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Principled conservative dislike of recall.(35 posts)

Principled conservative dislike of recall.OldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 5:48 AM
It's always seemed to me that, on principle, conservatives should oppose recall initiatives. (But then again, these days, there's not much 'conservative' about most conservatives).

Interesting to read this by George Will, which is about where I'd expect a 'real' conservative to be on the issue:

http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/national/will/story/7560846p-8502169c.html
Gadzooks!filtersweep
Oct 10, 2003 5:59 AM
I'm agreeing with Mr. Will?!

Thank god it is a cloudless day!
he glosses over the real issueDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 6:17 AM
The real issue in this recall was not conservative vs. liberal politics, Arnold, recalls in general, etc., it was ONLY Gray Davis. He has pissed off so many Californians that they would have replaced him with anyone. Arnold was gravy. They realized that they got bamboozled in the last election with smear tactics and hiding the fiscal mess by Davis. They said, "fool me once...", admitted they got fooled twice, and took responsibility for their mistake, and fired Davis. That's really about it.

I didn't really catch a whole lot of principled opposition from Will. It was more apparent to me that he really didn't understand what was going on here.

Doug
i think he understands it pretty wellrufus
Oct 10, 2003 6:44 AM
how can it be a "populist" revolt when the whole thing was created and financed by one man, darrel issa? he throws enough money around, and collects enough signatures to get the recall issue thrown on the ballot. then once the news media gets ahold of what's going on, the story just skyrockets.

it's not as if thousands of people angered by their auto tax increase bonded together, canvassed door to door until they got the recall put on the ballot. this was entirely a political coup engineered and financed by a disgruntled republican opponent. it simply shows once again that when it comes to politics, the majority of the public are just sheep, willing to go where the big money points them.
nopeDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 6:57 AM
This is ignoring the fact that the "big money" has always been with Davis. This is ignoring the fact that people here *hate* Davis, at least as much as people can hate a politician (Nixon was probably better liked). This is ignoring the fact that companies and jobs are fleeing California (did you read the Chris King article?) because of high taxes, worker's compensation, and regulation nightmare. This is ignoring the fact that people are fed up with high taxes to pay for Gray Davis' giveaways to ingratiate himself with special interests.

Sure, it required someone to step up and get the ball rolling. Once done, though, that ball was out of his control and the people took over. The media did not back this thing; over all, they overwhelming mocked and opposed it.

Trying to portray this event at a mere coup by one rich man is to be absolutely out of touch with the people here.

Doug
Uh, I think the 'principled conservative' objection toOldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 7:12 AM
the recall is its overabundance of DIRECT democracy leading to political chaos. A conservative would not want this sort of 'churning,' driven my runaway emotions (and, yes, ideologically driven moneymen).

Doug, I CONCEDE Davis was an ass, people HATED him etc etc. I GET it. But electoral politics is like the law. Sometimes a defendant you absolutely hate and KNOW is guilty gets off. You don't just say, 'Hell, forget the verdict, let's execute the bastard anyway.'

To have a fair,orderly and predictable system of juris prudence, you just have to live with some screw ups. Same with elections. And with elections, you get a chance to correct the problem in four years or less.

I'm sure everyone's happy to be rid of Davis, and feel that good end justifies the means used to get rid of him. But the fact is, VIEWED DISPASSIONATELY AS A POLICY, recall is recipie for banana republic.
that's the alarmist viewmohair_chair
Oct 10, 2003 7:23 AM
That's what the press wanted you to think. They went on and on about how there were 135 candidates and people wouldn't be able to figure it out and someone could get in with 12% of the vote and the replacement could get fewer votes than Davis did and so on and so on....

Guess what? The press was wrong.

Very obviously wrong.

Not even close.

