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July 24, 2003

TIME FOR A NEW GOVERNOR?....The whole Uday/Qusay story was practically ignored by the LA Times today, overshadowed by a banner headline announcing that the recall campaign against Gray Davis has officially qualified for the ballot. It looks like we'll have an election sometime around the end of September.

Which means I now have to come to grips with what to do. On the one hand, I'm inclined to vote against the recall because it's a lousy piece of partisan hackery and I really don't want people to get the idea that they can mount a recall campaign anytime a governor has low approval ratings.

On the other hand, it's a done deal now and Davis is a dork, so why not go ahead and kick him out and vote for whoever I think is best?

Of course, it's possible that Republicans will make it easy for me by not running anyone worth voting for. Say, Darrell Issa, just to pick a name out of a hat.

Too bad it looks like Dick Riordan won't run. I would have voted for him in the general election, and he probably would have won. But Davis was way too crafty to let me have that choice. Maybe Arnold, then? I wonder how T3 is doing?

Decisions, decisions....

Posted by Kevin Drum at July 24, 2003 09:22 AM | TrackBack


Comments

Kevin,

I'm lacking much knowledge of the background but at least here in England it looks like a terrible way to conduct a democracy if you allow a small minority of voters to recall someone just 'cause they don't like him.

If he has broken the law in a big way, and it is actually a voter-led impeachmenet then maybe, but that's not my understanding of this case.

As you say, where will it end? I would boycott the election

James

Posted by: James at July 24, 2003 09:28 AM | PERMALINK

See daily kos and political state report- possibly, depending on the California Supreme Court, a successful recall would just result in the Lietenant Governor becoming Governor without another election. That would be a huge improvement over Davis. Unfortunately, whether or not that will happen might not be known until after the recall vote, so people might not even know what they're really voting for.

Posted by: SP at July 24, 2003 09:31 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Assuming the entire recall and vote takes place on the same day (I've heard the rules are vague on this point), can you tell me how this works? What I specifically want to know is this: If you do not want to recall Davis and answer NO to the first question, do you get to vote for a replacement candidate anyway, or do you not respond to that portion? Can you vote yes or no to the do-you-want-to-recall-the-gov question and still vote for Davis, or is he not an option?

In short, I'm wondering if Davis can still win even if a majority vote Yes to recalling him. I don't understand the logistics to the actual vote.

Posted by: Jim E. at July 24, 2003 09:31 AM | PERMALINK

What about the option I've been reading about that will leave the Lieutenant Gov in place as Gov? Something about only calling for a yes/no vote in the fall and leaving it up to courts to decide if the LG needs to be replaced? That sounded really good to me when I read it at dKos. Do you like the LG?

Casa - in PA

Posted by: casadelogo at July 24, 2003 09:32 AM | PERMALINK

T3 is something of a bomb - it's been quickly eclipsed by "Pirates of the Caribbean" and is unlikely to make back its $200 million production costs at the box office.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/vs-terminator.htm

Posted by: Dave Weigel at July 24, 2003 09:49 AM | PERMALINK

I pretty much agree all around here. Recall makes sense if there is criminal activity or even a major scandal. Here, we just have a lousy governor who won re-election because the GOP put up an even worse candidate. Now, granted, Davis helped that along by pouring money into the GOP primary, but all's fair in politics.

I can't imagine the LtGov is going to get away with no having an election, though.

Posted by: James Joyner at July 24, 2003 09:57 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe now the exterminator, Ahnold Schwarzenpfeffer, will tell the populace what he intends to do about the CA budget deficit.

As part of a tour advertising his Exterminator IV movie, of course.

Why would any Rep want to take over as governor? It's idiotic.

Posted by: raj at July 24, 2003 09:57 AM | PERMALINK

I had a pollster call me up the other day about the recall. The funny (scary) part was that he mispronounced every thing. "Veto", "Panetta", "Nazi" (in reference to Ahhhhnold's father) were all butchered by this poor phone guy.

However, I did learn more about the recall.

Even if you vote "NO" on the first question -- whether or not to recall Davis, your second vote will still count if everyone else votes to recall.

However, I've read some news lately that this may not be whats on the ballot, because our Lt Goverenor may decided to take the place for himself. This I haven't read up on.

Posted by: Alex Pavloff at July 24, 2003 09:58 AM | PERMALINK

This is an odd election. If the Democrats don't run anybody, then -- particularly if the Republicans run more than one -- the usual electoral logic is all thrown out the window.

Plus, you don't have to vote to kick Davis out to vote for a replacement.

Me, with the field the way its shaping up, I expect (if both issues are on the ballot), expect to vote "No" on the recall, and "Camejo" for the replacement candidate if Davis is recalled.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 24, 2003 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I can't believe you just called Gray Davis a dork.

Posted by: theperegrine at July 24, 2003 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Its also worth noting that Bustamante has backed off on the "if there is a recall, I succeed Davis", no replacement ballot, suggestion; at least, he's not going to specify that the ballot will be that way. OTOH, a challenge is being mounted by others to get the Supreme Court to rule on that issue, and there are a number of other legal issues out there.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 24, 2003 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

What are the thresholds? A mjority has to recall the current governor, but only a plurality necessary for his replacement? From the East Coast this whole thing seems like a very sketchy idea

Posted by: spc67 at July 24, 2003 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Cruz Bustamante (Lt. Gov) just announced the date: October 7.

The form is still up in the air. Apparently the attorney general and secretary of state are still working on it. The assumption is that the recall and the election are on the same ballot. You need a majority to recall, and if the recall succeeds, then you just need a plurality among the candidates running to replace him.

