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Recall Governor Schwarzenegger!

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Snapshot from California’s future. Next year’s March 2 ballot. Page 2:

“Shall ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor? Yes/No.”

What makes you think it won’t happen? I mean, have you thought about it? Of course that’s exactly what will happen. There’s nothing to stop it. If the Davis recall succeeds, and especially if Schwarzenegger is the replacement, a new recall drive is more than just likely, it’s almost guaranteed–and it’s already in the works.

I did what I could to plant this idea way back when I had a bit of media attention during my run for governor. I quickly adapted that website template to show what might happen if, say, Brian Flemming had $1.7M, as wannabe-governor Darrell Issa did.

I don’t have $1.7M. But some other nutball in this state surely does. (Actually, it wouldn’t even take that much–Issa’s $1.7M garnered well beyond the necessary number of valid sigs.) The requirements to force a recall election are ridiculously low. General ignorance of this fact, and a lack of passionate widespread opposition to the governor, kept recalls from becoming habit here in California.

ballotBut those two factors no longer exist. Now everyone in the state knows how easy it is to force a recall. And now there is passionate opposition–not just to Davis, but surely to a Governor Schwarzenegger. Do you really think that CodePink won’t be able to get 900,000 California women to sign a petition to recall Schwarzenegger? And that’s just one group of many who would be likely to support such an effort.

If you don’t think that at least one more recall is where we’re headed should Arnold win, your imagination fails you. And it is vital for you to use your imagination.

On the morning of 9-11, the passengers in the first three hijacked planes did not apparently rise up against the hijackers to foil their plans. Why? They couldn’t imagine that the plan was to kamikazee the planes into buildings. No terrorist had yet done that, so there wasn’t any reason for it to pop into the average person’s mind. What was different about Flight 93? Those passengers knew what had just happened with the other planes. Now it was imaginable. And because it was imaginable, they could try to stop it.

If you are a Californian, don’t let your imagination fail you as our state hurls toward its own disaster. If the recall passes, and especially if Schwarzenegger wins, the unimaginable will become imaginable. Everyone in the state will be sent this message: If you don’t like the governor, just force a recall election and try to replace him. It’s relatively easy, and it’s likely to work.

On the other hand, if the recall fails, a much better message will be sent: The people of California do not use the recall option frivolously.

And that will make a recall trend much less likely.

If you elect a Governor Schwarzenegger, he will most likely be up for recall on the March 2 ballot. He’ll have to get 50%-plus-one support to win–in a primary election that is likely to draw a disproportionate number of Democrats to the polls. Which means Schwarzenegger will have to campaign again almost from the moment this inexperienced man takes office. Which means the state won’t really have much of a governor.

Just think about it. Try to come up with a reason that a new governor wouldn’t be forced into an attempted recall by the angry people who voted against him. Try to convince yourself that it just isn’t possible.

We’re headed for permanent recall. Don’t do this to California.

* * *

[Cross-posted to Brian Flemming’s Weblog] [Other stories about the recall]

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About Brian Flemming

  • So to avoid a state of “permanent recall,” people should demand another recall?

    All together now: “I just don’t see it!”


    Seriously, I think the recall was foolish – nothing substantially more was known about Davis after his re-election than was known before it. But, it is allowed by California law, just like it was done, so whatever.

    I suspect that efforts to recall Schwarzeneggar are doomed to fail. Davis annoyed a lot of people, and Arnold appeals to a lot of people. Even many who don’t particuarly like Arnold would likely choose to give him a chance – David had a full term, after all. And who is going to run against him? Martin Sheen?

    Hey, wait a minute. That just might work…

  • Stryker

    There won’t be another recall in the near future because of simple common sense: the first time is novel, the second time is annoying.

    Anyone who knows people would figure that as a no-brainer.

  • Dunno about that, Stryker. The referendum process here in Oregon has gotten way out of hand. That is because it is too easy. Got up on the wrong side of the bed today? Initiate a referendum drive. Don’t like an office holder’s freckles? Initiate a referendum drive. Want some attention for yourself? Initiate a referendum drive. The same thing could easily occur with recalls in California.

  • If people are pissed off enough with Schwarzenegger, anything can happen. Anything. Let’s hope it isn’t necessary.

  • Andrew

    Not to worry Mr. Fleming. Feel perfectly free to cast your vote in favor of recall. And if so inclined, waste your next vote on the most under qualified California office-holder outside of Davis himself, Cruz Bustamante. You see, moves are already underway to amend the constitutional provision that permits the dreaded recall initiative.

  • Er, Andrew, Brian is not in favor of the recall. I’m afraid you didn’t read carefully enough.