Look at the numbers. 70% voter turnout. 50% voted for one candidate, a guy whose own party never would have put him on the ballot. Those numbers aren't small, and you can't deny what they mean. I'm all for direct democracy. I'd love to see 135 candidates every time rather than handpicked losers from the major parties. I'm tired of being treated like an idiot who votes as a bloc. I don't, which in a sense means I do. I vote as part of the "I'm not stupid" bloc, and we are taking back the state.
I too...would like to seeClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 7:36 AM
the demise of the parties....more people on the ballot, let us decide, not a small group of power brokers....

a side story about my adopted hometown of Huntsville AL. A few years back a story broke in the press about a group called "The Committee of 100" It was and still is a group of the power brokers here in town that in the past had hand picked candidates and seen that they got the majority of the campaign financing. But, the fact of their existance had always been kept from the public. Well, two elections ago they hand picked their candidate for Mayor. He was probably the most qualified for the job in reality, but , when the local paper for some reason started running articles on The Committee of 100 there was a huge backlash. The "common" person was p*ssed that we in reality had an unelected grour running the town. So, we elected another candidate for mayor, who was not the best one, and sent their candidate packing. Now sadly, that mayor, is in the back pocket of the Committee of 100.

I would venture to guess we are not unique in this aspect. That many cities have a small secret select group of people running their cities that are unelected..and it is wrong.
Quick refresher about the press, Doug, and a related question.Cory
Oct 10, 2003 7:44 AM
Every story I read about the recall--and I read all the major California dailies nearly every day--was based on interviews with political experts (maybe that should be in quotes now: "so-called 'experts'") and reported what they said. It's bogus--but typical of conservatives--to blame "the press" for accurately reporting a remark by Bruce Cain or somebody. We're merely the conduits.
But the question: What, exactly, is the basis of the huge conservative objection to drivers licenses for illegal immigrants? Seems to me you'd want to have those people working and paying taxes, and it's nearly impossible to get a job without a license. Plus you have at least some assurance that they actually know how to operate the cars they're going to operate anyway, out of necessity. And don't forget: Licensing gives all the government-out-of-our-lives conservatives an easy way for the new government agencies they've created to keep track of people they don't like. Seems like a natural....
2 issuesDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 8:21 AM
Cory, on the press issue. You should know as well as anyone that information can be distorted, intentionally or not, by what stories are run, location in the paper or program, what is emphasized, how it is portrayed, and on and on. Is the headline "Bush Wins Election" or "Gore Wins Popular Vote, Courts to Decide Outcome"? Both are describing the same event. The persons chosen to quote, the quotes chosen of those persons, all have a huge impact on the message of the article or story. People's opinions are influenced by the press.

Now, I'm not necessarily alleging that the press is evil or even that all press is a certain way; there are far too many news sources and people involved in America for everything to be the same. However, it is either naive or disingenuous to claim that the press is a mere "conduit" of information, having no influence upon the message portrayed. News stories are not the came as the box scores on the sports page (which itself is not devoid of bias -- how often do you see bicycle results?).

On the illegal alien driver's license issue, I can't say I'm all that informed. However, here's my take:

1. If someone is here "illegally", then they should not be permitted to stay for any reason. "Illegal" has a meaning; if you don't like the immigration law, then change it. "Illegals" should receive no benefits from being here.

2. People with driver's licenses could use them as ID to register to vote. If they are here illegally, that would be bad. Half of Mexico could be voting in California elections. I suppose the license could say right on it "Illegal Alien" status, but I doubt that would happen.

3. The whole concept of granting rights to people would are not entitled to them, by existing law, is a concern. You, yourself, said in the speeding ticket thread that if he broke the law, he should fess up and pay. Why does the same concept not apply to illegal aliens? If they broke the law, entering or remaining in the country illegally, why should they not fess up and leave -- rather than not fessing up and obtain further privileges from being here? That appears to be inconsistent.

Doug
hear, hearStarliner
Oct 10, 2003 9:03 AM
You're entirely right- I was leaning towards Old Ed's reasoning until the day before the election when I got so fed up with media and political manipulation. So, I turned; making my "statement" vote which, as you say, said stop messing around and treating me like an unsophisticated idiot.

I turned, despite a call I got from Barbara Boxer who tried to convince me not to. I asked her if she was wearing any underwear, but she just kept on talking away, so I hung up on her.

There's a fresh feeling of liberation in the air here in CA now, as the people have felt their power. Perhaps a democracy needs to be shaken up and yanked back down to the roots in order to keep it from stagnating and getting out of touch. You people in the rest of the country ought to thank us for what we've done, because this happened at a time when we all need to watch out that we don't lose what we've spent 200+ years hanging onto.
Direct initiatives lead to huge political messes...PdxMark
Oct 10, 2003 10:05 AM
Our government and legal system are complex, intertwined amalgams of services, information, and procedures. The intiative process gives voters the impression that they can fix "the system," but invariably what is created is a bolt-out-of-the blue, out of context turd dropped into the complex punch bowl of governmental and political operations.

