The recall circus


Arnold is running, and the media is on the governor recall election in California like fleas on a rat. It’s great comedy to us masses who won’t vote in the election anyway. It’s a circus, but nobody’s going to see the behind-the-scenes tragedy because the big top, center ring action is so colorful.

The problem is that we’re watching a political precedent in development. In many ways, it’s similar to what happened in Nevada with regard to the anti-tax, anti-reality legislators taking the state hostage and subverting the democratic process. The difference was, it was not a group of duly elected morons who cared little enough about democracy to attempt to derail it, but a single elected moron—Darrel Issa, a right-wing, pro-business, anti-choice, Christian fundamentalist. This U.S. Representative cares so little about this country and his own state that he put up much of the money, $1.5 million, to buy 1.36 million signatures to overturn a legal election that 7.5 million people recently voted in.

A million and a half is not a lot of money. Particularly not to Issa, who, according to published reports, spent $10 million of his own money in an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican senatorial nomination in 1998 followed up by $1.5 million in his run for the house. In Nevada, though, it would take a lot less to recall a politician, simply because there are a lot fewer registered voters here.

Can there be any doubt that strategic recall measures have been added to the arsenal of political weapons rich individuals can use to prevent the masses from getting good government?

So, Nevadans, keep an eye on this election. We may not see this technique used in Nevada anytime soon, but for the next few decades, if successful, it will be in the backs of the minds of governors and legislators who try to do the right thing because the right thing often angers the people with the most money. This editorial is not intended to say that Gray Davis did or did not deserve recall. It does intend to say that the recall effort probably would not have been successful without Issa’s agenda-ed and perverse cash. The monied special interests will get their way in this country, even to the point of overturning elections. This time, democratic vigilance will be the California voters’ responsibility. Hopefully, they’ll be able to see through the circus lights.