Recall Wisconsin’s Recall

But what about the sequels?
Well, I see Wisconsin is starting to set dates for its recall elections. The news doesn’t thrill me. In fact, if I were a Wisconsin citizen, I would have to take a barf bag to the ballot box, and vote for Governor Scott Walker and his legislative supporters to keep their jobs.

I disagree with Governor Walker on just about every issue. I think he badly overstepped last year when he led his state like it was a flaming red Mississippi, instead of a moderate purple Wisconsin.

And I think he should keep his job, until his term is up.

Don’t get me wrong. It would feel very satisfying to watch Scott Walker wheeling file boxes full of Koch Brothers’ playbooks out of Wisconsin’s beautiful Capitol Building. But taking the long view, holding recalls over policy disagreements is a very bad idea.

Look, the guy didn’t commit a felony. He didn’t even commit a misdemeanor. He disagreed with me, and lots of his fellow Wisconites. And you know what? Disagreement is allowed in democracies.

As encouraging as it has been to see a million cheese heads rise up against naked corporate cronyism, I hate the precedent here. If we start recalling politicians every time the majority has a mid-term policy disagreement with a leader, two things are likely to happen. First, our democracy will get even more unstable and chaotic than it is today. Second, our leaders will get even more cautious and incremental than they already are, for fear that policy boldness will land them in an $80 million recall election.

To my friends on the left, how would you feel about President Obama being recalled for passing the Affordable Care Act, or Governor Dayton being recalled for pushing for higher taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans? Those policies are as unpopular on the right as banning collective bargaining is on the left. But shouldn’t Obama and Dayton be able to move forward if they can assemble enough supportive votes in the duly elected legislative body? Well then, shouldn’t Governor Walker too?

Consider this: In the middle of the 2008-2009 economic meltdown, President Obama and his congressional supporters made an extremely unpopular decision to give financial assistance to automakers. At that time, 54% of Americans said this policy was “bad for the economy,” and many felt it was an alarming move toward socialism. But since Obama was allowed to serve a whole term, the policy was implemented. After seeing the policy play out, today 56% of Americans now believe it was “good for the economy.”

Fortunately, we Americans have a built-in means of expressing disapproval over policy disagreements. It’s called regular elections. It’s called making judgements based on an entire term’s body of work, rather than on snap judgements about single issues. I understand that means Badgers would have to suffer through an entire four-year term of Governor Walker and his legislative supporters. But that’s the way this representative democracy gig is supposed to work.

So enough with the constant calls for mid-term recalls, and resignations, as we have recently seen in Minnesota in the case of Representative Mary Franson. In a democracy, an honest policy disagreement in the middle of a term is cause for us to vigorously rebut, organize, and protest. But in a healthy representative democracy, an honest mid-term policy disagreement should not be a fireable offense.

– Loveland

4 thoughts on “Recall Wisconsin’s Recall

  1. Bryce Elson says:

    It would be nice if we lived in an ideal political world where a sort of Robert’s Rules of Order were ordained. Unfortunately this simply does not exist. This argument is as valid as Obama’s hopes for bipartisanship in 2009 when the other party had essentially deemed that idea DOA. I would argue instead for a parliamentary system of government where the majority party or coalition gets immediate ability to enact policy, and also immediate electoral requirements if they lose their mandate among the populace.

  2. If only WI voters were this worked up about Walker on Election Day! Let’s remember why and how he won in the first place.

    I kind of agree with you. At this rate/currently, his administration is a failure by almost every measure – and very likely a criminal enterprise (and to paraphrase Charles Pierce – he’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers) – so let the ENTIRE process play out here. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

    And…its very likely the Democrats can lose the recall election. Then what? Two damaged political parties, both retrenched even further into their ideaological holes

  3. Janey Palmer says:

    Thank you, Joe. I had not thought about it from this angle, and as much as I, too, would like to see him booted from office, perhaps waiting until a regular election would be a wiser path.

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