Voter-implemented initiatives re-direct a portion of government (or law) without anyone at all having responsibility (or even the hope) to make the system as a whole work.

An example here was property tax limitations imposed during the early 90s. Property taxes paid 70% of local school costs, giving communities local control of their schools. Proponents said that schools didn't need the money, but of course they did. Initially, schools cut some programs and the state made up the difference by distributing general fund money that was relatively plentiful through the go-go 90's. The state noww covers 70% of local school costs. The 90's ended, and with it the state "surplus," causing schools to close early and an overall collapse in the state budget.

The school funding collapse that the original property tax limitation created was postponed for a decade because of the booming 90s and a willingness by many different governmental entities to work to prevent the train wreck the voters approved. Now, with a calmer economy, there is simply not enough revenue to keep schools open for 180 days, keep state police on the roads, provide minimal health care for the poor, maintain existing roads.

Voters here want two mutually exclusive things... basic good quality state services and low taxes. But like children who don't know that family money is finite, voters irresponsibly want their cake without paying for it.
in other words, people are stupid???DougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 10:25 AM
That is a good example of my point. Democrats/Liberals don't trust people. In Oregon, as did California, people said that property taxes are too high. Rather than legislators "getting it," they simply try to do an end-around.

The problem is that legislators don't listen to the people who elected them or the people voting for initiatives. Maybe they do *not* want the level of services that government thinks is necessary? Maybe they don't want to pay for 15 levels of education administration. Maybe they don't want to pay for new "politically correct" text books year after year. Maybe they don't want their mayor making $150,000 a year.

Thanks for illustrating my point.

Doug
Um, well, no. But the purpose ofOldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 10:30 AM
representative government is what, exactly? Why don't we just govern through referendum on every question? We have the technology to do it. No Congress, no Legislatures ... The governor wants a bill passed, and he makes his case on TV, and we all push a button.

What, Doug, would be wrong with that? That would be a real PEOPLE's democracy, wouldn't it?
you've taken it to the extremeDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 10:56 AM
In most cases, illustrating by extreme (reductio...) isn't helpful. No, I don't think it would be good to have a referendum or initiative for every issue (although personally, I'd do it). People don't have time to become familiar with every issue. However, every now and then the people taking control when the legislature is unresponsive isn't a bad thing.

Neither would a recall election for every elected official. People oppose this recall partially on the grounds of "oh my lord, now every election will be undone with a recall." That isn't the case, though. Recalls are rare, and will remain so.

Out of all the laws passed every year, how many are initiative or referendum? Maybe 1 in 1,000? The idea behind it is not to govern directly by democracy, but to supplant the legislative process when it's unresponsive. I think you probably know that.

Doug
Well, you reductio'd PdxMark's valid point aboutOldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 11:12 AM
referenda grafting unworkable policy into overall policy by saying it proves your point that we think people are stupid. So I extrapolated. Ergo, I must sadly conclude that YOU think people are stupid, since you don't agree they should vote on everything.

Makes about as much logical sense.

Recall/initiative/referenda sound good in theory. In practice, they probably create more problems than they solve. One thing you learn when you work in government/politics is that things aren't, in the Ross Perot formulation, 'real simple.'
People aren't stupid, but they don't follow throughPdxMark
Oct 10, 2003 1:07 PM
Simple spot solutions are almost never so simple. Our voters banned the hunting of cougars with dogs because it seemed unfair. Cougars are now encroaching more & more into rural and even suburban neighborhoods - and there's almost no way to deal with them. The voters neither took the time to learn the issues nor had the expertise to really know. They just disliked seeing a treed cougar in print & TV ads.

So, people are not stupid, but they are treating the issues simplistically. It's not stupid to want lower taxes. It's reckess and irresponsible to pretend that lowering taxes does not require a reduction in services. And voters don't take THAT part of the issue into account. It's like a CEO coming to work once every two years and proclaiming new fiscal targets and then disappearing for two years.