However, it may turn out to work differently. Apparently the California constitution is a bit murky.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at July 24, 2003 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I loathe Davis, but I wouldn't sign the recall petition. Now that the recall vote is happening I have to decide whether I loathe Davis more than I loathe the whole idea of recall votes. My general position on initiatives is to register my dislike of initiatives by actively voting no on every petition for which I haven't seen a compelling and convincing argument. I think the same calculus ought to apply to recalls, so I may surprise myself and vote against the recall, but I think it will be a close call.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at July 24, 2003 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

What are the thresholds? A mjority has to recall the current governor, but only a plurality necessary for his replacement? From the East Coast this whole thing seems like a very sketchy idea.

That is correct. The expected format is two questions: Yes/No on the recall, and vote for one candidate to replace. You can vote for a candidate if you vote on the recall -- even if you vote against.

If the recall gets a majority, the plurality winner among the replacement candidates replaces the Governor. Which is why a single Democrat, or failing that a single Green like Camejo, could easily win if there are multiple Republicans, by getting some of the "Yes on Recall" votes, and a large portion of the "No on Recall" votes.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 24, 2003 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

A strategic question. It seems to me that a lot more people would vote to recall if the question is just, "ditch him: yes or no?"

On the other hand, if the question(s) end up boiling down to "who do you want: Davis, competitor A, competitor B, competitor C?" then it's a different story. It's easy to get people worked up to throw the bastard out, but things get a lot murkier when they then have to come up with a preferable bastard to replace him.

That being the case, I would have thought the best strategy for the Dems would be to combine both questions on a single ballot, whether they're required to or not, and was quite surprised by this word that Bustamente might not do that. Am I misreading the situation, or is this basically Bustamente seeing an opportunity to stab his boss in the back and take his stuff?

JS

Posted by: John Sullivan at July 24, 2003 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

You whacky Californians. In West Virginia, we just choose bad governors and stick with them. If they are really awful we re-elect them. And if they are truly hideous, we vote them into the Senate so we can choose another bad governor (Jay Rockefeller).

Posted by: John Cole at July 24, 2003 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

As an outsider with a sister in Palm Springs, I don't quite get why Davis is so unpopular. This looks like the Arkansas Project all over again - smearing a politician relentlessly and any way you can until something sticks. What exactly has Davis done wrong? Did he singlehandedly create the budget crisis?

Posted by: Blipsy at July 24, 2003 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I realize this is a serious thing, but there was a line in Newsweek this week that caused me to laugh out loud. If Arianna H. runs against Arnold S., any debate would have to have subtitles.

Posted by: Linkmeister at July 24, 2003 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, Ahnold was apparently advertising is movie exTerminator III here in Munich a couple of days ago. Not bad looking for a mid-50's heart attack survivor.

Posted by: raj at July 24, 2003 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

I just moved two weeks ago, so I need to re-register to vote. I wonder if it's too late...

Posted by: squiddy at July 24, 2003 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Here's your introduction to our Lt. Governor. Perhaps "Metzgerizing" this article will help you understand the problem. That is, change "Hispanic" to "white," "Aztlan" to "white homeland," etc. etc.

As for Davis, he appears to have lied about the deficit. I'd say that's pretty serious.

Posted by: click here for the Lonewacko Blog at July 24, 2003 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

There are lots of non-smear reasons to dislike Davis. But if he has time I'll let Kevin or another California Democrat detail them. I'll admit to severe bias on this instance.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at July 24, 2003 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

This may sound silly, but I think Davis would survive this recall and even do so fairly easily if he would just level with the voters regarding the problems the state faces and how he plans to navigate the state through them. Explain what's happened and even his role in it and why tough decisions are now necessary.

Instead he seems to be relying on a variety of political tactics such as smearing potential opposing candidates etc. I guess he's sticking with the approach that got him to where he is. But I think that it is precisely this previously successful approach that puts him at maximum risk of actually being recalled.

Posted by: GaryL at July 24, 2003 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

SP, casadelogo - there was a lot of speculation about that in the California blogsphere yesterday, but Bustamante closed the door on it; there will be a contingent election. Both elections will be held simultaneously, on October 7, and two ballot measures which have qualified for the next statewide election will be consolidated with it (including the 'Racial Privacy Initiative'). Candidates must file paperwork by August 9 (eg., as a practical matter, August 8); candidates who are members of political parties must submit 65 signatures and $3500 (or 10,000 signatures to avoid the filing fee). It is unclear how candidates who are not members of parties will qualify. The contingent election will be decided by a simple plurality. Voters may vote 'no' on the recall and vote in the contingent election; however, if you do not vote on the recall, your vote on the contingent election will not count.

For more information, see CalBlog, California Insider, or me. :) The Secretary of State's webpage should be updated some day, but it might take a while; the election is a bit of a logistical nightmare and I imagine that's low on the priority list.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Oops. Forgot the Secretary of State's link. At the moment it has a FAQ designed to answer the questions everyone had before the recall qualified, and a signature count update that shows numbers that would qualify a recall, but no announcement that the recall has qualified, or answers to questions people have after the recall qualified.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

After taking a brief look at the California constitution and statutes, they don't seem real murky to me. Cmdicely above has described the procedure fairly accurately. Why anybody would think the Lt. Gov. would take over, I don't know--the constitution doesn't say that. Browse around http://california.lp.findlaw.com/ca01_codes/index.html if you are interested . . .

Posted by: rea at July 24, 2003 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I thought the Bustamente "it has to be meeee" ploy was the funniest damned thing - it certainly rattled the talk-jocks on the way home last night.

But how did an unqualified phrase like "if appropriate" ever make it into the Constitution in the first place?

The whole thing is a farce, and getting worse. There will be no Democrats on the roster, supposedly - it's either Davis or... Simon?

