the clearly expressed will of the people of California?

Okay, then I guess I would have to concede that there is no legitimacy to the recall. Except for the fact that every aspect of it was entirely in accord with the laws of California, and the other guy got a million more votes than he did.

I thought you were the one ranting and raving that Gore should be President because he got more of the popular vote than Bush. Schwarzenegger had more than twice as wide a margin, and in only a state-wide election.

Do you whine like this every time your guy loses?


Shodan- Davis got 600,000 more votes than Arnold. The “…clearly expressed will of the people…” my ass.

I respectfully disagree. Joe Couch Potato should have gotten off his ass and voted in the election. Having Joe Couch Potato have a petition stuck under his nose to sign as he’s leaving the mini-mart with his daily case of beer is not the same thing. What is the point of an election if you can have a “Do-Over” anytime you want?

*“Between [Texas redistricting] - between trying to impeach Bill Clinton, between Florida 2000 and between the recall in California I’m beginning to think that Republicans will do anything to win an election, except get the most votes.”

“If it’s a recall, then only people who voted the first time should get to vote this time.”

–Bill Maher: Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)*

It is wrong to claim that every vote for the recall was a vote for Davis. This is clearly incorrect, since I’ve heard any number of people saying that although they didn’t like Davis they were voting against the recall anyway. If Davis had been allowed on the second line of the ballot, he wouldn’t have gotten even close to the number of votes against the recall.

Obviously, the California recall procedure is kind of odd. Perhaps instead of trying to recall Arnold, one might work to change the law? If you try to recall Arnold, aren’t you then endorsing the very recall procedure you claim to hate? Yes, you are. But somehow, I don’t really expect much of a movement to amend California’s constitution to change the recall procedure. A bunch of people whining about for a few more weeks, then oblivion.

And why is that? Because recalls hardly ever suceed, and this one only suceeded because of Gray Davis’s startling unpopularity. If the next California governor is that unpopular, then he might face a recall. But the likelihood is that the next governor won’t reach Gray Davis’s negative levels.

Oh, and I really can’t understand how the OP can discount the petitions and voting. The petitions and the elections are what made the recall legitimate. Politicians serve at the pleasure of the electorate. Sometimes they have to make unpopular choices. But if they make too many unpopular choices, what exactly is illegetimate about having to face the electorate?

Many states have recall provisions. Why was this the first successful recall since the 30s? Because Davis was so unpopular.

And as for Bush, there is no recall provision in the US constitution. However, the president CAN be removed through the process of impeachment. I don’t know if you remember, but we had some experience with this a few years ago. The Democrats are free to start an impeachment process for Bush. However, I doubt they would be successful, and it would almost certainly be as huge a disaster for them as the Clinton impeachment was for the Republicans.

Uh, Shobaby… “the people” didn’t call for Davis’ recall, Darrell Issa did. And you know it.

But of course, you are obviously of the opinion that when YOUR guy loses, it must be time for a do-over til you get what you want.

New Jersey has a recall procedure.

Dr Deth, how do you figure that Gray Davis got 600,000 more votes than Arnold?

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Davis’ lukewarm approval + plus the budget deficit exploding post-election + the timing of the recall = a perfect storm.

All states are hit hard by the recession, but Davis did an inordinate amount of under-carpet-sweeping last year, and it blew up in his face at the absolute worst time.

This is what we call “horseshit”.

Davis lost the recall by 55% to 45%. So the clearly expressed will of the people is to pitch Davis out.


Schwarzenegger got more than a million votes more than the other loser, Bustamante.

Stoiddepoo, you obviously don’t know what you are talking about - work on that before you try to tell other people what they know.

Unless you can come up with some reason that 55% does not represent the will of the people. That’s what the whole recall was about, and a substantial majority of California voters wanted Davis out.

Or are you unfamiliar with the concept of “democracy”?

A few months back, I heard some nonsense from some of our more hysterical Dopers that Bush was going to cancel elections in 2004.

So far, the only ones I have heard calling for the cancelling of elections are liberals, and only in California. So far.

Got your excuses for 2004 ready yet?

I agree that a recall of Arnie is not really useful except in-as-much as it might show the whole process to be seriously flawed and maybe then allowing for some reform.

Given that I am not a resident of California I have zero say in how they handle their politics and can do no more than express my opinion of it.