Legislatures and governors work with the whole system. The whole budget. Urban AND rural citizens. They aren't perfect, but if not, elect new ones. The problem seems not to be that legislatures aren't listening to the people, it's that part of the legislature is listening to different people -- their contituents.
How about all fiscal initiatives must be balanced...PdxMark
Oct 10, 2003 1:29 PM
If an initiative cuts specific taxes, it also cuts specific spending by the same amount dollar-for-dollar. If it raises taxes, it says where to spend the money.

If voters want to play in the details of politics, let them take responsibility for their fun. Cutting taxes and closing your eyes to the effects is childish.
if they hated gray davis so bad...rufus
Oct 10, 2003 7:59 AM
why did you guys re-elect him in the first place? are you(generic you) that stupid?
They were bamboozled. He ran ads on TV. nmOldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 8:02 AM
there was no choicemohair_chair
Oct 10, 2003 9:14 AM
What if they held an election and nobody won? Well, it doesn't work that way. Nobody wanted Davis then, either, but the choice was dumb and dumber. Turnout was low as a result. Davis (dumb) went with his standard negative/smear campaign, then mobilized his huge patronage army, bought and paid for with our tax dollars. He swept into office. Now he's been swept out, because his tricks don't work when he can only run against himself. This time it wasn't Davis vs. someone else, it was Davis: yes or no? No won.
there WAS a choice.rufus
Oct 10, 2003 3:59 PM
you chose davis for another four years. you should live with it.

if davis was so bad, then you would have elected anyone but him. but you didn't, and now you blame davis for that.
it's because...Starliner
Oct 10, 2003 9:25 AM
The Republican candidate who ran against him in the general election was a non-electable stiff. His stands on social issues were political suicide in CA. So why did the Republicans offer up this guy?

Because.... before the Republican primary election, Grey Davis spent millions in a smear campaign to help kill off the moderate Republican candidate who would have had the best chance to win the general election.

And..... in the primary election, it was permitted to vote across party lines. So, many Democrat voters bought the "kill off the moderate Republican" strategy espoused by Davis, and padded the voting tally for the more extremist Republican candidate. As a result, the extremist beat out the moderate.

And that's why Grey Davis won the general election.
He doesn't get itmohair_chair
Oct 10, 2003 6:45 AM
Will, and most of the country, it seems, just doesn't get it. Californians are sick of sleazy politicians and their sleazy election tactics. Californians are sick and tired of party politics producing impotent candidates who ignore the voters. Californians are sick of the press telling them what to think and that they are wrong for thinking differently.

This election had nothing at all to do with liberal vs. conservative. It was a voter revolt that said we are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

The press tried to belittle Arnold by calling him "The Actor" in every headline and article. The L.A. Times tried to smear him with an October surprise. The voters didn't even blink. Screw your election tactics. Screw your exaggerated self-importance. You're not in charge anymore.

What's really telling is how many pundits and office holders have come out and said the voters are idiots. Nancy Pelosi said "I think it was a sad night for our state and a sad night for our country." Huh? Is she saying half of the largest voter turnout in 20 years (70%, more than the 2002 election!!!) is wrong? At least she didn't call the voters stupid, like Maxine Waters did. Politicans are running scared now, and they should be. The revolution has begun.
I saw Maxine on tv Tuesday night....ClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 6:56 AM
She as always seemed so bitter....I would hate to go through life with her disposition.
Democrats do not trust votersDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 7:09 AM
Democrats essentially do not trust the people. They try to over-turn elections in the courts. They try to prevent elections in the courts. They pass laws detailing and controlling minute aspects of people's lives. They run to the courts to get federal judges to over-turn voter approved initiatives. They get their legislators to over-turn initiatives.

I could go on for days.

Here is another major issue, though. I think disproportionately Democrats see public office as a career, a job, and most importantly, a way to impose their beliefs on the public they distrust. Republicans more often see elected office as a more temporary public service -- they don't need the job, and frankly would rather have someone else do it.

Therefore, Democrats fight like hell when they are faced with losing. It's their livelihood and power that is being threatened. They collaborate with newspapers to print all the filth that's not fit to print in last minute attempts to smear their opponents. It's blood war, and anything goes.

So, it should be no surprise that when they pull out all the guns and lose, they blame the people, who they never did trust.