Posted by: Hoodie Craw at July 24, 2003 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

"As for Davis, he appears to have lied about the deficit. I'd say that's pretty serious."

LOL at Lonewacko--if only we could get you to apply the ssame standard to the President!

Posted by: rea at July 24, 2003 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As a 10-year resident of L.A., let me tell you that Riordan is an incompetant, uninspiring lying bastard and may be one of the few California politicians (Bill Simon excepted) who may conceivably be a worse speaker than Gray Davis. He's also just as in bed with corporate interests, equally as unconcerned about the poor and called demonstrators outside of the 2000 Democratic Convention "thugs with tire irons." I'm glad he's not running.

Posted by: Jake at July 24, 2003 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As a 10-year resident of L.A., let me tell you that Riordan is an incompetant, uninspiring lying bastard and may be one of the few California politicians (Bill Simon excepted) who may conceivably be a worse speaker than Gray Davis. He's also just as in bed with corporate interests, equally as unconcerned about the poor and called demonstrators outside of the 2000 Democratic Convention "thugs with tire irons." I'm glad he's not running.

Posted by: Jake at July 24, 2003 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

whoops, sorry for the double post.

Posted by: Jake at July 24, 2003 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

If the Republicans expect to win in the event Davis is recalled, then they should find somebody besides Issa. That guy will just look too cravenly opportunistic to the average voter, leading the recall drive and then running for governor. In addition, wasn't he a car thief or something?
The Republicans in California seem to have about as many good candidates as Democrats in Ohio. Ah-nuld would just be a joke.
And what are any of their plans to deal with the budget crisis? I don't see how a change in governor will make any difference.
And why won't Riordan run?

Posted by: Ringo at July 24, 2003 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Rea - Bustamante yesterday said that he wasn't going to call a contingent election, that it was up to the Commission on the Governorship to do so, and that the clause which specifies that the Lt. Governor shall inherit any gubernatorial vacancy, when combined with the if appropriate modification to the rules for contingent elections, meant that there should be no contingent election. Secretary of State Shelley disagreed, and Bustamante defered to him.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Ringo - I'm hoping that Tom McClintock runs. Yeah, he's way too conservative for my tastes - but he's made his name in state politics by being an advocate for fiscal probity. He wouldn't be able to get social conservatism through the legislature, and a fiscal conservative leader with a reputation for honesty would be exactly what we need right now.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Squiddy - it's not too late. You can register up to 15 days before an election. Also, if you move within the same county less than 29 days before the election, you are allowed to vote at your old registration precinct.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I don't really know much about any of the potential candidates, I'm not from California.

But I'm against the whole idea of a recall, as well as deciding so many issues by ballot initiative. It's a big circus.

Posted by: Ringo at July 24, 2003 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Next question: in the event that Davis is booted and replaced by a Republican, just how hard is it going to be to come up with 1 million Democratic voters sufficiently pissed off to promptly sign a petition to recall the new guy? And vice versa?

Hell, we could be looking at the last days of organized government in California....

JS

Posted by: John Sullivan at July 24, 2003 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think whoever wins the election is a placeholder until (a)The recall to force them out is held or (b) 2006 and the next regular election. That being the case, I plan to vote for the Green candidate and let Issa and his crew learn the law of unintended consequences. I can't imagine the RNC will be real happy with any idiot rethug congressman who puts a Green in charge of the largest state in the country.

Posted by: Flory at July 24, 2003 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

JS
You don't need 1 million to kick the next guy out. Only 12.5% of the number of people who voted for him/her. Which if a lot of people are on the ballot, could be a very small number

Posted by: Flory at July 24, 2003 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Flory - not true. It's 12.5% of the people who voted in the last regular election for that office. Not for that candidate alone, and not for the recall. Eg., the threshold would still be just under 900,000 people - 12.5% of the total number of votes cast for governor in 2002.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone prepared to vote recall, for any reason but malfeasance in office, lays this democracy open (to an even greater degree) to Big Money perversion.

Anyone prepared to vote recall, for any reason other than malfeasance in office, is subverting the very foundations of our democratic system, which relies on the acquiescience of a defeated minority to abide by election results, unti the next go round.

Anyone so prepared is un-American.

Anyone so prepared ought to think this double-edged-sword through. Should this recall succeed, all notion of political fair play in this state will be as dead as Julius Ceasar, in perpetuity.

Posted by: Jim Shiloh at July 24, 2003 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Why anybody would think the Lt. Gov. would take over, I don't know--the constitution doesn't say that.

Its the "if appropriate" thing, about which I've seentwo schools of thought:

1) "If appropriate" excludes conditions with a Constitutional successor, or recalls of certain judges explicitly excluded by another subsection,
and maybe other "inappropriate" cases.
2) "If appropriate" excludes only recalls of certain judges explicitly excluded by another subsection.

Now that the issue has been raised, it will probably manage to get to the Supreme Court whether Bustamante pushes it or not, which is likely what he wanted.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 24, 2003 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Let's abolish the CA legislature and have me and Kevin rule California by unanimous decree. Anything we can both agree on would have to be pretty darn close to right! Now about those 65 signatures.....

:)

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at July 24, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

JS wrote: "Am I misreading the situation, or is this basically Bustamente seeing an opportunity to stab his boss in the back and take his stuff?"

I'm not a political expert (I just play one on blog comments), but I took this to be a ploy to help the Democrats deal with a fairly nasty dilemma.

Ordinarily, a Democratic candidate in California would have an advantage over a Republican candidate. However, in this recall election, it's not clear how the Democrats should respond. They have not, so far, been willing to throw Davis to the wolves and count him out. Accordingly, they have not (officially) fielded a candidate to put on the ballot. If this holds true up until the election (something I doubt), then the voters would only be able to choose a Republican replacement.