    The whole thing is amusing to me because of this: Democrats put the recall provision into law long ago to prevent the political establishment from controlling the state. Now it has finally been used, almost a century later, and since it is being used to recall a Democrat, that same party will now strike the law, apparently to ensure that California will remain in the hands of the political establishment. <grin>

  • You compare the heroes of Flight 93 to petty political sniping in California? Classy.

    I support the holding of a recall election anytime that a recall movement satisifies the requirements. I will be interested in seeing how many of the people who FALSELY argued that this recall was some sort of violation or GOP attempted coup will quickly change their tune.

    If those sorts of folks can get it on the ballot, let’em. It’s been fun this time…

  • Eric Olsen

    Hey Sarge, I agree with your assessment – so this time is tragedy and next time will be farce?

  • The question isn’t whether a majority of Californians weary of the recall process. It doesn’t take a majority to force a recall. It takes about 900,000 (or possibly fewer, depending) registered California voters to sign a petition.

    That’s it. 90% of the people in California can think it’s a shitty idea even to have another recall. They can absolutely be hopping fucking mad about it. Doesn’t matter. Their opposition means squat if enough signatures are on the petition. By law, there’s no way to stop it.

    People who are imagining that a general weariness toward the whole idea will somehow stop Recall #2 are fooling themselves. It matters not a bit what you or even most Californians think. Any new Darrell Issa wannabe (or collection of them) can make it happen.

    And I don’t think a Constitutional provision fixing this will happen before Recall #2 or Recall #3.

  • Sounds like another too easy ballot process that can be used for all the wrong reasons to me. There is such a thing as too much democracy.

  • I keep chucking when I read things like Mac Diva and Eris Olsen have written – that democracy can get in the way or that there can be too much of it. That’s the sort of thing that would knock any candidate right out of any race if it were published later, regardless of context.

    Assuming it were published early enough in the election cycle, of course.

    P.S. It’s most amusing of all when that sort of statement comes from a Democrat, and I heard just one such Democrat make that sort of statement just this week where I work. A Democrat complaining about Democracy – that’s rich! 😉

  • A friend of mine the day after last year’s election:

    “I’m moving to a country that has real democracy.”

    me: “Hey. The people have spoken.”

    “Yeah but not really.”

  • Incidentally, I finally got around to reading the “are ridiculously low” link all the way to the bottom. I hadn’t realized that a recall has been attempted 31 times before this one.

    31 times, Brian! If only one out of 32 attempts has succeeded in even reaching the ballot (and Davis might just win, the race ain’t over yet), I’m not sure that qualifies as easy, likely, or guaranteed, does it? I mean, that’s what – a 31.25% chance of even reaching the ballot, statistically speaking?

    I know, I know, it’s not a statistical question. Frankly, I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised to see another recall on the ballot in March. I doubt it, but I wouldn’t bet money against.

    If I still lived in California, I’d care about this a lot more. As it is, I find the whole thing amusing. Like blackouts in the northeast that occupy front-page headlines for days and days and days because that’s where the reports happen to be, you know? It’s just funny from here.

    Until somebody loses an eye, of course.

  • From Blogcritics:

    The requirements to force a recall election are ridiculously low. General ignorance of this fact, and a lack of passionate widespread opposition to the governor, kept recalls from becoming habit here in California.

    But those two factors no longer exist. Now everyone in the state knows how easy it is to force a recall. And now there is passionate opposition–not just to Davis, but surely to a Governor Schwarzenegger. Do you really think that CodePink wouldn’t be able to get 900,000 California women to sign a petition to recall Schwarzenegger? And that’s just one group of many who may support such an effort.

    Read the whole thing.

  • Phil, I have to dash from Starbucks, now, but I want to explain my remark later. Remind me if I forget.

  • Hey, Brian, can’t you read? I did read the whole article. I’ve already responded to your article above. We happen to disagree. What I hadn’t read before now was the 20th and last answer to a full page FAQ in one of the supporting links you supply. Did you read it all? Did you know that 31 previous recall efforts have failed? Don’t you think that is a factor at all in surmising that another recall effort would be easy?

    In fact, 31 previous failed efforts would seem to contradict your first pullout statement that the requirements are “ridiculously low.” Yes, they’re lower than other states that have similar laws. But if they’re “ridiculously” low, why did 31 efforts to meet them fail? Why did it take 92 years to pull it off?

    I could understand your logic if, as I had previously surmised, no other recall efforts had ever even been started, but 31 times they’ve started and failed. That undermines your entire case pretty clearly.

    To argue that another recall effort is possible is fine. I’ll even agree that it is possible. To argue that you’re pretty sure it will happen is fine, too. I disagree, but that’s life.