Doug
Democrats do not trust votersClydeTri
Oct 10, 2003 7:11 AM
To continue your thought, conservativs (and libertarians) see government as a necessary evil while liberals see government as a good thing.
Not entirely wrong.OldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 8:16 AM
Yep, I see government as a good thing. Of COURSE I do. It beats hell out of wild anarchy, and it can be an instrument for great collective good. As Lincoln said: 'Government is the means by which we accomplish collectively that which we we could not accomplish individually.' Pretty fine definition.

Conservatives see govt as a necessary evil as a matter of proclaimed philosophy, but they seem to find it quite congenial and un-evil when they're in power. It's a little hypocritcal, but not much. Hell, it's human nature.
Not entirely wrong.CurtSD
Oct 10, 2003 12:00 PM
> Conservatives see govt as a necessary evil as a matter of
> proclaimed philosophy, but they seem to find it quite
>congenial and un-evil when they're in power.

I would put it a different way: Many conservative politicians get less conservative when they get entrenched in the political system.
Sorry, Brother Doug, but I have to use bad language.OldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 7:16 AM
Every word of this post is absolute bullsh!t.

Again, I apologize, but that's the only way to describe it. :-)
it's understandable you would say that ;-) nmDougSloan
Oct 10, 2003 7:28 AM
Republicans do not trust votersfiltersweep
Oct 10, 2003 7:59 AM
That's hardly a fair assessment- any more than stating that Republicans are always busy redistricting to obtain an advantage.

It all depends on what side of the fence you are on- and Republicans are not immune from the blood war when the heat is on... it really is a two way street called "politics." I'd be hard pressed to say which side is dirtier.

As an aside, "we" elected Jesse in MN - it was like waking up with a huge hang-over... the election was all fun and games, but at some point, the guy has to govern and play politics (which is easier said than done). Jesse was a bully... we'll see if Arnold's celebrity does much to garner political influence in a surly environment. Keep in mind, Jesse only ran for one term... he learned his lesson.

Arnold's new "rich man's hobby" is to be governor. Don't kid yourselves... he's in it for himself more than to "serve the people."
Republicans do not trust votersDale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 8:39 AM
Republicans use hired thugs to stop a legitimate vote recount in Florida. They install a Supreme Court that uses it's power to defacto overrule the wishes of the majority of U.S. voters and select a President by decree.

In Missouri, the Republican-led legislature ignores the wishes of the people, who expressed their preference in a recent referendum, and cram unwanted laws down our throats. From Washington D.C., they orchestrate a mid-decade redistricting process in Texas guaranteed to virtually disenfranchise minority voters.

The Republican Administration grossly misrepresents foreign intelligence, using their lies to justify a costly and needless war. They shamelessly intimidate administration critics, even at the cost of national security.

I could go on for days.

Republicans see public office only as a way extract as much money and power as possible from the system, and then abandon the mess they make for others to clean up. No program that does not line the pockets of supporters is enacted. Anything that restrains avaricious greed for the greater good is rejected.

When their primacy is threatened, Republicans lash out at opponents, calling them traitors, socialists, and pantywaists. Even family members of critics are subject to their underhanded attacks.

Republican operatives harness the basest prejudices and fears of the citizenry to mold them into obedient voters. They use a malignant media empire as their surrogate voice to spout invective and prop up their party's pernicious policies and prevarications.

It should be no surprise that they would overturn the results of a legitimate gubernatorial election to suit their wishes.

Whatta ya think, Doug? Are we even now? If not, I could go on for days, ya know!

Dale
Comrade! I didn't know you had it in you!OldEdScott
Oct 10, 2003 8:50 AM
You always seemed like such a GENTLE traitor!

Well said, well said. I maybe append this post to my copy of the Great Helmsman's Sayings...
Scratch deep enough into a Libbrul Texas Dumocrat...Dale Brigham
Oct 10, 2003 9:13 AM
... and you'll find the spirit of LBJ, poised to apply a hearty handshake, bear hug, choke hold, or knee to the groin, as required.

I love the anecdote about LBJ and the Secret Service guys that attended him in the White House. It is said that if an agent in his eyesight failed to speedily refresh his Cutty Sark on ice when empty, that agent was off to Alaska.

Dale