Given Davis' current popularity level, it could very well be that the recall would succeed and that a Republican candidate would end up winning. By splitting the question into two separate elections, though, Davis could still be recalled but then the Democrats would have ample time to field one or more successor candidates in the followup election.

As matters stand now, though, I think the Democrats have to have a viable candidate on that ballot, even if in so doing they are implicitly acknowledging that the recall attempt is valid.

Posted by: PaulB at July 24, 2003 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

raj wrote: "Why would any Rep want to take over as governor? It's idiotic."

I'm not so sure it is, raj, for several reasons:

1. He's got two built-in excuses to shield him from responsibility for any problemss the state is facing: a) it's all Davis' fault and b) it's all the Democrats' fault. Short-term, he isn't going to have to take any responsibility for the mess the state is in. He can milk those excuses for years.

2. The power of incumbency is enormous. A Republican running for re-election will have an easier time than a Republican running for election. This may be the best opportunity they'll have in years to seize and hang onto the governor's mansion in the most populous state in the country.

3. A Republican governor would have some ability to help Republican candidates (state and national) in the 2004 election. You'd better believe that Bush would really like a Republican governor in California in 2004, even if that governor were voted out of office in that same election.

I guess this could work against them, as well, particularly if the new Republican governor is seen as illegitimate and ends up pissing off the Democrats so that they turn out in droves in 2004, but that seems to me to be a reasonable risk to take.

Posted by: PaulB at July 24, 2003 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

JS wrote: "Next question: in the event that Davis is booted and replaced by a Republican, just how hard is it going to be to come up with 1 million Democratic voters sufficiently pissed off to promptly sign a petition to recall the new guy?"

A very good question and one that I've been wondering about myself. This could very well end up backfiring, for a variety of reasons. I'd be willing to bet that if a Republican takes over, you're going to see an ad hoc petition drive start up almost immediately.

It also would not surprise me at all to find that political operatives of all stripes are currently looking into recall requirements in other states. I think California is unique, though, in how low the bar is for this kind of election. Sad.

Posted by: PaulB at July 24, 2003 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I think Jim Shiloh at 11:52 said it best. This entire set of actions need to be thought through much more carefully than I've been able to see.

Posted by: JMP at July 24, 2003 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

"a) An election to determine whether to recall an officer
and, if appropriate, to elect a successor shall be called by the
Governor and held not less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from
the date of certification of sufficient signatures.
(b) A recall election may be conducted within 180 days from the
date of certification of sufficient signatures in order that the
election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled
election occurring wholly or partially within the same jurisdiction
in which the recall election is held, if the number of voters
eligible to vote at that next regularly scheduled election equal at
least 50 percent of all the voters eligible to vote at the recall
election.
(c) If the majority vote on the question is to recall, the officer
is removed and, if there is a candidate, the candidate who receives
a plurality is the successor. The officer may not be a candidate,
nor shall there be any candidacy for an office filled pursuant to
subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI [dealing with appointment of certain judges]."

Subsection (c) seems pretty clear to me--it would say, "nor shall there be any candidacy for the office of governor" if the intent was for the Lt. Gov. to succeed automatically.

Posted by: rea at July 24, 2003 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind that only 12.5% of voters need to sign a petition in order to allow for a recall election, but once the recall election is held a majority is still required to remove the governor.

The reasons that a majority will likely vote against Davis are pretty simple; lied about the defecit, 44% increase in spending in 4 years, selling access to the office for campaign contributions, clueless handling of the "energy crisis", as well as many others. But the big problem is Davis himself- since this whole recall process started has he made any effort to defend himself? He looks weak, even in California thats the look of a loser.

Posted by: Jon Black at July 24, 2003 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

The various pieces of the recall law are ambiguous -- thanks, it seems, to tinkering by the Lege in the 90s -- and while Bustamante has settled at least the question of whether the ballot will include replacements, I haven't yet seen whether it's settled how people will qualify as replacements, that being one of the ambiguities. The Commission and the Supreme Court are other moving parts not yet fully determined. So stay tuned!

As to other states with recall, none set the bar this low. "Referendum, initiative, and recall" were the great Populist achievements, and no state has so thoroughly exercised them as California. Have you seen our "voter information" pamphlet? It looks like a phone book.

And regarding this election, please, oh please, don't boycott it! The Repugs are counting on a low turnout, and thus dominance by their hard core. Vote against recall, even if you don't like Davis, to nip this hijacking of democracy by moneyed interests in the bud!

Posted by: bleh at July 24, 2003 01:00 PM | PERMALINK

The reasons that a majority will likely vote against **** are pretty simple; lied about the defecit, 44% increase in spending in 4 years, selling access to the office for campaign contributions, clueless handling of the "energy crisis", as well as many others

I'm sorry. You were talking about whom...?

Posted by: tbogg at July 24, 2003 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

t

Good point- but the end of the paragraph is the key. I mean, even Kevin is calling Davis a dork.

Posted by: Jon Black at July 24, 2003 01:07 PM | PERMALINK

Subsection (c) seems pretty clear to me--it would say, "nor shall there be any candidacy for the office of governor" if the intent was for the Lt. Gov. to succeed automatically.

Well, sure, it seems clear to you. Others disagree over whether the "if appropriate" in Subsection (a) refers to the exception in subsection (c) or not. Usually, any halfway competently written law would say "except in cases where there shall be no candidate, pursuant to subsection (c)", rather than "if appropriate", if that's what was meant.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 24, 2003 01:36 PM | PERMALINK

"I guess this could work against them, as well, particularly if the new Republican governor is seen as illegitimate and ends up pissing off the Democrats so that they turn out in droves in 2004, but that seems to me to be a reasonable risk to take."

