Recall effort follows the law
July 31, 2003
You can call it political genius or a political sham, a right-wing conspiracy or populist uprising, but one thing you can’t call it is illegitimate.
Sure the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis was largely funded by a Republican rival, and sure signatures were “bought” with bounties and paid gatherers, but Darrell Issa, and other disgruntled Gray-haters, were just exercising their constitutional rights.
And who could argue against that? Well, it seems, a lot of people.
Anti-recall Californians (not necessarily Davis supporters) have called this a right-wing conspiracy, a political buyout and an attempt to reverse a legitimate election that is only nine months old.
They say Davis’ opponents are using California’s sour economy and an off-year election as ammunition against the man they could not dethrone, even during a downward economic spiral that was the state’s worst in history.
And even if Davis is to blame, his election was a choice voters made, and should have to live with. Right? Wrong.
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California law is clear. There is a process for unseating a sitting governor, and intentions aside, the recall is legitimately legal. In fact, if the law is the law, un-electing Davis is just as legitimate as electing him. So maybe we should change the law, you say.
That is perhaps the one point most of us can agree on. An old process crafted before mass media, the Internet and multi-million dollar campaigns makes it perhaps too easy to recall a sitting governor. Maybe more signatures should be required.
And what about the short election cycle? As voters, we need more time to learn about candidates and make informed decisions, otherwise, without knowing any better, we might end up with another Gray Davis. As it is now, we will have a few weeks, tops, to study the ballot.
Maybe changes to California’s electoral system need to be changed, and maybe an attempt to unseat a sitting governor should require more public participation (not that it would have necessarily changed the results, this time), but this time, this recall may be hard for some of us to palate, but it is not illegitimate.