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Monday, September 29, 2003

LAT Editorial on the Recall

The LA Times Sunday editorial, "Why the Recall is Wrong", suggests a no vote on the recall and endorses no one on the second question of who should replace Davis if the recall is successful. The LAT holds that the recall is undemocratic and then goes through the main candidates one by one, explaining why they would not be better than Davis.

Their take on Arnold is one that echoes my own disappointment after I was initially optimistic that his presence in the race could bring about greater interest in politics from people who had never participated before: "What a shame that Schwarzenegger, with his power to attract worldwide media attention, failed to lead a serious discussion of what ails California and how to fix it."

The final two paragraphs defending the "no endorsement position" are excellent as well, arguing that the recall is not the solution to California's problems:

"If state voters are to throw out a governor less than one year into his term, the replacement should be demonstrably superior. This field of contenders offers no such person. Changing the governor in midstream would not address what really ails California state and local governments; the recall of Davis instead would invite more political chaos and economic uncertainty. Worse, the state and the nation could look forward to more recalls pushed by poor losers who simply didn't want to wait for the end of a four-year term. The vituperative, scorched-earth politics of partisan payback would be never ending.

"The recall is a form of misdirected anger at what's wrong with Sacramento. Here's what causes most of California's dysfunction: illogical tax laws and policies; gerrymandering; term limits, which take power from the elected and hand power to the lobbyists; a political system fueled by big business and big union cash; and, yes, ill-considered ballot initiatives and recall elections. As soon as this recall is over, voters finally can collectively concentrate on ridding Sacramento of the real causes of the state's problems. Recall might feel good, but it would cause the worst political hangover California has ever had."