Posted by: PaulB at July 24, 2003 12:27 PM


The GOP doesn't worry much about pissing off Democrats. With a few exceptions (1998), they've gotten away with this lack of concern.
correct

Posted by: Barry at July 24, 2003 01:36 PM | PERMALINK

If anybody can get on the ballot, anyone will. I'll bet next week the stories of crazies showing up with 65 signatures and a cashier's check are going to start to flood in.

I don't think the question is whether there will be one democrat on the ballot, but whether there will be thirty.

Maybe if there's 150 names on the ballot, the actual recall won't do very well.

Am I wrong? Is anyone out there considering running?

Posted by: Jeffrey Gordon at July 24, 2003 01:43 PM | PERMALINK

I am shocked that Kevin and so many other progressives are actually considering voting to recall. Without a Dem on the ballot, you are virtually ensuring a Repub. governor of Calif. This will definitely hurt, and could possibly kill Dems in national politics. If this Repub. has any charisma or gains any popularity or notoriety, you have a ready-made Senatorial, Presidential, or Vice-Presidential candidate.

Rep. Governors of California scare me. They remind me of the Gipper, and I don't ever want another President like that.

Get with the program, people. This recall is a national power play by the GOP. Voting to recall Davis is doing exactly what the GOP wants. Doesn't that bother you?

Posted by: Kevin G. at July 24, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

I would not sign the recall petition. I will not, however, vote to save Davis' ass. Why? Maybe the next governor will not substitute his opinion for the parole board's decision to let Robert Rosencrantz out of prison. Maybe the next governor will not say things like "the people I appoint as judges are there to implement my policies." Maybe the next governor won't spend his money in the other party's primary to ensure a weak candidate. I think the Democrats are making a mistake not putting someone else on the ballot. Davis should bow out, but we know the megalomaniac won't. Payback's a bitch, ain't it Gray?

Posted by: Ray Bridges at July 24, 2003 01:48 PM | PERMALINK

I signed a pettition. I'll vote to recall Gov. Dork. I just pray that BOTH parties put strong, honest and fair candidates up. One each please. Then, for once, I hope we see a clean campaign on the ISSUES.

I'll go back to dreamland now.

Posted by: sq at July 24, 2003 01:56 PM | PERMALINK

First off, I agree with Bleh, " Vote against recall, even if you don't like Davis, to nip this hijacking of democracy by moneyed interests in the bud!"
He (she?) is of course, absolutely right.
HOWEVER.
It's a two-part ballot. You can vote against the recall in part one, yet vote FOR a candidate (just in case) in part two.
Which means....
www.runariannarun.com
Check it out, y'all.
P.S. Kevin is right. Look up "dork" in the dictionary, and Davis' picture is right next to it.

Posted by: cazart at July 24, 2003 01:59 PM | PERMALINK

Whoa, Davis' name won't be included on the list of replacement candidates? That eliminates the chance of him getting reelected by a plurality, which would have been likely in a field of him, and two or three Repubs.

So there won't be any democrat on the list of candidates? The dems are going to put all of their eggs in one basket? Let's hope they see the light and get someone on there as a fall back position.

Posted by: GFW at July 24, 2003 01:59 PM | PERMALINK

Aphrael:
I don't pretend to be a legal expert, but my admittedly novice search of findlaw indicates we were both technically wrong on the law, However, my point, I think is correct - the bar could be much lower to recall Davis' successor than it was to recall Davis:

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 2 VOTING, INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM, AND RECALL
SEC. 14?.
(b) A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by electors equal in number to 12 percent of the last vote for the office, (not last regularly scheduled vote; italics mine) with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1 percent of the last vote for the office in the county. ?

Califronia Election Code

11221. The number of qualified signatures required in order to qualify a recall for the ballot shall be as follows:
? (c) (1) In the case of a state officer, including judges of courts of appeal and trial courts, the number of signatures shall be as
provided for in subdivision (b) of Section 14 of Article II of the California Constitution. ?

I don't know if any of this has been amended subsequently.

Posted by: Flory at July 24, 2003 02:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin G:
Except, at this moment, the most likely rethug winner, on name recognition alone if he decides to run, is Ahnold. He might leverage the governors job into the senate, but he can't run for President.

Posted by: Flory at July 24, 2003 02:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm 24. Am I too young to run for governor?

Posted by: GFW at July 24, 2003 02:11 PM | PERMALINK

>>On the one hand, I'm inclined to vote against the recall because it's a lousy piece of partisan hackery and I really don't want people to get the idea that they can mount a recall campaign anytime a governor has low approval ratings.

Posted by: KEvin Murphy at July 24, 2003 02:12 PM | PERMALINK

On the one hand, I'm inclined to vote against the recall because it's a lousy piece of partisan hackery and I really don't want people to get the idea that they can mount a recall campaign anytime a governor has low approval ratings.

Kevin--

That's utterly absurd. This is what, the 31st time someone has tried to recall a state official, and the first time it's even gotten to the ballot? It takes more than twice the signatures than getting an initiative on (12 vs 5%). And they got, all told, maybe twice that again (there's more signatures that missed the reporting period cut-off, maybe 2 million total or 25%).

This isn't easy. It's damn hard as a matter of fact. What you are seeing is a level of commitment and unhappiness that happens maybe once a generation. There are lots of times that governors get unpopular, but movements like this are rare.

Prediction: The Democrats are going to dump him very very soon.