Again I will state that I think Davis is a lousy governor but in fairness a lot of what he was being blamed for was not his fault or in any way under his control.

Any idea on how many recalls of governors was even attempted in the last 70 years? I honestly don’t know. Are you maintaining that Gray Davis was unique in that time period for having low approval ratings? That no other governor was recalled (or attempted to be recalled) in that time period because they all enjoyed better approval ratings?

How was the impeachment a disaster for the Republicans exactly? Because they didn’t succeed? They certainly kept Clinton on the defensive for years and hamstrung his ability to lead which most people viewed as Clinton looking bad. Post Clinton we have seen Republicans take control of Congress (BOTH houses) and the Executive Branch. Doesn’t look like they were too damaged to me.

and for my money Bush is MUCH more deserving of impeachment hearings than Clinton even remotely was. Lying about a blow job versus lying to Congress and the American people to take the country to war. Gee…lemmee think about which is worse :rolleyes:.

That does seem a bit off.

No on recall (ie, vote for Davis): 3,540,609
Arnold: 3,694,474

So the nightmare scenario, where Davis gets 49% of the vote and a challenger wins with 20%, did not come to pass–thank god. Looks like Arnold won this, fair & square (and I voted no on the recall, btw.)

Obviously, the impeachment was a net negative for the Republicans, beyond the fact that they didn’t suceed. The majority of Americans felt that impeachment was not warranted, and was a straightforward partisan political maneuver. If they had succeeded, the Republicans would have been even worse off.

And I would wager that virtually every elected official in a polity where recall is provided for has faced a recall campaign. Usually this is one guy with a fax machine who lives in his parent’s basement. I don’t know how many recall petitions made it on the ballot only to be defeated, but recall campaigns are extremely common. Even unpopular officials usually have nothing to worry about. The California recall suceeded because Davis wasn’t merely unpopular, he was massively unpopular, the state economy was in a shambles, and the petition drive got an unusual amount of funding. But a purely partisan recall drive is pretty much sure to fail, since the voters presumably elected the incumbent in the first place, and it would take more votes than that to unseat him.

Conflict: about 2,711,000 voters voted to keep Davis IN. Arnold got only about 2,080,000 total votes. It is true that more voters voted to oust Davis than keep him in. But still- Davis had “more votes” than Arnold. This is due to the weird “two part” recall procedure.

No matter how Shodan slings the numbers around - about 600,000 more Californian voters wanted to keep Davis in that wanted Arnold as Gov.

The Economy is still in the pits, and Arnie can’t save the budget. Not that that’s his fault- no one (short of writing a huge check) can do so.

Gov Davis was never very popular, it is just that the GOP kept running “slightly to the right of Goldwater” candidates, and they can’t win in CA. Not that Arnie might not have won in a legit face-to-face election “Davis vs Arnold”- it would be close. It is just that Arnold would never have won the GOP primary in the 1st place, thus there never would have been a “Davis vs Arnold” election.

jsc 1953. Well, it seems that Yahoo news has more up to date figure than my morning paper did (the San Jose Mercury news). The numbers I quoted were correct as of that printing.

Oh well. :smiley:

This claim makes not a bit of sense, DrDeth.

(My source for numbers: CNN at 3:36 p.m. Pacific time on 10/8)

4,358,090 people - 55% of those who bothered to vote - chose to remove Davis from office.

In the second, unrelated election to decide a replacement, the largest votegetter (Schwarzenegger), got 3,694,474 votes. 3,694,474 < 4,358,090, but so what? I fail to see how this somehow makes less legitimate the vote to kick Davis out.

Bits of sunshine in this.

Firstly, Ahrnie ain’t that bad. Perhaps he might represent a move on the part of the Tightie Righties to disavow the influence of the Troglodyte Right. Ahrnie’s positions on social matters are considerably at variance with such knuckle-walkers as Tom DeLay and the loathesome Rev. Phelps.

Secondly, it’s his baby now. Justly or not, the people of California expect a miracle. Unless waste, fraud, and mismanagement in favor of “special interests” constitute the bulk of CA’s budget problems, Ahrnie might as well ride his broom as use it. No doubt press releases blaming the intransigence of Democrat legislators are already written, only awaiting the insertion of dates.