Total Recall?

I do a guest turn at Real Clear Politics today to discuss the Walker recall.  I think of the recall the same way as the Republican push for impeachment of President Clinton – an act where political restraint gets tossed out the window and we’re worse off for it because our system is not set up for politics by any means necessary.

Next Tuesday, voters in Wisconsin decide whether to recall their governor — Republican Scott Walker. A successful recall petition earlier this year gives them a choice between the incumbent and Democrat Tom Barrett, a former congressman, Wisconsin state legislator, and the current mayor of Milwaukee. Walker is, of course, best known for pushing through a package of public sector reforms eliminating various collective bargaining rules in Wisconsin. In the process he bitterly divided his state and poisoned the well for a vital national conversation about public sector reform by viscerally pitting public sector workers against other citizens. Barrett seems, as evidenced by his political career, likely to be a better and more moderate governor. Despite that, count me among those who disapprove of Walker but who also don’t think he should be recalled.

Most of the commentary about the recall (aside from the abundance of passionate feelings about Walker himself) focuses on its political wisdom. Was it a good decision by organized labor and Democrats to pursue it? What will it mean for the presidential race in the swing state of Wisconsin? Politically pertinent questions, sure, but the bigger picture matters more. In the long run what should concern us is the governmental wisdom of this kind of recall. Are recalls based on policy choices even a good idea? Barring corruption or incapacity to govern, shouldn’t elections at least settle who holds an office for a fixed period of time? In our already poisonous politics, are recalls poised to become one more weapon in our ongoing total political war?

Recalls take effort, clicking doesn’t, so you can read the entire op-ed here at RCP.

4 Replies to “Total Recall?”

  1. Although this article was focused on the wisdom of recalls, I find it interesting that the author characterized Walker as “bad” based on the political effects of his actions (division, controversy, etc). At no time was there any mention of the *effectiveness* of Walker’s actions.

  2. Walker lied about his intentions. Beginning and end of story. LIED. The recall is justified. Anthony, I have an answer for you: none of Walker’s actions has proven fruitful for education. While you may consider trying to destroy unionism a good thing, at least half of people think otherwise. Now, think to yourself: Am I so gosh darn right about destroying unionism that I am willing to disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands in Wisconsin just to show I am all that? Am I that wise?

  3. There is NO guarantee when a naval officer holds command. A simple vote by the enlisted of a compromised command climate is enough to send that CO or XO packing.

    Our elected leaders MUST be held to that standard.

    We hold our teachers to that standard.

    R, you are a political idealogue.

  4. A doctor screamed and yelled at a patient about the declining condition of the patient. The doctor’s diagnosis was correct.
    The doctor was still fired.

    Doctors spend years learning the proper emotional and intellectual responses to patient conditions and queries.

    So, R, are you saying we CANNOT expect the same from our elected leaders who hold such RAW POWER.

    But we can hold some faceless, anonymous, teacher to task for the slightest foible.

    Your have lost this debate. You are on the losing side. Your are thought filled, but not thoughtfull.

    Most follow you out of curiosity, and not for any intellectual purpose. You are an entertainer who struts and frets his hour on the stage. Just like very good little journalist should.

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