Posted by: Kevin Murphy at July 24, 2003 02:12 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/24/national/24CND-CALI.html?hp

Posted by: GFW at July 24, 2003 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

Rea - possibly. The debate is over what the 'if appropriate' clause in section (a) means. I'm not by any means endorsing Bustamante's interpretation; I just think that it's a potentially reasonable position, at least for purposes of debate.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bleh - also, turn out to vote on the Racial Privacy Initiative, which will be consolidated with the election.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin G - there is an admittedly unlikely but still possible scenario in which a Green could end up as governor; if no Democrat runs and he convinces the people voting against the recall to vote for him (as the only liberal on the ballot), he has a chance.

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

Flory - interesting. OK, so it's 12% of the people who voted in the recall, not 12% of the people who voted for the particular candidate. It looks like we were both half-right. :)

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm 24. Am I too young to run for governor?"

Michigan once had a governor that young. Of course, the prime event of his administration was that he went to war with Ohio . . . [really]

Posted by: rea at July 24, 2003 02:23 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely and aphrael: one reason I'm so confident in my interpretation rather than Bustamante's is that there is a principle of construction that the express mention of one thing implies the exclusion of other similar things(expressio unis exclusio alterius est, or something like that). So mentioning judges in (c) to rule out an election of replacement judges implies that there will be election of replacement goverors.

Posted by: rea at July 24, 2003 02:29 PM | PERMALINK

Rea - ah, that makes sense. It's one of those things that would be opaque to lay readers of law (as opposed to professionals), which is why I wasn't aware of it. :) I have to find time and money to go to law school some day. :)

Posted by: aphrael at July 24, 2003 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

This entire set of actions need to be thought through much more carefully than I've been able to see

Some of us have been discussing this in minute detail daily for months. The discussions you see now are either people new to the discussion or people who've already "been there, done that." I think and have said the recall is a bad idea. I hate Davis but refused to sign the petition. However, it's here now. Davis winning would lead him to believe I approve of his pay-for-play, my way or the highway, way of running the state. This is a man who took away Bustamante's parking spots when they disagreed on something.

On the other hand, I hope I have a choice. Issa and Simon are not palatable to me and even if I agreed with them (I do on some things), I don't think they can get anything done. I'm willing to lay money Arnold doesn't run. The only realistic choice for me is McClintock. I think he has made enough friends in the legislature to actually accomplish something. He seems to understand the minutiae of the budget. The Dems in the legislature won't let him swing too far right. I don't know that he has what it takes to win though.

Posted by: Justene at July 24, 2003 02:59 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely and I disagreed over this on another forum. (hey, no post truncating over here!), but I still think that this whole episode is yet more evidence that California is a giant lunatic asylum. I'm surprised that the rest of us let you leave the state without licensed supervision.

Posted by: J. Michael Neal at July 24, 2003 03:27 PM | PERMALINK

What makes this all fascinating is that as there is no nomination process, the parties have no real power to keep their members from breaking ranks. On the one hand, this means that there's likely to be a Republican candidate who is a lot more palatable to independents then the right-wing idiots the California Republican party likes to nominate. On the other hand, there's likely a bunch of Democrats who are considering that by just defying their party and getting their name on the ballot, they suddenly become very likely to be governor simply because they'll get the majority of the "don't recall" votes.

If the Democrats were smart, they would put Bustamante's (or whomever's) name on the ballot and run a media campaign that says "vote no on the recall and for Bustamante". While this would increase the chance of a successfull recall, it'll mean that it is very unlikely that there'll be a Republican governor, since there'll probably be more than one Republican on the other side.

I fear that the Democrats have greatly underestimated Davis' unpopularity. They must realize that the only reason that Davis won was because the Republicans ran an idiot like Simon, mustn't they? Don't they realize that with the lack of the primary they can no longer rely on Republican Party stupidity?

Posted by: ucblockhead at July 24, 2003 04:18 PM | PERMALINK

Drudge is reporting that Jack Kemp is considering running. Can some of you Californians make sense of this for me? I like Jack Kemp ok, but California? WTF?

Posted by: spc67 at July 24, 2003 04:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Vote against recall, even if you don't like Davis, to nip this hijacking of democracy by moneyed interests in the bud!"

"Hijacking of democracy?" Puh-leeze. For better or for worse, there is no reason to believe that the recall election will be any less "democratic" than any other.

Posted by: Xrlq at July 24, 2003 04:41 PM | PERMALINK

When I first voted for Gray Davis, it was because of his actions as Chief of Staff for Jerry Brown. He impressed me as the kind of liberal we so dearly lack today.

Since then, he didn't live up to my impression of him, which weakened my support for him for reelection (but not enough to vote for that opportunistic incompetent Simon).

I refused to sign petitions calling for recall also, and wish more people here in California had paid attention to all the newspaper editorials (from papers both liberal and conservative) decrying the cost to the counties for this election. My county alone has already laid off enough workers to have paid for this election here, and now we have another to fund in some manner.

Gray Davis is his own worst enemy, and while I see no good reason to recall him, I expect this to happen. I find it ludicrous to believe that the Dems don't have some kind of a backup in case Davis gets recalled - they risk far too much at a time they can't afford much risk.

I will vote no on recall, and will vote Green to keep SOME kind of non-GOP option open.

Posted by: pessimist at July 24, 2003 05:25 PM | PERMALINK

I had a fascinating conversation today with a bunch of very intelligent, more aware than the usual, people. It was astonishing to me how little they knew about how this recall could turn out. They were all planning on voting no on the recall and abstaining on the successor choice......it had never occurred to them that if Democrats don't vote on a successor it gives the rethugs a free pass into the governorship. When I pointed this out to them, their fallback position was to vote for Davis as his own successor....which can't be done. As I said, these are very astute, aware people.....what are the huddled masses thinking?

