I Was Angry With My Foe

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New at Reason: Matt Welch dances on Gray Davis' grave.

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  1. Not only is it naiive, it’s also been proven incorrect judging by Davis’ last few weeks in office.

  2. “But governing-by-the-polls was probably a given eventually, once we started the direct election of presidents, and once sufficient tech arrived”

    Don – much to Al Gore and the Democrates dismay, we have not started direct election of presidents. We still have that institution called the Electoral College. So I don’t think you can hang Clinton’s lack of principle and character on that hook.

  3. Nice article. Though i wish people would stop with all the nonsense about a “bloodless personality”. I’d rather have a politician be himself than put on a display of fake camaraderie. Should he have cried halfway thru’ his concession speech ?

  4. The Marc Cooper article you linked to was hilarious.

    The Clintonoid position on the California recall is just another object lesson in how positively *Hamiltonian* modern liberalism is. Every party establishment hack, of the Clinton/Gore variety, is denouncing recalls as a matter of principle. A measure designed to make politicians MORE accountable, by introducing a small measure of direct democratic control, is “hijacking democracy.” Apparently their vision of democracy is a Californicated version of the Iraqi National Council.

    I just about busted a gut laughing at one of the talking head shows yesterday. A democratic commentator brought out the “hijacking democracy” line on recalls, and Pat Buchanan shot back “Don’t you have one populist bone in your body?”

    In Arkansas, every time we have a tax cut initiative on the ballot, the Northwest Arkansas Morning News’ resident NPR liberal, John Brummett, sniffs about how it violates “the framers” standards of a representative republic by introducing a rabble-rousing element of direct democracy. The way it should work, you see, is the electorate puts in a slate of properly qualified Professionals, and then sits down, shuts up, and defers to their expertise. When anti-property tax initiatives were on the ballot, Brummett semi-facetiously asked for Missouri to annex Arkansas and save the people from their own folly. When the state Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional guarantee of quality education effectively turned the state into one big school board, he just about came in his pants.

    Here’s to the recall of Arnold. I can’t wait to see him get his sorry ass reamed out just like Davis. I can’t wait to see him lose the recall vote, either. :0

  5. Why would you want to make election season continuous? Having recall fights every month won’t mean the government ceases to be run by a slate of properly qualified professionals; it means those professionals will be constantly pressured to make headlines.

  6. I tend to agree with the original idea of a constitutional republic. Not so we are represented by professionals, but so that the leadership isn’t catering to whatever the latest fade happens to be. On a national level, that idea was pretty much dead when the Clinton administration learned to rule based upon the polls (although I liked a lot of the results–welfare reform, etc.). But governing-by-the-polls was probably a given eventually, once we started the direct election of presidents, and once sufficient tech arrived.

    So, direct democracy has been pretty good to me, but I tend to distrust it in principle.

    Voting in itself isn’t an important right–and the fact that you vote doesn’t make you free. It is just a way of choosing a government, or even directly choosing the laws you live under.

    Oh, and I’d be surprised if Arnold is recalled anytime soon. This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often, and California votes gave Davis quite a bit of time to prove himself. Perhaps direct democracy isn’t as bad as I always thought . . .

  7. I would think that professional politicians would rather fear populist uprisings at the ballot box than populist uprisings that left them swinging from the lamposts!

  8. I am a Hamiltonian when it comes to our Republic. But on a State and local level a certain amount of populism and democracy is healthy. The fact the talking heads can’t distiguish between the different roles in federalism shows is telling.

  9. “Why would you want to make election season continuous? ”

    That’s why the recalls wouldn’t happen very often. I mean, assassination is a hell of a lot more cost-effective than recall (and prevents the lame-duck legislating that Davis et al do), and that’s even rarer.

    I think the “framers” wanted to make government as unimportant as practically possible, but we seem to be addicted to it anyway.

  10. Joe,
    The reason you would want to make the campaign season continuous is that it wouldn’t leave politicians any time to do any harm. To me, that’s 100% positive.

  11. ^That has to be the most naive comment I’ve ever seen.

  12. The recall got rid of the fucker, and quickly, that’s a fact.

    Whether or not we’re now going to have constant recalls is speculation, and to my mind pretty unlikely, but who knows, maybe one day we’ll be begging joe and George F. Will to show us the way and save us from what we’ve done.

  13. Californians left an archaic provision in their constitution, put there by “progressives” fearful of the ability of the wealthy to buy office for their stooges. It was never successfully used, until a congeries of conservatives and self-styled populists used it to crowbar lifelong statist apparatchik Davis out of the governor’s chair. Sweet!

    I chuckle at the fact that this so-called champion of the poor and downtrodden was, in fact, as corrupt as any tool of the old “robber barons” (sic) the recall provisions were designed to thwart. No appeal for change in public policy was listened to, unless accompanied by stacks of campaign cash. “Pay to play” is nothing but bribery at one remove, and Davis was the past master of it.

    Perhaps CA may want to adopt a minimum period in which the governor is immune to recall. Here in WI, our new governor can’t be recalled until he has served a year. They might want to tighten up the requirements to activate the recall, and change the come-all-ye/no primary ballot. But recall is an important tool. I wouldn’t 86 it.

    Kevin

  14. StMack wrote: “Don – much to Al Gore and the Democrates dismay, we have not started direct election of presidents. We still have that institution called the Electoral College. So I don’t think you can hang Clinton’s lack of principle and character on that hook.”

    1) We do directly elect presidents. The EC simply means that not all of our votes are equal, but it is still a direct election, although I suppose that under some circumstances a state’s EC may not go by the popular vote of the state (in fact, IIRC, the Dems suggested that the Florida EC “could” or “should” go against the popular vote in Florida back in 2000). By “direct election”, I mean we vote for a given presidential candidate. Back in the day, representatives we voted for (or against) voted for a given presidential candidate. The former leads to more pandering to popular opinion than the later, I presume.

    2) Clinton’s lack of caracter is his own damn fault, but direct election and campaign finance lead him towards pandering for votes and cash. Of course, absent those political needs, one suspects he would have been pandering for something else, uh, more often than he did.

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    DATE: 01/26/2004 08:18:25
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