Whining about the recall, critics try to change Wisconsin history and valuesIn making its endorsement of Gov. Scott Walker in the upcoming recall election, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel made it perfectly clear, one last time, that it felt it unnecessary to remove the governor over "one silly lil' ol' issue."
Walker's rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker's tough stance with the state's public-employee unions. It's inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor.Of course, the Journal Sentinel missed the mark completely -- collective bargaining may have been the catalyst for the recall, but it's no longer the sole reason for its necessity.
The reason why recall elections in Wisconsin require a year before the process can begin is precisely why the notion that this is a "single-issue campaign" is completely without warrant -- a yearlong wait allows cooler heads to prevail, allows things to settle down before those who desire a recall can push for it.
It took eight more months from when Act 10 was passed before organizers could begin recall proceedings. During that time, Walker and his Republican legislature overreached on issues beyond collective bargaining.
Workers' rights started this mess -- but Walker's continual disregard for Wisconsin's values kept the momentum going, halted any hopes of any "cooler heads" prevailing.
The Journal Sentinel has consistently belittled the process of the recall as "too simple," as requiring more than dissatisfaction in a policy-maker's decisions -- and I've pointed out several times the mistakes in this assessment. The recall process is needed for more than just criminal or egregious behavior. And it won't, as some have suggested, lead to a permanent election process, especially if government leaders act in a way their constituents want them to.
Not to be outdone, community columnist for the Journal Sentinel Gary Kraeger added his two cents about the recall, stating in no uncertain terms that he felt the "unwritten rules" of the recall were violated:
The unwritten rule had always been: You don't recall governors unless they do something terrible - criminal, for example. That's an excellent unwritten rule. It's time we write that one up.Recalling a governor because of criminal activities, however, is redundant -- the process for removing a governor under those terms are what impeachment are for.
Officially and in practice, there have never been such rules for why you need to recall an elected official in Wisconsin -- and that's the way it should be. If a lawmaker puts forth policy that is so atrocious, so vile that it sickens those it affects the most, it'd make sense to recall based on that policy and not necessarily their behavior.
It was good enough for conservatives in the 90s to go after Democratic senators over policy issues. And I don't remember Gov. Jim Doyle committing a crime when conservatives went after him, either.
In fact, the father of the recall in Wisconsin, "Fighting Bob" La Follette, himself promoted a system that didn't require a set of triggers to require removal of an official, that it was the will of the people alone that determined whether it was warranted or not:
I do not believe you will ever get any true representative government in the United States until there is in the hands of the people the power to recall the representative who betrays him.La Follette spoke of "misrepresentation" on the part of officeholders, not a violation of code or of conduct. It was what the officeholder promoted, that which his or her constituents disagreed with, that justified his ouster.
Whenever a representative government fails, it fails because the representative proves incompetent or false to his trust. Entrenched in office for his full term, his constituency is powerless and must submit to misrepresentation. There is no way to correct his blunders or to protect against his betrayal.
Gary Kraeger complained that recall organizers had violated the "unwritten rules" of the process. But he didn't do his research -- such rules simply do not exist. We have the recall so that voters can coerce their legislators to push policy that reflects THEIR interests, not those of some outside influence (say, the Koch Bros. for example).
In penning his piece, Kraeger demonstrates that the only people trying to change the rules of the recall (and change history itself) are whining conservatives.