BTW, check out Bill Mahers piece on the recall in todays LA times.

Posted by: Flory at July 24, 2003 05:50 PM | PERMALINK

pessimist writes"I will vote no on recall, and will vote Green to keep SOME kind of non-GOP option open."

What, are you stupid? You might as well vote GOP then.

What are you thinking? Why not vote for a democrat if the recall passes?

DON'T VOTE GREEN UNLESS YOU WANT TO VOTE GOP.

If you don't want the GOP, VOTE DEMOCRAT.

Posted by: Jon H at July 24, 2003 07:43 PM | PERMALINK

You do realize that if the field of Republicans is fragmented and no real Democrats run, a Green could very easily win, with all the "no on the recall" Democratic votes, don't you? With the top Republican polling only %21 of the vote right now, that is not at all out of the question.

It'd serve the California Democratic party right. Because the thing is, you can't vote Democrat in the recall if the Democrats don't run anyone. (And if you are planning on voting "no" on the recall and then just not voting on the second question, well, you're not thinking clearly. If you think that there's a non-zero chance that the Davis will get ousted, you damn-well better vote on someone.)

Posted by: ucblockhead at July 24, 2003 08:09 PM | PERMALINK

Jon H, the Democrats' current plan is to run NO ONE on the ballot. Davis is counting on this as his survival strategy. In this case, vote for a Green (esp if ALL the Republican candidates are very bad, as appears will be the case)!

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus at July 24, 2003 09:25 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Jesse Ventura is free. I hear Minnesota finally got rid of him.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at July 24, 2003 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe I actually agree with Sebastian on something. California petition initiatives tend to be just dumb ideas over-all (because of them, it is now illegal to eat horse meat in California. Feed it to your dog, OK, chow down on some horse sashimi, go to jail.)

The really good reason to vote against the recall is that if this asinine thing succeeds, we will see more of them. Help stomp out recalls now.

Posted by: mcDruid at July 25, 2003 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Jon H - currently there are no declared Democratic candidates. All of the high-profile Democrats have said they have no intention of running. The party chairman has insisted that no Democrat will run, as doing so would be endorsing the recall, and the Davis campaign wants to portray the recall as an attempt at a right-wing coup. Peter Camejo (the Green) and the Libertarian candidate may well be the only non-Republicans on the ballot.

Posted by: aphrael at July 25, 2003 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

I am no longer living in California, so you might suppose I have no dog in this fight. But as is hinted by Tom Delay's dubious antics in trying to force Texas Legislature Democrats home from their walk-out, I think there are implications for national politics in the California recall, and those implications aren't good. The Republicans are behaving as if all politics are national politics. Democrats have to play the same game. The Republicans have been breaking long political tradition in all sorts of State arenas -- in Texas, they've dumped the tradition of one re-districting per census cycle in order to try to gerrymander a larger Republican majority in Congress, in California that of not using recall as a partisan tool against an unpopular governor to force an out-of-cycle election -- in order to forward a national agenda. A Republican governor would certainly be a great help to the Republican toehold in California in the next national election. And each of these applecarts of normal process that the Republicans successfully upturn threatens to clutter the national political landscape with retaliative moves and countermoves. If redistricting works for Texas, why should other, Democratic majority, states hold back trying to recover some congressional ground? If unseating an unpopular Democratic governor works, why not a Republican? It is almost incumbent on Democrats to respond in kind, and with comparable viciousness; the alternative is to reward Republicans for bad behavior. And as a nation, I don't think we want to go there. There has already been too much success in driving moderates away from the polls in disgust, leaving the vote power in the hands of far-wing nutters who have the ability to mobilize their base on flashpoint issues. Voter apathy and disgust is not going to be improved by an increased pace of politically motivated recalls, redistrictings, and whatever else the Republicans can come up with to manipulate the system.

I think it's crucial that this attempt to hijack the recall process for political advantage be slapped down, and hard. Gray Davis is not a fabulous governor, but as far as I can tell, he isn't guilty of malfeasance. That should be the only legitimate consideration in a recall. Otherwise you're fooling with Pandora's Box, and hope is a rather thin shield to cling to in modern politics.

Posted by: Ulrika O'Brien at July 25, 2003 08:58 AM | PERMALINK

What are you thinking? Why not vote for a democrat if the recall passes?

Because its hard to vote for a party that has no candidate on the ballot, and the Democrats would be idiots to run a candidate.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 25, 2003 09:36 AM | PERMALINK

This isn't easy. It's damn hard as a matter of fact.

Not really. As long as you are willing to spend the money, get signatures tends to be easy; I think the rule of thumb is ~$1/signature.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 25, 2003 09:44 AM | PERMALINK

So there won't be any democrat on the list of candidates? The dems are going to put all of their eggs in one basket? Let's hope they see the light and get someone on there as a fall back position.

Such a fallback dilutes the "no on recall" message, which, given the close polls, is probably a bad idea.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 25, 2003 09:46 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Democrats, if you want to ruin the reputation of the Green party, pretty much nothing is likely to do better than them having the governership of CA.

Posted by: Sebastian holsclaw at July 25, 2003 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: "Not really. As long as you are willing to spend the money, get signatures tends to be easy; I think the rule of thumb is ~$1/signature."

Precisely. In fact, if I recall correctly, the initiative was faltering until Issa stepped in with a million dollars or so.