    But to argue that it’s essentially a sure thing because the requirements are so low without even mentioning or (apparently) taking into consideration 31 previous failed efforts, and then refusing to address the issue when I pointed it out to you goes beyond a simple difference of opinion. It suggests that you missed something and that your entire premise is wrong.

    Please don’t be arrogant when I point out something you missed. Respond to it or leave it alone, but please don’t tell me what to read. Your usual arrogance doesn’t play well any more.

  • From Blogcritics:

    The requirements to force a recall election are ridiculously low. General ignorance of this fact, and a lack of passionate widespread opposition to the governor, kept recalls from becoming habit here in California.

  • Actually, MD, I do understand what you mean, and it seems similar to Eric’s sentiment. I happen to not agree, but that’s at least partially – if not mostly – because I hold semi-libertarian views and somewhat enjoy observing government gridlock.

    You want to see a system that had too much democracy, think about the Roman Empire. All decisions were made via direct democracy, and consuls were re-elected annually, and I think recalls were “ridiculously” simple within that system, too.

    Oh heck, I’m probably screwing up the details, for that matter, since I’m too lazy to check my bookshelf for the details. Plus the Roman Empire spent a decent amount of time ruled directly by the Emperor, and so on.

    Anyway, I get your point, MD, I just think it’s funny. 😉

  • I thinks this recall is just the beginning of a sea of change in California. Adjustment have to be made and its cut, cut, cut….

  • Paul

    On the other hand, having permanent recalls may not be such a bad thing. Davis has signed so many damned laws in the last two months that just about all of your traditional Democratic causes have been helped. And most of these things are bills that he refused to sign in the past. Driver’s licenses for illegals, health care– Davis will suck as much dick as it takes to keep his job. The recall has actually been a boon for quite a few people. Also, the recall exhibits the absolute shambles that is the Republican Party in this State. Who did they put up in the election last time? That’s right, the electrifying Bill Simon. If that’s the best you can do out of a State this size, you’ve got real problems. The whole Arnold-McClintock thing only serves to further highlight just how jury-rigged the Republican Party is in California. They’re not so much Republicans as they’re people who aren’t Democrats. That the recall has gotten as far as it has isn’t a testament to conservative evangelism in the State so much as it is pure luck to strike at a time when a lot of people were generally pissed off.

    But none of it matters. This recall’s gonna be decided in the courts–guaranteed. If things don’t go the Democrat’s way, then it’s certain you’ll see lawsuits filed either by the Party or by its front groups for voting irregularities or disenfranchisement or whatever they can come up with. But I’m sure the Republicans will try to find some purtchase in the courts if things don’t go their way, but the chance of that happening isn’t as guaranteed as it will be if the Democrats lose. I’d put the Republicans going to court at 40% and the Democrats going to court at 98%.

    In all seriousness, Califorinia’s problem isn’t its politicians, it’s the citizenry. 90% of the state budget is already spoken for due to voter-mandated referendums and such, so when cuts come or money is promised for a program by lawmakers, it’s usually just bullshit to garner votes: there’s no money to pay for most new intitiatives or programs and most of your legislative wrangling of the budget takes place in the 10% not automatically allocated to other areas. If California’s in the hole, it’s due to the fecklessness of its electorate more than the negligence of its legislature. If permanent recalls are the way of the future, then it’ll only serve to accelerate California’s slide into irrelevance. Its politics already resemble those of Louisiana or Mississippi than any real progressive state. Might as well have the rest of it follow suit.

  • “In all seriousness, Califorinia’s problem isn’t its politicians, it’s the citizenry.”



    IN 20 YEARS

  • me

    well if you want to be part of an effort to recall arnold http://www.savecalnow.com/index.htm
    is organized to recall him. no need to use jennifer lopez, usher raymond,Demi Moore,Fall foliage,John O’Hurley,Ashton Kutcher,Tom DeLay,Ben Affleck,Jet Blue, Lynndie England,Cindy Sheehan, Anna Nicole Smith.

    better yet, just use top fashion search because Arnold is not fashionable. searches like:
    1. Layers
    2. Luxe and Lash
    3. Pencil skirts
    4. Tailored coats
    5. Puffball skirts
    6. Russe clothing
    7. The Military Look
    8. Furs
    9. Cargo pants
    10. Fall Blazers
    (from jeeves result)

    just as a test I want to see how quickly google picks this up:
    Top Searches for the week ending September 30, 2005:
    1. Online Dictionary
    2. Music Lyrics
    3. Hurricane Katrina
    4. Autumnal equinox
    5. Maps
    6. Games
    7. Hurricane Rita
    8. Tattoos
    9. Inuyasha
    10. Halloween costumes