Posted by: PaulB at July 25, 2003 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have been breaking long political tradition in all sorts of State arenas -- in Texas, they've dumped the tradition of one re-districting per census cycle in order to try to gerrymander a larger Republican majority in Congress,

The "one redistricting per census cycle" that was done this time was done by the courts, because the Democratic House did not pass a bill. Indeed, not a single redistricting plan was passed by the Democratic house in 2001 for either the state legistlature or congress. The state legislature plans died in conference committee, I believe. Now the Texas House has changed hands, and the court had suggested that the legislature try again, and they are. The state senate districts are roughly what the state senate itself passed, and the house is what the Texas Redistricting Board came up with, with the court making slight adjustments. The congressional map is neither the 2001 state senate version or the 2001 Texas Redistricting Board version, but a largely status quo setup (as status quo as you could get with adding two seats) drawn up by the court.

If the Dems had done their job in 2001 when they had the chance, we might not be here today.

Posted by: David Block at July 25, 2003 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The "one redistricting per census cycle" that was done this time was done by the courts, because the Democratic House did not pass a bill.

But by courts or legislature, a legal redistricting *had* already been accomplished for Texas since the last census. Redistricting by judicial means isn't unheard of in the last 60 years; it's happened in other states. Attempting a second redistricting in the same census cycle as a legal redistricting *is* unheard of in the last 60 years, and it isn't a precedent that we really want to see set, given the political atmosphere associated with perpetual gerrymandering.

Posted by: Ulrika O'Brien at July 25, 2003 01:20 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we can write-in Davis. That'd be a real kick in the teeth for Issa - if Davis was recalled then immediately returned to office on a write-in.

Keep the lawyers busy too.

Posted by: mcDruid at July 25, 2003 01:56 PM | PERMALINK

Davis is the one man who cannot be voted for on the second question.

While it is true that running a Democrat gives "validity" to the recall, the Democrats need to decide which is more important: making sure Gray Davis stays governor or making sure a Democrat is in the statehouse. Running a serious candidate would reduce Davis' chances but I believe it would increase the Democrats' chances of retaining the governorship by a greater amount.

Posted by: ucblockhead at July 25, 2003 04:14 PM | PERMALINK

Davis is the one man who cannot be voted for on the second question.

While it is true that running a Democrat gives "validity" to the recall, the Democrats need to decide which is more important: making sure Gray Davis stays governor or making sure a Democrat is in the statehouse. Running a serious candidate would reduce Davis' chances but I believe it would increase the Democrats' chances of retaining the governorship by a greater amount.

The Democrats clearly don't. The narrow support for the recall (51-43% by the last poll I saw) suggest the party is probably right, and that running as hard as they can for the no vote is the best strategy to stay in.

Especially since it'll be hard to maintain discipline if at least one Democrat runs, and if more than one runs, it just becomes a mess.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 25, 2003 04:26 PM | PERMALINK

Gah! really blew the formatting in that; hopefully, you can see what part was suppoed to be a quote and what was response.

Posted by: cmdicely at July 25, 2003 04:27 PM | PERMALINK

Comment here.

There are plenty of Centrists on the internet, there are very few Moderates. The difference is that a moderate believes, essentially, in splitting the difference between the extremes. He is reactive, and waits for the extremes to define themselves, then he can split the difference in a way he likes. The right wing realized that moderates were muddled, and that all they needed to do is to push the acceptable right out to the right wing - such as Ann Coulter's Treason and push the acceptable left in. The Moderates then happily split the difference between M and Z and say the middle of the alphabet is S or T.

The Centrist wants to create an active political center that drives the agenda and the debate. The centrist impulse is very strong in the US, but it has been hobbled by three important problems:

First, it does not know how to accomplish what it wants to accomplish. The muddled moderate has a method - split the difference.

Second, the Centrist is used effectively. When the Republicans wanted to stop federal spending during Clinton, the Concord Coalition was given big play. Now that the current Congress is getting D's and F's - they are invisible. The Centrists are then sold out as soon as the Republicans - whose austerity rhetoric they use - come to power. This stab in the back has happened over and over and over and over again, simply because most "Centrists" still think of the Republican party as the party of opposition with which they ally to stop the party of government "The Democrats" from doing whatever it is the Democrats want to do.

Third, the Centrists don't have real options on dealing with problems. They just say "well somethings can't be fixed". This comes across, because it is, "well, I've got mine, you po people are just fucked". Meaning the only political ally the Centrists have is to the right. Which leads back to square 2 above - the Centrists support rhetorically, and vote into power, a party with which they have nothing in common with on any fundamental level - except hatred of LBJ style liberalism.

Until the Centrists wake up and realize that they need to ally left, and not right, they are going to continue to be used as dupes of the Republican borrow to bankruptcy machine and the fear machine that goes with it.

Posted by: Stirling Newberry at July 26, 2003 07:55 AM | PERMALINK

The recall law is undemocratic!

First up, it sets up a situation where 49% of the people may vote against the recall - in effect voting for Davis, but the recall will be successful and possibly a replacement candidate gets 35% vote and becomes governor. Meaning the law allows people to become governor even if it is clear more people (a plurality) want the current governor than the replacement. This is democracy? A runoff should be put in place to guarantee the replacement candiate is chosen by the majoirty of the voters.

2nd with enough money/organization every governor can be recalled. It takes so few signatures to do a recall, that in a 2 party system, the losing candidate could always find enough signatures to initiate a recall. If a recall is to be meaniningful it should need bipartisan support.

3rd the replacement candidate provision doesn't make any sense. If a governor resigns or is impeached, the chain of successon dictates who takes over - the Lt. Governor was elected for this purpose.

4th the recall was initiated as soon as the governor took office. How does it make any sense to recall someone when they were just elected? There should be some minimum amount of time that a person is in office before a recall process can be initiated.

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Posted by: storage area networks (SAN) at August 19, 2004 05:04 PM | PERMALINK
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